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Scholarships for Returning Students

Trying to search for available scholarships when you’re no longer a high school senior can be a daunting task. So many scholarship resources are tailored especially to the younger crowd, assuming that everyone follows the straight and narrow path from high school diploma to college degree. But we all know that that’s just not the way life works. For whatever reason, your path diverged, and now you’re a returning student, looking to go back to college after some kind of hiatus. When you’re doing something outside the “norm,” it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but be proud of yourself! Attending college now is a great move for your life and your career. Also, don’t panic. There are scholarships for returning students and you will be able to find financial aid to help pay for school.

So, where to start looking? The college or university you’ll be attending may provide some scholarships for returning students, so it never hurts to start looking there. Your current employer may also pay part of your tuition, especially if your degree is related to your line of work—some businesses have even footed the bill for an employee’s PhD program! Many programs exist to provide scholarships for returning students, especially women who are going back to school after raising a family. The free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com can connect you with information on a number of scholarships for returning students, whether they are general scholarships open to everyone, or scholarships specifically for students returning to college. You can also check out our resource page on scholarships for adult students for a partial list of scholarship opportunities for students like you.

While you might feel like it’s unlikely that you’ll receive any scholarship money, returning students may have certain advantages over high school seniors in the scholarship hunt, especially when it comes to essay scholarships. You’ve probably taken a college composition class or two in your day, while your high school competition hasn’t. Even if you think your writing’s not the greatest, just think about how much it’s improved since you were 18. Additionally, as a returning student, you probably have something to write about in your scholarship application. When the prompt asks you to discuss a challenge you’ve overcome or a significant event in your life, you won’t be stuck choosing between the time your dog got run over and the summer you got a paper route to buy your first video gaming system (which probably wasn’t a Playstation 3). Chances are you already have a great topic in your decision to return to school! Many scholarships have an essay component and few have an upward age limit, which makes these great scholarships for returning students.

You don’t know what you’ll qualify for until you look, so start your scholarship search and apply for scholarships for returning students today!

AAUW Return to Learning Scholarships
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Members of AAUW are alumnae who unite to develop programs to enable college women to continue their own intellectual growth, to further the advancement of women, and to discharge the special responsibilities to society of those who have enjoyed the [...] More

Adult Students In Scholastic Transition Scholarship (EWI of Los Angeles)
Application Deadlines: April 15, Annually
The Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) Scholarship is a non-discriminatory, educational scholarship program for the benefit of non-traditional students. These include persons who are past high school age and who are entering a college, university or trade schools and/or the workforce for the first time, non-traditional students already enrolled in a college/university or trade [...] More

Arizona Business & Professional Women's Foundation Scholarships
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
Scholarships are awarded to women 25 years old or older who are starting or returning to a community college or trade school in Arizona to advance their career/job opportunities. Applications are available online or through your community college financial aid office and must be postmarked on or before the deadline to be [...] More

Camden County American Association of University Women
Application Deadlines: July 31, Annually
One year scholarships are available for women who:
-Are residents of Camden, Gloucester or Burlington Counties
-Have completed at least one year of post-high school studies
-Are currently enrolled in a post high school program

Submission Materials:
-One three-page application
-A current official transcript from a college or university covering at least one year's work
-Two reference [...] More

CCC Graduate Award
Application Deadlines:
CCC believes that education should not be limited to those who can afford it, regardless of their academic and professional potential, and that providing opportunities to students who demonstrate good potential for professional success to assist them with education–related costs will certainly benefit our communities and overall economy.

The graduate scholarship is awarded to new incoming [...] More

Emerge Scholarship Program
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
Emerge Scholarships Inc. (Emerge) has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships since its founding in 2001. While each year hundreds of applicants apply for the scholarships, we are only able to recognize a small number of winners. The selection committee is focused on identifying special women – non-traditional students whose education was delayed or interrupted, individuals with a vision to [...] More

FACT Second Chance Scholarship
Application Deadlines: January 15, Annually
The FACT Second Chance Scholarships are for High school graduates who have been out of school for at least 4 years wanting to go to college/university. Two scholarships are awarded.

Eligibility:
-Only FACT members and their immediate family members may apply.
-Students who graduated from an accredited public, private or parochial high school (or equivalent) prior to 2011
-Funds will be paid [...] More

GRCF Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
Grand Rapids Community Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships annually primarily to Kent County students bound for or in college, or those pursuing a technical career.

To be eligible for the Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship, students must be from Kent, Allegan, Ionia, Ottawa, Montcalm or Muskegon counties (six-month residency minimum) and returning to college or entering [...] More

Oregon Ford ReStart Program Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
The Ford ReStart Program is need-based and was created to encourage adults, age 25 or older, to begin or return to full-time post-secondary education to earn a degree at an eligible college.

Eligibilty:
-Must be at least 25 years of age by March 1 of the application year
-Be residents of Oregon or Siskiyou County, California
-Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
-Must be pursuing [...] More

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 01, Annually
The mission of the Herbert Lehman Fund is to help transform the promise of racial equality into a social, economic, and political reality for all people by supporting talented undergraduate students who need financial help to stay in school and successfully complete their bachelor's degree.

Eligibility & Award Criteria:
-U.S. Citizen
-Graduating high school senior; first year student in an [...] More

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 15, Annually
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce Scholarship program recognizes two Maine high school seniors planning to pursue education at a two or four year degree-granting college. Preference may be given to a student attending a Maine college and seeking a degree in a business or education-related field. One scholarship is for a high school student pursuing an associates degree in a technical program, [...] More

Urban League of Nebraska, Inc. Multicultural Association Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
The Urban League of Nebraska Scholarship is awarded to assist graduating high school seniors in pursuit of post-secondary education.

Eligibility:
-Be a current resident of Nebraska
-Have a current cumulative G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher
-Have completed at least 10 hours of documented community involvement
-Have taken the SAT or ACT

For more information and to apply, visit the website above. [...] More

Women's Re-Entry Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 31, Annually
The Women's Re-Entry Scholarship is awarded by the Poway-Penasquitos Branch of the American Association of University Women and is intended for a woman who is returning to a school of higher education to complete her education.

Eligibility:
-Female high school graduate without a bachelor's degree
-Re-entry student who has not attended school for at least three years prior to current [...] More

Last Edited: November 2015

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