Scholarships for Nontraditional Students

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What is a Nontraditional Scholarship?

If you postponed college, you may be eligible for a Nontraditional Scholarship. Nontraditional scholarships are for people who want to go to college. But may be adults returning to school after being in the workforce.

Such scholarships often help pay for college at a time when other expenses abound. Unlike a loan, a nontraditional scholarship is free money. So, if you abide by the terms, it should not add debt.

Who offers nontraditional scholarships?

Providers of nontraditional scholarships are diverse. You may find them through corporations, professional associations and colleges and beyond. One example is a Founders Scholarship. These awards are for members of ANTSHE. The Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education pays $500 to full tuition.

You need to be a member and attend a college full-time. There are many colleges offering Founders Scholarships too. Albright and Beloit College are a few.

What is a Nontraditional Student?

Students who did not go from high school right into college are “nontraditional.” Many students start working after earning their diploma. But then want to go to college later in life.

Apart from that, nontraditional students have diverse backgrounds. In general, if you fit the bill as a nontraditional student, you meet one or more of the following 6 criteria:

  1. Are over the age of 24 - Traditional students are usually under 24 years of age. Nontraditional students are above 24.
  2. Delayed enrolling in college by 1 year or more after high school - Nontraditional students did not continue their education after high school. Many want to return to college after a long gap to finish their degree.
  3. Attend college part-time - Many nontraditional students have to raise a family. To make ends meet they often enroll in a part-time program.
  4. Have family duties and limited finances - Nontraditional students may have to care for dependents other than a spouse. Some are single parents and are raising a child on their own.
  5. Independent in terms of financial aid - Traditional college students may get financial help from their parents. Not so with nontraditional students.
  6. Have a GED, not a high school diploma - Many nontraditional students did not complete a high school diploma. But passed the GED exam and have a high school certificate of completion.
  7. Work full time - Many nontraditional students work a full-time job. They may be supporting a family while attending school.

Can nontraditional students get financial aid?

As a nontraditional student, you may be eligible for federal student financial aid. Like anyone younger, you should soon fill out a FAFSA.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid figures out your financial needs. Since there is no age limit for a Federal Pell Grant, you may be eligible too.

Many scholarships for nontraditional students do not place age limits either. Though some providers may ask to see the results of your FAFSA.

Can I get a scholarship at age 25?

There are scholarships that you may apply to if you are age 25. You may need to show financial need and have at least a GED. One example is the Tennessee Hope Scholarship. You can also apply if you were home schooled.

Why Consider Nontraditional Scholarships?

Many people ask if there are any scholarships for adults returning to school. In short, yes and you are not alone.

A scholarship may help a nontraditional student re-enter college. Studies show lifetime earnings are higher with a college degree.

One study shows that people with less than a high school diploma earn a weekly average of $520. But having an associate degree, many workers earn $836 per week. Still more with a bachelor’s degree where weekly pay averages at $1,173.

How many college students are adults?

Enrollment of students age 25 and over was 11 percent higher in 2016 than in 2006. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts that is on-the-rise by 1% through 2027.

At last check, 7.4 million students age 25 or older went to college in fall 2019. This is less than the number of ‘traditional’ students. About 12.5 million college students were under 25 years of age.

What percentage of college students are nontraditional?

About 10% of college students attending 4-year public colleges are nontraditional. Of these, most students (8%) are age 25 to 34. The remaining 2% are 35 years or older.

If you look at private for-profit schools, about one third (39%) are 25 to 34. Another 28% are 35 plus.

Somewhere between these two are private nonprofit colleges. While most (8%) are in the 25 to 34 range, 5% are adults age 35 and up.

Top Nontraditional Scholarships for 2019

As a nontraditional student, there are many scholarships to help you earn a college degree. These are our top Nontraditional Scholarships for 2019. Don’t forget to source your college’s financial aid office too!

Tri-County EMC Operation Roundup Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who live in households served by Tri-County EMC and have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher; financial need will be considered. Priority will be given to non-traditional students.

Total: $2000 Awards:  2
Deadline:  April 15
2020

No Essay Scholarship

This scholarship is available for U.S. and international high school and college students enrolled in U.S. academic institutions. Applicants must apply online.

Total: $2000 Awards:  12
Deadline:  April 30
2020

Scholarship Points Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship drawing is open to legal residents of the United States. Students must plan to attend college at least half time during the academic year.

Total: $1000 Awards:  4
Deadline:  April 30
2020

Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) Scholars Program

The Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation Scholarship Program is available for current high school seniors, undergraduates, and returning or non-traditional students who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage and plan to pursue a major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Total: $10000 Awards:  109
Deadline:  April 30
2020

All About Education Scholarship

This scholarship is open to any applicant who is 13 years of age or older and is a legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Applicants must submit creative, original responses to the scholarship question, using the online application form.

Total: $3000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  April 30
2020

Dodell Women's Empowerment Scholarship

U.S. women who are 35 years of age or older and are re-entering or continuing school n order to learn a marketable skill which will lead to economic self-sufficiency are eligible for this award. Students must live and attend school in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Ventura counties in California.

Total: $1000 Awards:  2
Deadline:  May 1
2020

Sophie Greenstadt Scholarship for Mid-Life Women

This scholarship is open to U.S. women who are 35 years of age or older and are re-entering or continuing school in order to learn a marketable skill which will lead to economic self-sufficiency. Students must reside and attend school in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Ventura counties in California.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  May 1
2020

Susan Schulman Begley Memorial Scholarship

This award is open to women who are establishing themselves as a head of household and a single parent, and due to extreme circumstances following the dissolution of an abusive or emotionally traumatic relationship, have no other adequate financial means, and require funds to meet immediate needs for themselves and their children, including rent & food. Students must reside in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Ventura counties in California.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  May 1
2020

Sylvia and Samuel Schulman Memorial Scholarship

U.S. single mothers who are entering or continuing school in an accredited institution in order to learn a marketable skill which will lead to economic independence are eligible for this award. Students must reside and attend college/university in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Ventura counties in California.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  May 1
2020

Little People of America Scholarship

Little People of America, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families. Membership is offered to those people who are usually no taller than 4'10" in height. Their short stature is generally caused by one of the more than 200 medical conditions known as dwarfism. Membership is also available to relatives and interested professionals who work with short-statured individuals. As part of their service to people with dwarfism a...

Total: $1000 Awards:  2
Deadline:  May 3
2020

Ellen Highland Fernandez Scholarship for Graduate Studies

The Ellen Highland Fernandez Scholarship for Graduate Studies is for students obtaining a Masters or Ph.D. degree and enrolled for the 2020-21 school year. There will be one recipient Scholarships may be renewed (you have to re-apply) for up to 3 years of graduate work, at the decision of the Scholarship Committee.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  May 3
2020

Christian Connector $2,500 Christian College Scholarship

This scholarship is available for international and U.S. students who plan to enroll in a Christian college. The student must enroll full time in a Christian college within 16 months of notification that he/she has won the drawing.

Total: $2500 Awards:  1
Deadline:  May 31
2020