Scholarships for Mature Learners

All right, so you’re not as young as you used to be. So what? You have years-maybe decades-of life experience, more skills and training than the average kid, and no doubt a great deal of motivation. You’re not as young as you used to be, but you’re not as old as you’re going to be, either… reason enough to gain the education you need to improve your job situation, right?

If you’ve already done a little looking around, it can seem as though all the financial aid is for students under the age of 25. Truthfully, there is more financial support for young people who are just starting out in life. There’s an upside to that, however: You can disregard scholarships and loans that exclude you based upon your age, and focus on the ones that see your maturity as an advantage worth rewarding.

For example, if you are a woman and an American citizen, look into the Business Professional Women Foundation’s Career Advancement Scholarships. This scholarship is dependent upon financial need.

Do a little research to see if your school offers any fellowship, scholarship, or loan monies specifically for older students; many do. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point makes available Elizabeth Pfiffner Debot Memorial Scholarships of varying amounts dependent upon need for single mothers over the age of 25. They also offer Lenice Christine Merrill Eskritt Memorial Scholarships to older applicants with a grade point average of at least 3.0.

To be eligible, you must have dependent children and have finished at least two semesters of college. This particular scholarship will pay tuition for resident students for one semester. Is your field of study one that benefits many people and is underserved, or a field in which older students are historically underrepresented? Older students interested in a new career in the medical field, education, or criminal justice will discover that little-known sources of financial aid can go a long way toward changing their lives for the better.