Getting a scholarship is an excellent way for non-traditional students to fund their college education. Scholarships for non-traditional students can range from $500 or $1,000 up to full tuition fees. Adult learners who win scholarships find it easier to get their first degree. Or return to college to complete an unfinished degree.
If you’re in the “non-traditional student” category, there are many ways to find scholarships and grants. For example, some organizations or corporations offer scholarships specifically to older students. Or college degree programs may offer scholarships depending on:
- Previous education
- Family status
- Where you live
- A life-changing event.
The benefit of getting a scholarship is that, unlike a loan, you don’t have to pay the money back.
So, what money is out there to help you fund your adult college education? This article points you in the right direction if you want to get a “non-traditional scholarship.”
Are You a Non-Traditional Student?
You’re a non-traditional student if you didn’t enter college after graduating from high school. The National Center for Education Statistics (NECS) say that typically, non-traditional students fall into one of the following categories:
- Over age 24
- Financially independent
- Have family responsibilities or are single parents
- Work full-time
- Enter college with a GED, not a high school diploma
The good news is that non-traditional students are not the exception in college. Official figures show that around one in three college students fit the “non-trad” category.
Grants and Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students
There are plenty of options to get funding for college if you’re a non-traditional student. The first step — even when applying for a scholarship — is to complete the FAFSA form. Some scholarship programs may require you to submit the FAFSA results. You may also find that you could be eligible for other types of college funding, like a Pell Grant.
Related reading: How to avoid costly FAFSA mistakes and protect your financial aid.
10 Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students
Here are the top ten quick and easy scholarships you can apply for if you’re a non-traditional student. With each of the scholarships, you’ll also learn the eligibility status and how much the scholarship is worth.
1. Founder’s Scholarships
If you’re a member of the Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE), you can apply for a Founder’s Scholarship. To apply, you need to show that you contribute to the enrichment of your local community.
Eligibility: Enroll as a full-time student in a four-year undergraduate program.
Scholarship: From $500 up to full tuition
2. American Legion Auxiliary Non-Traditional Student Scholarships
Members of the American Legion can apply for scholarships to enroll in a two- or four-year program. This money allows you to get a professional, trade, or technical degree. You can use the scholarship to finish an uncompleted degree or pursue a new degree.
Eligibility: Be a paid member of the American Legion, Auxiliary, or Sons of the American Legion.
3. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Non-Traditional Scholarships
The UWO-Fond du Lac Foundation offers several scholarships for non-traditional students. Before applying for a UWOSH scholarship, you should complete the FAFSA form. You might qualify due to financial need. However, scholarships are also awarded based on academic merit.
Eligibility: Returning students age 22 or older who meet the university’s criteria.
Related reading: 7 secrets to getting financial aid.
4. Emerge Scholarships for Adult Women
Non-traditional female students can get scholarships in varying amounts depending on their needs. The scholarships give financial aid for education if you’re changing your career, are a stay-at-home mom, or seek further education. You can find out more information here.
Eligibility: Female and age 25 or older.
Scholarship: $2,000 – $5,000.
5. Sophia Fairchild Academic Scholarship
The University of Texas provides students who are non-traditional with scholarships to major in psychology, speech-language pathology, audiology, and rehabilitation counseling. Successful applicants must be adults who are returning to school after two years or more.
Eligibility: Have at least a 3.50 GPA.
6. Working Parent College Scholarship Award
If you’re a working parent, you could get financial assistance to get a college scholarship. To qualify, you need to be in full- or part-time work and have legal custody of at least one minor child. To apply, you’ll have to submit a 600 to 1,000 essay on how to excel in school.
Eligibility: Working parent and you must write an essay.
7. Adult Skills Education Program
Suppose you are a non-traditional student pursuing your first degree. In that case, you can apply for a scholarship through the Image America Foundation. You will need to enroll in a full-time course. However, you can choose to attend a four-year college degree program or a two-year vocational-technical college.
Eligibility: Undergraduate student attending college full-time.
8. Kazimour Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students
Non-traditional students with excellent academic achievement may be eligible for a Kazimour Scholarship. To be awarded the scholarship, you’ll need to show your valued contribution to the local community. With a Kazimour Scholarship, you must enroll in full-time education in a four-year undergraduate program.
Eligibility: Student member of ANTSHE who has strong academic achievement.
Scholarship: $500 and more.
9. Mary Lou Manzie Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is ideal if you live in public housing and are a non-traditional student. The scholarship allows applicants, who otherwise wouldn’t be able, to pursue a college education. To qualify, you need to show financial need and meet the merit criteria. The National Leased Housing Association sponsors the scholarship, and you can apply here.
Eligibility: Live in affordable housing and receiving rental assistance.
Scholarship: $1,000 to $3,000.
10. Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarship
Adults who face obstacles to education can get substantial financial aid to attend college. Executive Women’s International (EWI) sponsors various scholarships around the country to help socially, economically, and physically disadvantaged adults get a college degree. There are 13 different types of scholarships that you can apply for. Every year the sponsors pay out around $200,000 in scholarships.
Eligibility: Adults who face significant challenges and what to improve their situation through education.
Scholarship: $2,000 to $10,000.
Easy Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students from Your Friends at MyDegree
Scholarships can be your gateway to advancing your education as a non-traditional student. Many scholarships recognize the value that adult learners bring to the classroom. Getting financial assistance to go to college can help you start a new lucrative career or further your existing one.