If you are considering going back to college as a woman in your thirties, you may not stick out on your campus as much as you might think. Nontraditional students, which is what colleges and universities call anyone over 30 attending school, now make up around 15% of the population of American students. And there are certainly plenty of reasons to earn a degree at any age. College graduates generally earn on average $15,000 more per year than their counterparts who only hold high school diplomas. So once you get over the sticker shock of that financial hump involved in earning your degree, you stand a good chance at a higher paying salary and a much better career opportunity for life in having done so.
Going to school is expensive and unfortunately it is even more costly now than it was 10 years ago. But there is a silver lining involved when it comes to receiving college grants. According to the recent National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, nontraditional students are far more likely to receive basic federal grants such as the Pell Grant than their younger counterparts. Almost a third of students going to school after 30 receive the Pell, which provides $5,645 per year in education funding. Only around 23% of younger students who apply receive the Pell. So when considering your financing for college, you should definitely apply for all of the US Department of Education federal student grants you may be eligible for. Also look into student loans they offer. Depending on what you choose to major in and where you eventually will work, there may be the possibility that you could earn loan repayment funding through student loan grants that repay a portion of your student loans for you.
There is some bad news in the study for older students. As most scholarship programs are designed for kids coming straight out of high school, around 11% of younger students receive some form of scholarship while only around 3% of nontraditional students find aid through these programs. There are some programs that focus their attention specifically on older women going back to college however. These organizations know how hard it is to return to school later in life and for that reason focus their scholarship and grant programs to help women just like you trying to pay for college.
Executive Women International Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarships
Executive Women International was founded in 1938 as an organization for professional women. Today it has almost 70 local chapters across the United States and Canada. For older adults, it offers ASIST Scholarships. It makes 13 such scholarships available each year which range in size from $2,000 to $10,000. Application starts on the local level and to apply for the scholarship you must live in one of the cities where EWI has a local chapter. Chapters then nominate local adults to the scholarship program where winners are selected and awarded these scholastic grants.
Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women Program
This scholarship program was started by best-selling author Linda Lael Miller in 2001. The program was specifically designed to help nontraditional female students since so few scholarships exist to help them attend college. Every year, it offers $1,000 scholarships to women returning to school later in life and usually awards ten of these scholarships. To be eligible to apply, you must be a woman at least 25 years old or older and legally reside in either the United States or Canada. Applying for this scholarship is easy and only requires writing a 500 word essay that explains your educational goals and what positive effects accomplishing a college degree would have on your life. Essays are accepted every summer from June through August. For additional information, contact Nancy Berland by calling toll-free 1-800-308-3169 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newcombe Scholarships for Mature Women Students
Charlotte W. Newcombe herself never attended college but took great pride in helping others do so during her lifetime. The fund that bares her name continues that legacy with a rather large endowment and has already provided close to $20 million in scholarships for adult women since it was founded in 1981. Scholarships are provided through grants to partner schools that are then offered locally to women over the age of 25. Currently there are around 60 schools offering a Newcombe Scholarship. Applicants must apply for this aid through the college or university itself. Last year the program provided funding to 586 students. The average age of these students was 35 and the average amount offered to each was $2,576. For a full list of schools offering funding through the Newcombe Foundation education grants, visit the foundation’s website.