College Grants for Women Over 50: Continuing Education

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Returning to school at any age requires a huge commitment of both time and money. With the changing climate of education throughout the world and particularly in the United States, more and more individuals are seeking nontraditional routes toward higher education. While people will endlessly discuss the rising popularity of online degree options, fewer people know about academic opportunities for individuals later in life. There are several online scholarships available for women who are over the age of 50 and interested in returning to school.

Student Grant GuideWhen exploring options in financial aid, it is important to fully understand the difference between a scholarship and a government grant. A scholarship is typically awarded to an individual by the institution they wish to attend or by a private organization or company. Grants are awarded by governmental funds and with financial assistance. While there are some technical differences between governmental grants and scholarships, the terms are often used interchangeably (not loans). Both refer to money that is provided by an outside source to help an individual achieve a degree or further their education. In today's society, many older individuals are seeking to go back to college to further their careers or further enrich their lives. There are several student aid options for women who are stuck in jobs with no room for advancement, are caring for a family, or have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

AARP Foundation

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers opportunities to many of its members. Women who are over the age of 40 and demonstrate a financial need for assistance qualify for the award so that they can partake in a secondary school or vocational training. There are a few restrictions, requiring the eligible women to use the money toward a four-year or two-year university experience. The AARP scholarship fund cannot be used toward post-secondary education. The aid is aimed specifically towards moms with job positions that do not allow for any advancement without further studies or who never completed a degree program because of family duties. So, this financial aid is not applicable for the 50+-year-old woman who wishes to obtain a master's or doctorate level.

Talbot's Scholarship Fund

The Talbot's scholarship fund is aimed toward female students ready "to start a new chapter and pursue a college degree later in life." It is awarded to women who have received their GED or high school diploma at least 10 years prior. They provide six carefully selected students with a $10,000 scholarship that's really easy to get and 60 other women with a $1,000 scholarship. The larger sum is offered to mothers wishing to obtain a traditional four-year degree, whereas the $1000 dollars are rewarded to girls seeking specific vocational, technical, or associate's program.

Jeanette Rankin Fund

In 1916, the first women were elected to the United States Congress. In 1978, the Jeanette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund was created to honor them. They have rewarded over $1.6 million to over 600 women in the America. In order to qualify for this award, you must be over the age of 35, live in a low-income situation as defined by the organization, be a U.S. citizen, and be enrolled or accepted to an accredited institution for a technical, vocational, associate's, or first-time bachelor's degree. They especially seek to provide new opportunities for those who may not otherwise have them.

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