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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 Deadline: 4/1/2021
  • Amount: $2,500
  • The Lombard Area Branch of AAUW "Return to Learning" scholarship is offered to assist females in completing an undergraduate or master's degree, or a certification program. Students must reside in Lombard, Villa Park, Oakbrook Terrace, Wheaton, Addison, Glendale Heights or Glen Ellyn in order to apply and are continuing college after a significant interruption. Special consideration is given to [...] More

AAUW's Re-Entry Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2021
  • Amount: $2,000
  • 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. Applicants must be female, high school grads or GED recipient 23 years of age or older without a bachelor's or advanced degree. Must live or attend a school in north San [...] More

Arizona BPW Foundation Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 7/1/2021
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Arizona Business and Professional Women's Foundation promotes the advancement of Arizona's working women through scholarships, research, and education. Scholarships are awarded to women 21 years or older who are returning to school at a community college to acquire better job opportunities or advance their current careers. All scholarship recipients are required to attend one Arizona BPW [...] More

Ford ReStart Program Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2021
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Ford ReStart Program is need-based and is for adults with considerable years of employment ahead. The award covers 90% of unmet college costs and is calculated on the college’s Cost of Attendance (tuition, fees, room and board, personal costs, etc.), minus other grants and scholarships. Applicants must be residents of Oregon or Siskiyou County, California, be an adult 25 years or older, no [...] More

GRCF Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2021
  • Amount: Varies
  • 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 college after sitting out of school for at least two years. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and provide two letters of recommendation. For more information or to [...] More

Nashville Athena Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

  • Application Deadline: 1/8/2021
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Nashville ATHENA Awards Program will bestow scholarships to honor the achievements of women in the greater Nashville metropolitan area (Davidson, Wilson, Williamson, Robertson, Montgomery, Sumner, Cheatham, Dickson, and Rutherford counties). To be eligible for Non-Traditional Scholarship, applicants must: be a high school graduate or have earned a GED; have been out of high school for three [...] More

Soroptimist's Live Your Dream Award

  • Application Deadline: 11/15/2020
  • Amount: $16,000
  • The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards (formerly known as the Women's Opportunity Awards) assists women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects. Applicants must be enrolled in or have been accepted to a vocational/skills training program or an undergraduate degree [...] More

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 4/24/2021
  • Amount: $8,000
  • 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. Applicants must be African-American, graduating high school seniors; first-year students in an accredited [...] More

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Last Reviewed: October 2020

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