Women 50 years and older can continue their college education even if they do not have lots of available cash. There are scholarships for women over 50 who want to go back to school, but need financial aid to do so. These scholarships and grants for non-traditional students range in value from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. There are quite a few funding sources for women who are returning to school after 50. Some of the more popular college grants for women over 50 are listed below.
American Association of Retired People (AARP)
The grants for women over 50 from the AARP are meant to help women in this age group gain the education and skills they need to get jobs and become financially independent. The AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program (http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/income/womens-scholarship-program/faqs.html) offers scholarships of $500 to $5000 to successful applicants. In addition to having to be at least 50 years old, the recipient must also be attending a college that is accredited by the U.S. Department of Accreditation. Recipients can be planning to attend, or attending a school that offers courses online as well as on campus. Applicants do not have to be attending school when they apply, but must apply and be accepted to get the grants.
The Soroptomist Club
The Women’s Opportunity Award program offers the opportunity to women, including those over 55 years old, to improve their financial security by getting an education. Recipients of these Live Your Dream Awards must not have a first degree and should live in a country where the Soroptomist Club operates. The applicant must also be the chief breadwinner in the home. These countries include the U.S., countries in Latin America, and Japan. For a list of countries, visit the Soroptomist Club’s website (http://www.soroptimist.org/awards/eligibility.html).
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund
If you are a female aged 35 or older and want to further your education, then this scholarship may just be what you need to apply for. To qualify for this scholarship, the applicant has to be a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident, who is enrolled in an accredited program at a U.S. institution. Women pursuing technical, undergraduate and associates degree and vocational programs can apply. The Jeannette Rankin Fund (http://www.rankinfoundation.org/students/eligibility/) is aimed at low income women wanting to improve their situation.
The Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.)
Established to help make a difference in the lives of women, the P.E.O. (http://www.peointernational.org/peo-projects-and-philanthropies) provides grants, scholarships and other funding for women who want to pursue educational programs at varying levels. The value of the scholarships and grants run into thousands of dollars depending on the program being pursued.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
The AAUW is one of a number of organizations that are open to women from across the globe who want to continue their education. The range of educational grants and funding from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) include: The Career Development Grants, which are open to women who are U.S. citizens or who are permanent residents; International Fellowships which are specific to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. The international fellowships are open to studies at various levels such as undergraduate to post-graduate levels. The institution where the recipient will be studying must be in the U.S. and accredited.
EWI (Executive Women International)
This organization offers two scholarships, ASSIST and EWISP (http://ewiconnect.com/?page_id=203). However, only ASSIST is open to adult females wanting to further their education. The value of the scholarship ranges from $2000 to $10000. To qualify for ASSIST, the applicant must be a woman in need, that is, “having economic, social or physical challenges”. Candidates must first send applications to their local chapter of EWI for consideration.
There are also educational grants and scholarships for women for studies in specialized fields. For women in engineering there is the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) (http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/scholarships), which offers a number of undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships. While most of the funding is available for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, check the website to determine your eligibility even if you don’t fall into those two categories. The undergraduate programs must be ABET accredited and you must be studying at a school in the U.S. or Mexico.
Another scholarship source for women in specialized fields is the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA) (http://www.efwa.org/). Aimed at women who want to continue in an accounting career, the EFWA offers scholarships for varying levels of study. True to their mission of “Supporting advancement of women in accounting”, the EFWA scholarships are only for accounting fields of study. Two specific scholarships are for women who are the main source of income for their families, namely the Women in Transition and the Women in Need scholarships.
With the number of education grants for women over 50 available, it is possible for older women to pursue their dreams. The fact that some will accept applications from women studying online or pursuing vocational and technical skills means a wider base of recipients. This is important since many older women are the ones managing their households and they cannot go back to school fulltime or even afford to go back without financial help.
Other organizations that offer educational grants for women over 50 include the Newcombe Foundation (http://www.newcombefoundation.org/scholarship_mws.html), Alpha Sigma Lambda Adult Education Foundation (https://www.alphasigmalambda.org/), and the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation’s Education Support Awards (http://www.patsyminkfoundation.org/edsupport.html). Regardless of the level of studies, with research it is possible to find institutions offering scholarships and educational grants to women aged 50 and over.