10 scholarships for non-traditional students


There are many reasons why students may choose not to enroll in college directly after high school. Maybe they did not have the financial means to cover the cost of a college education, or perhaps they just needed an academic break. Some may have had family obligations that prevented them from focusing on a college degree or medical issues that made it impossible to attend classes. Whatever the reasons, those who chose to delay college, or return after an extended break, often find it difficult to get back on track. They may feel left behind and assume that there is insufficient financial aid available to assist them in obtaining their college diplomas, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Regardless of age, incoming non-traditional students have many resources available to assist them with paying for a college education. First of all, it’s extremely important that all students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to enrolling in school, as this will determine their eligibility for federal and institutional grants, scholarships, and student loans. In addition, non-traditional students should also consider seeking out private scholarship programs to help cover their expenses. Many organizations and companies sponsor programs designed to help those who may not consider themselves to be “traditional” college students. In fact, here are a few scholarships for non-traditional students that are currently accepting applications.

1. ProjectED Ben Franklin and the Electric Fire Video Contest

This video contest is open to non-traditional students who are currently enrolled in college. Two $1,000 scholarships are offered, as well as three $200 awards. Deadline: September 22.

2. Return2College Scholarship

Students enrolling in college within the next 12 months may be eligible for this $1,500 scholarship. Students may be part-time or full-time students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. A total of three awards will be available. Deadline: September 30.

3. Unigo 10K Scholarship

Our $10,000 scholarship is available to students who are planning to enroll in an undergraduate or graduate degree program no later than the fall of 2019. Deadline: September 30.

4. Milton G. Wright Scholarship

Each month, TG Adventures in Education provides a $500 scholarship for current undergraduate students who are enrolled at least part time. Next deadline: September 30.

5. CampusDiscovery.com Scholarship

Current college students, as well as recent graduates, are encouraged to apply for this $5,000 scholarship. Students must complete a short college survey and write a short essay explaining what advice they would give to their younger selves. Deadline: September 30.

6. General Scholarship for Higher Learning

Hotel Hotline sponsors this $1,500 scholarship for students 16 years of age and older. Students must complete four short essays to be considered for the award. Deadline: October 15.

7. Bankrate Future Selfie Scholarship

U.S. students (except residents of New Hampshire) who are 17 years of age or older may apply for this scholarship program. One $3,000 award and two $1,000 awards are available. Deadline: October 31.

8. Imagine America Adult Skills Education Program

Non-traditional students, 21 and older, may be eligible for one of several $1,000 scholarships offered by the Imagine America Foundation. Deadline: December 31.

9. Impact a Life Scholarship

Three scholarships ($400, $600 and $1,000) are available through this scholarship program. Students must write an essay explaining how raffle drawings can help organizations or businesses. Deadline: December 31.

10. Our Scholarships

Each month, we offer a fun, creative writing contest for U.S. students. Topics include surviving a zombie apocalypse ($2,000), explaining why a college education matters ($5,000), and listing 10 reasons why students should receive a scholarship ($1,500). Deadline: Last day of every month. 

Returning adult students and other non-traditional students should never make the mistake of assuming they are ineligible for college scholarships. Unless a program specifically lists certain age restrictions, older students may also apply for undergraduate and graduate scholarships. There are even some organizations, such as the Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE), that help older students cover their college expenses through various scholarship opportunities.

The easiest way for non-traditional students to locate available scholarships is through our Scholarship Match, which can save you hours from shuffling through pages of scholarships. If the scholarship cash just doesn’t cover it, try our LoanFinder.