Obtaining enough financial aid isn’t always easy, even for the traditional student who attends a 4-year university and lives on-campus. This may be even more true for non-traditional students returning to school as adults. These non-traditional students may also find that online program options better suit their lifestyle. Whether online or in campus-based programs, any properly accredited program can offer its students federal financial aid and accept external sources of aid, like scholarships.
Fortunately there are plenty of private scholarships available for adult students. They may not be as easily found as typical sources of federally funded financial aid, but they do exist. In fact, applications for some of these resources include requirement criteria that traditional students often don’t have, tipping the odds in favor of some students who may find themselves in difficult circumstances. Read on for some examples of scholarship and grant funding for non-traditional adult students.
Who's Eligible: Any women admitted to accredited graduate or undergraduate degree programs in numerous areas of engineering and technology. These re-entry scholarships are designed specifically for women who intend to enter the workforce after an absence; applicants must have been out of school or work for at least 2 years.
What It Covers: Multiple scholarships are awarded each academic year for degree programs in aeronautical, automotive, architectural, chemical, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, manufacturing, petroleum and software engineering.
How to Apply: One application suffices for all students re-entering school at sophomore level or higher. The application is accepted from Dec. 1 through Feb. 15 prior to each academic year.
Who's Eligible: Enrolled students in occupational safety, health and environment degree programs are eligible after 60 hours of coursework. Scholarships may be used to complete an undergraduate degree or graduate degree. Students must be full-time and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Membership in the ASSE is not required but is preferred.
What It Covers: Tuition and fees related to upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level courses in approved programs.
How to Apply: Submit complete transcripts, a letter of recommendation and the application form online. Application materials are due Dec. 1st of the prior academic year.
Who's Eligible: Members of local chapters of the AFCEA may apply for the Intelligence Scholarship, granted to students enrolled in degree programs related to U.S. intelligence or homeland security issues. Only second-year students are eligible at accredited universities.
What It Covers: Undergraduate students may receive $2,250, and graduate students $5,000 per academic year.
How to Apply: Locate your closest area AFCEA chapter to apply. Applicants must demonstrate a 3.0 GPA.
Who's Eligible: The AGC Education and Research Foundation offers undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students scholarships for studies in construction management and civil engineering. Scholarships are offered nationally and at the local club level. Applicants must attend a school accredited by the American Board of Engineering Technology.
What It Covers: Scholarships of $3,750 are awarded per academic year for 2 consecutive years.
How to Apply: Applications must be submitted by midnight on Nov. 1 of the prior academic year. Finalists will be notified the following February and asked to interview with a local contractor. Winners are notified in March.
Who's Eligible: The NEWH Hospitality Industry Network awards scholarships to students who have completed at least half of a degree program in hospitality, interior design or architecture. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and have participated in an industry internship. Financial needs are considered.
What It Covers: Amounts vary based on need and demonstrated merit. Funds are awarded for ‘as-needed' usage and are held by the school in trust.
How to Apply: Applications must be downloaded and include a student essay, internship essay, letters of recommendation, a resume and headshot. Application packets must be snail mailed by Sept. 16 to:
P.O. Box 322
Shawano, WI 54166
Who's Eligible: EDSF provides scholarship to future professionals in graphic communications and document management. This scholarship, funded by a conglomerate of participating corporations, is awarded to 40 students per year. Eligible students are enrolled in programs that focus on digital media, print media, graphic arts and document management.
What It Covers: Award amounts vary, but usually are between $1,000 and $5,000 per year at participating schools.
How to Apply: The online application period is from Jan. 15th to May 1st of the year prior to enrollment.
Who's Eligible: Offered by a branch of the American Paper & Pulp Industry, this scholarship is available to students in their junior and senior year of a degree program in pulp and paper science. Applicants must demonstrate a 3.5 GPA, an industry internship and leadership skills.
What It Covers: Scholarships are granted in increments of $4,000 per year for 2 consecutive years.
How to Apply: Candidates must send a completed application form, official transcripts and letters of recommendation to the TAPPI awards department no later than May 1st. Awards are announced by July 1st.
Who's Eligible: The National Federation of Music Clubs offers this scholarship to aspiring music educators. College juniors majoring in music education are eligible. Applications must be proficient in voice, piano and teaching skills, as well as have participated in an internship.
What It Covers: $1,150 is available for senior academic year.
How to Apply: Letters of recommendation from music education faculty must accompany the application form, due on or before April 1st.
Who's Eligible: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers this scholarship to students of African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian Pacific Islander and Hispanic American descent. Applicants are selected for leadership skills and community service performance, and must have a 3.3 GPA.
What It Covers: These scholarships awarded for the duration of an undergraduate or graduate degree program in any subject. Award amounts vary based on need.
How to Apply: Student applications must be accompanied by a faculty nomination and professional recommendation. All documentation must be submitted online by Jan. 15th of each year.
Who's Eligible: This corporate scholarship is available to enrolled students in accredited 2- or 4-year colleges. Applicants must demonstrate a 3.0 GPA and submit a written essay of 1,000 to 1,600 words in length.
What It Covers: Essays are judged on persuasiveness, creativity, style and content. The winning essayist receives a $1,000 scholarship that can be used toward any campus expense.
How to Apply: Applications and written essays are due at midnight on Nov. 20.
Who's Eligible: Jeweler Eve's Addiction sponsors a scholarship to encourage students to shine in academia. Any student enrolled in undergraduate or graduate school is eligible with an application and 500-word essay written from a prompt.
What It Covers: The winning essayist receives a $1,000 scholarship to be used at any accredited U.S. school.
How to Apply: Essay submissions should be submitted by Dec. 15th; the scholarship is awarded Jan. 14th.
Who's Eligible: Software designer Buildium offers cash prizes each semester to students enrolled in product design, computer science, engineering or interaction design degree programs. Applicants must write a 1,000-word essay describing how employees' beliefs impact company growth.
What It Covers: A $2,000 cash award is distributed once each semester to a winning essayist.
How to Apply: Essays are judged on content and originality. Submit essays by Oct. 1st for fall judging and April 1st for spring judging. Winners are notified by Oct. 31st and April 30th.
Who's Eligible: In partnership with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Google awards scholarships to enrolled students in 4-year computer science, programming or related degree programs. Eligible students have a 3.0 GPA and are full-time students, as well as members of an American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or First Nations of Canada tribe. Membership in AISES is required.
What It Covers: $10,000 is awarded to recipients that can be used for junior or senior year at accredited 4-year schools.
How to Apply: Three 500-word essays about the applicant's interest in computer science, leadership ability and academic work must be included with the application, which is due by March 31st.
Who's Eligible: Generation Google scholars are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate computer science or computer engineering degree programs. Applicants must demonstrate strong leadership skills and academic achievement, plus be a member of a minority group.
What It Covers: $10,000 is awarded to recipients for one school year and may be used for any school expenses.
How to Apply: The online application must be accompanied by answers to 4 essay prompts, a statement of purpose, a resume, academic transcripts and 2 letters of recommendation from faculty members. Applications must be filed by Dec. 2nd of the preceding academic year.
Who's Eligible: Google Lime extends scholarship funding to aspiring computer scientists who are also disabled. Any undergraduate, graduate or doctoral student in a computer science or engineering degree program may apply. Strong academic performance and a commitment to leadership are both required.
What It Covers: Each recipient of this one-time scholarship will receive $10,000 for the following academic year. Awardees may also attend the annual Google Scholars Retreat and may be considered for internships.
How to Apply: For consideration, students in eligible degree programs who have invisible or visible disabilities should submit transcripts, educational background, current resume, three personal essays and two faculty recommendations by midnight on Dec. 2.
Who's Eligible: Microsoft Corporation makes scholarships available to women, minorities and disabled students, as well as to the general student population. Students should demonstrate a desire for a career in technology, financial need and a capability for leadership. Students must apply to the Microsoft Internship Program for consideration, although acceptance is not required.
What It Covers: Amounts vary based on individuals; scholarships are awarded once per year and can be used for any school expense.
How to Apply: Applicants should create a package containing a resume, transcripts, a completed application, written essays in response to prompts on application, letters of referral and proof that the student has applied for the internship program. Packages can be emailed or snail mailed to:
Microsoft Scholarship Program
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-8303
Who's Eligible: Designed to reward entrepreneurial spirit in the restaurant and food service industry, this scholarship is awarded to students at participating schools only. Enrolled students may use these funds for undergraduate degree program completion.
What It Covers: Recipients receive between $3,000 and $5,500 that can be used for any school-related expenses.
How to Apply: Applicants should describe an entrepreneurial project, either past or future, in a 1000-word essay. This essay, along with proof of enrollment, transcripts, verification of employment in the foodservice industry and 2 letters of recommendation must be submitted by April 10th.
Scholarships for Returning Students
Who's Eligible: Students interested in vocational or career colleges may qualify for this one-time grant, designed for adult students. The results of an assessment made in partnership with the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) are sent to participating colleges, which then disburse Imagine America funding.
What It Covers: $1000 may be awarded for tuition and expenses at affiliated career schools.
How to Apply: Determine whether your school is a participating college. If so, complete the online awards application and the NCCT assessment at the same link. Your school will notify you via email if award funds are available for you.
Who's Eligible: Members of the Federation of Consumers and Travelers (FACT) consumer purchasing club may be eligible for scholarship funding. FACT members or their immediate family members may be eligible to students who graduated from high school prior to 2009. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete a 2- or 4-year program at an accredited college. Financial need is considered.
What It Covers: Scholarships from $2,500 to $10,000 are awarded each year, and cover tuition, books and related expenses. Funding is paid directly to the school.
How to Apply: An application may be downloaded. The completed application, high school transcripts, proof of FACT membership, and a 2-page essay in response to a prompt in the application form should be mailed to:
FACT Membership Office
PO Box 104
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Finalists will be chosen and asked to submit a financial aid report before scholarships are awarded.
Who's Eligible: The Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation aspires to put education within reach for low-income women, particularly mothers. Women with minor children enrolled in a technical or vocational school, associate degree programs, or traditional 4-year baccalaureate degree programs are eligible. Income must meet somewhat stringent guidelines; for instance, a family of 2 must make less than $18,000 per year.
What It Covers: Five recipients per year receive awards of up to $3,000. These funds can be used for tuition, books, or childcare expenses.
How to Apply: The application is available in PDF form. The printed, completed application will include answers to several essay questions. Two stapled copies of the application should be postmarked no later than Aug. 1st and mailed to:
Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation
PO Box 769
Granby, MA 01033
Who's Eligible: This scholarship program is targeted to survivors of domestic abuse, most often single mothers, who are low-income. Financial support is available to full- and part-time students who meet eligibility criteria and attend an accredited school. Scholarships are sometimes awarded to graduate students but most often to less-educated women in crisis situations. Applicants must have been separated from an abusive partner for a minimum of one year, and must be sponsored by a non-profit domestic violence agency. Awardees must maintain a 2.75 GPA.
What It Covers: Scholarships are based on individual circumstances, but usually average $2,000 per term and are applicable to education-related expenses, including child care.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted on a rolling deadline but should be submitted 8 weeks before a program begins. A complete application includes verification of at least six months' work with a qualified domestic violence service provider, sponsor agreement, and letters of recommendation. Applications may be submitted online or printed and mailed to:
Women's Independence Scholarship Program
4900 Randall Parkway Ste. H
Wilmington, NC 28403
Who's Eligible: The American Chemical Society offers the Second Career Teacher Scholarship to working professionals in the chemistry field who pursue a teaching degree or certification. Eligible applicants must have a bachelor's or master's degree in chemistry or a related discipline, work experience in the field and acceptance into a master's in teaching or teaching certification degree program.
What It Covers: Full-time students may receive up to $6,000 per year; part-time students are eligible for half that. Funds are disbursed over two semesters, and may be renewed for 3 successive years. These funds cover tuition, books and room-and-board expenses.
How to Apply: Applications are filed online and must include a resume or curriculum vitae, complete transcripts, proof of admittance, and personal essays detailing your interest in teaching chemistry. All application packets are due no later than April 1st.
Who's Eligible: The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) offers merit-based scholarships to active duty, honorably discharged and disabled veterans of the U.S. military. Eligible applicants are at least second-year students in accredited programs. Awardees must maintain a 3.0 GPA and major in an approved technological subject area.
What It Covers: Undergraduate scholarships are $2,250; graduate students receive $5,000. All funds are applicable to tuition, books and related expenses.
How to Apply: Applications may be submitted online and are due by Nov. 15th. Candidates must supply a Certificate of Service, Discharge Form or copy of latest performance review, as well as letters of recommendation.
Who's Eligible: The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) is entirely dedicated to providing educational funding for women in dire financial straits. Applicants for these need-based grant programs must be within 2 years of completing a degree, but have been out of school for at least 2 years. Designed to entice women to finish school, grants are awarded to students in undergraduate and master's degree programs.
What It Covers: Award amounts vary based on individual circumstances, but may be as high as $3,000 and can be used for any educational expenses. A low-interest loan program is also available for up to $20,000.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted online but can only be granted via a sponsoring local chapter. Generally, applications received less than 4 months prior to the beginning of a term will be rejected.
Who's Eligible: This scholarship program is awarded to over 1,000 women annually, most of whom struggle with poverty, domestic violence or substance abuse. Eligible applicants are currently enrolled in a vocational skills program or undergraduate degree program, and demonstrate financial need.
What It Covers: These funds are cash awards that can be used toward any school-related expenses, including childcare and transportation. Scholarships fall among three tiers: local club level awards vary in amount but are relatively small, regional level awards range from $3,000 to $5,000, and international awards grant $10,000 to 3 recipients per year.
How to Apply: A completed application and letters of reference must be emailed by Dec. 1st of each preceding academic year.
Who's Eligible: This scholarship is awarded once annually to both new undergraduate and graduate students as well as those students seeking career improvement or a a career change through education. Eligible students must be enrolled at an accredited institution full time and maintain an accumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25.
What It Covers: These funds are cash awards that can be used toward any school-related expenses, including childcare and transportation. Scholarships are given annually for $1000.
How to Apply: A complete official academic transcripts, a one (1) page letter from the applicant, and a list of extracurricular activities, honors, awards, or recognition received within the last three (3) years are to be submitted no later than February, 1st of each year.
Who's Eligible: Offered by Google, the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship strives to support women who aspire to careers in technology. Applicants must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student, and majoring in computer science or a related field. Strong academic performance and leadership potential must be demonstrated.
What It Covers: Each recipient receives $10,000 for one academic year, which can be used for standard educational expenses such as tuition, books and fees.
How to Apply: The online application includes a resume, current transcripts, answers to four essay questions and two letters of reference. Applications are due Dec. 2nd.
Who's Eligible: The Career Development Grant is awarded to women of color who hold bachelor's degrees and are pursuing graduate degrees to re-enter the workforce or change careers. While membership in the AAUW is not required, members are given special consideration. Pursuing a degree in a non-traditional field is also given extra weight. Applicants must have received their last degree prior to June 2009.
What It Covers: The number of recipients varies annually, though it is often between 40 and 50 women. These non-renewable awards range from $2,000 to $12,000.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted from Aug. 1st through Dec. 15th.