Many seniors are keen on learning new skills or furthering their education, which can be quite expensive due to high tuition fees. However, several institutions have developed scholarship programs for seniors who are interested in pursuing further education. Some of scholarships that are available for seniors are detailed in this article, as well as the eligibility standards for each program.
State-level college scholarships, as well as financial aid, are available for senior students. The Department of Education has compiled a comprehensive list of state organizations that assist older Americans and other minorities with financial help. Anyone in the 50 states and territories of the United States can benefit from the educational resources provided. https://www2.ed.gov/programs/find/title/index.html?src=grants-page
Federal Student Aid
Irrespective of age, any student can apply for federal student aid. The application form is available on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. There is a very clear and complete process on the website to create a PIN-protected account and apply for FAFSA. Additionally, there is a simple step-by-step guide for non-traditional senior students. Eligibility requirements for federal student aid include the display of financial need, being a citizen of the United States or a qualified noncitizen, maintaining good credit on any federal student loans that you may have, applicant, must be enrolled or accepted into a certificate or degree program and maintain good grades.
How to apply:
- For online submission, you have to create an FSA ID account. You won’t need an FSA ID if you’re mailing the form.
- Fill out the FAFSA form and submit.
Types of Federal Student Loan Programs
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
It offers four types of Direct Loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans are given to qualifying undergraduate students who have demonstrated financial need.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are given to eligible professionals, and graduates without regard to their financial needs.
- Graduate and professional students, as well as parents of dependent undergraduate students, are eligible for Direct PLUS Loans.
- You can consolidate all of your qualified federal student loans into a single loan with a single servicer using Direct Consolidation Loans.
Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL)’s Scholarship for Adult Students
Seniors enrolled in undergraduate programs at a chartered Alpha Sigma Lambda chapter are eligible to apply for the Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL) Scholarship for Adult Students. Currently, the United States has approximately 300 chapters. Additionally, for eligibility, students must be able to demonstrate that they require further financial assistance and have a minimum GPA of 3.2. https://www.alphasigmalambda.org/scholarships/
Air Force Aid Society
The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant is a charitable organization supported by the United States Air Force and is designed to support service members and their families pay for college. The grant provides up to $2000 for service-men, retirees, and their spouses who are returning to college to finish their education. The Air Force Aid Society’s website has all the necessary information. https://afas.org/afas-merit-scholarship/
William E. and Phoebe Clark Scholarship
Michigan State University oversees this scholarship program. Seniors who are set to start their academic path or returning to college to earn a bachelor’s or advanced degree are eligible to apply. Single parents and students returning to school after the death of a spouse are given special consideration. The amount of the award varies depending on financial need, academic success, and the duration of the study. https://msu.academicworks.com/
AmeriCorps Silver Scholars
For persons over 55, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act established the AmeriCorps Silver Scholars Program award. Each senior receives a $1000 education grant for every 350 hours of voluntary service. This money can also be transferred to pay for the education of the recipient’s children, grandchildren, or foster children. https://americorps.gov/members-volunteers/segal-americorps-education-award
Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA)
It is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of senior parents. The American Indian Affairs Association Full-time American Indian students who are unable to complete their education owing to family commitments can apply for a $1,500 non-renewable grant from the Association on American Indian Affairs. These scholarships are for seniors who want to enter or return to college after delaying or stopping going to college to raise their children. https://www.indian-affairs.org/scholarships.html
Newcombe Scholarships for Mature Women Students
Mrs. Newcombe, the organization’s founder, expressed an interest in awarding scholarships to mature female students pursuing higher education. The awards, however, are not directly sent to the student’s account; rather, the organization sends the grants directly to universities and colleges to help mature women students over the age of 25 who have attained 60 credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Faculty members, financial aid personnel, and counselors serve on campus committees that assess student applications and grant scholarships to students who choose to pursue higher education at universities/colleges of their choosing. https://newcombefoundation.org/programs/scholarships/
Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA)
The Women in Transition (WIT) scholarship is offered by the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA) to women who have worked as home helpers and did not have the chance to go to college. For pursuing a four-year-long bachelor’s degree in accounting, grants of up to $16,000 are available. Applicants should be freshmen in college. The EFWA website has information on how to apply. https://www.efwa.org/scholarships.php
Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.)
Created in 1869, the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) is one of the first educational foundations for women in North America. Seniors and women of all ages who have had their education stopped for at least two years are eligible for funds from this organization. The grant can only be used for tuition, not for living expenses. https://www.peointernational.org/projects
The GO-60 Program
Penn State University’s GO-60 Program provides free tuition to senior students aged 60 and older. Prospective candidates must be residents of the State of Pennsylvania. They should either be retired or have a part-time job. Former Penn State alumni or employees are also eligible for the program. https://harrisburg.psu.edu/registrar/GO-60-program
Business and Professional Women (BPW) Foundation Career Advancement Scholarship Program
The Foundation for It is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women in business. BPW keeps track of scholarships and fellowships for women who want to improve their career skills, train for a new vocation, or re-enter the workforce. Applicants must be female residents of the United States and must be at least 25 years old at the time of application. Legacy Partners manage the selection process and applications, and the money is distributed to women in their respective geographic areas. The amount of money awarded is determined by the chosen program and financial need. http://bpwwafoundation.org/apply-for-a-scholarship/
The Prime Timers Program
This program permit offers seniors over 62years of age a chance to complete an associate degree program for free at Georgia Perimeter College, although they must pay for their stationary, as well as extracurricular activities, technological and student support costs. https://www.gcsu.edu/financialaid
The Pell Grant
By filling out the FAFSA, students who demonstrate financial need can apply for a Pell Grant. When calculating the amount awarded, this form is used to determine the financial eligibility of the applicant. Those with the least amount of income and assets are eligible for more money than those in better financial circumstances. https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/pell
Jeanette Rankin Foundation
The Jeanette Rankin Foundation helps low-income women by providing financial support through educational grants. Women over the age of 35 who aim to earn their first college degree after retirement are eligible to apply for this scholarship. The money can be used to pursue any form of a degree program, including associate, bachelor, technical, and vocational degrees. https://rankinfoundation.org/for-students/
The Avon Foundation for Women
Back-to-school grants are available from the Avon Foundation for Women are available for females of all ages who are seeking a college degree. Only females are eligible for the program. https://www.avonworldwide.com/supporting-women/avon-foundation-for-women
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
The American Association of Retired Persons Foundation College Scholarship Program is available to low-income women over the age of fifty. Within six months of receiving the grant, applicants must have enrolled in a program at a United States Department of Education-accredited school or technical institution. https://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/grants/
American Association of University Women
For women of all ages, including senior adults, the American Association of University Women gives professional development awards. This program is for women who already hold a bachelor’s degree and want to continue their education by earning a master’s degree, a second bachelor’s degree, or completing a certification program. In addition to tuition, the scholarship covers expenses such as stationery, goods, and transport fares. It also includes dependent care. https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/
Globe University Senior Citizen Scholarships
The Globe University Senior Citizen Scholarship is available for senior citizens who are above the age of 62. The scholarship pays $1940 per quarter and the funds can be used to pay for up to four quarters of tuition for one course. Students who receive this award and enroll in a course are considered degree-seeking students and are eligible to apply for financial aid if they meet the university’s other eligibility requirements. https://www.broadviewuniversity.edu/msb-globe/
Many universities reduced tuition to senior citizens and sometimes even free, including:
The Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver
Offered to citizens aged sixty-two and older by the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University, or one of the twelve community colleges in the state.
The Evergreen Program
Through this program, seniors aged 58 and above can attend undergraduate classes for $100 for each course or attend “special lectures” coordinated by the various faculties at Boston University. https://cpe.bu.edu/evergreen/
The Over-60 Tuition-Free Degree Program
The University of Delaware is a public research university that offers a free tuition program for Delaware residents aged 60 and up called the Over-60 Tuition-Free Degree Program. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program. However, there are some costs involved such as late registration charges, stationary expenses, etc. http://www.pcs.udel.edu/credit/over60.html.
Northern Michigan University Senior Citizen Scholarships
Through this scholarship program, senior residents aged 62 and above can apply for free tuition to study at Northern Michigan University. Seniors who are interested in applying for the scholarship should do so at the same time as applying to the College of Graduate Studies. A student discretionary activity charge, which is $30.26, must be paid by all applicants. However, the program is for on-campus studying, that is, it does not apply to online courses. https://nmu.edu/financialaid/nmugrants
First Chance Scholarship Program
Adults who are first-time college students can apply for financial support through the First Chance Scholarship Program. Candidates applying to study at the University of Phoenix are eligible for this scholarship. https://www.phoenix.edu/tuition_and_financial_options/scholarship-opportunities.html
Methodist University Senior Citizen’s Scholarship
Seniors aged 65 or above are eligible for this scholarship. To be considered for this scholarship the applicants must be officially enrolled by the university to pursue an undergraduate program at the university. The tuition fee for such students is waived off by the university. If the students are eligible for the need-based State Aid or other Federal Grants, then the funds will be subtracted from the tuition fee first and the balance will be cleared off by the university. https://www.methodist.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/
Wallace Community College (WCCS) – Selma, Senior Citizen Scholarship
The WCCS offers a free tuition option for older students. It is for applicants who are at least 60 years old and have enrolled in a credit course at the institute’s academic or technical division. This scholarship, however, does not pay any other expenses; instead, it just provides free tuition. https://www.wallace.edu/scholarships/current-scholarship-opportunities/
Western Kentucky University, Senior Citizen’s Scholarship
Seniors who want to further their education can apply for a Senior Citizen’s Scholarship at Western Kentucky University. Candidates must be a Kentucky resident and must be at least 65 years old on or before enrolling in any undergraduate or graduate program at the university. https://www.wku.edu/financialaid/scholarships/
Plymouth State University Senior Citizen’s Grants
Senior adults from New Hampshire who are 65 years old or older are eligible to apply for this scholarship, which will cover the cost of one course at Plymouth State University per semester. Only credit courses, such as graduate programs, are eligible for the award. Applicants who are enrolled in any of the university’s degree programs are not eligible for this award. https://campus.plymouth.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/