College Grants for Adults

Contrary to common belief, there are millions of adult students out there that would like to go back to college, but they are having difficulty finding funding and creating compatible schedules.

Unlike the students that go to college right out of high school, adult students have a different set of challenges because they often have family and work obligations and more limited funding opportunities.

However, despite the challenges, there are still a lot of opportunities for adult students out there, but it does take some time and effort to find them.

Back to School: Taking the First Steps

Although you may already have a job, it will still be difficult to pay for college because college in general is expensive. Most universities cost upwards of $10,000-$20,000 on average.

The first thing you should do is look for a school that has a more affordable tuition rate and offers more flexible class options like distance learning courses, online classes, and correspondence classes. Community colleges and online universities are great places for adult students because they are more affordable and they offer better schedules that will accommodate people that work and have outside obligations.

The next thing to do is contact the office of financial aid and ask if they have any special scholarship programs or institutional grants. If the college does not offer enough funding for you to attend, that is when you have to look for outside funding sources like grants and scholarships from employers and nonprofit organizations.

Loans can still be an option as long as you feel like the amount is tolerable and if you know that you can pay it off in a reasonable amount of time. The problem is that loans are very risky in this economy and many student loan lenders are not giving out as a much money as they used to, so dealing with loans will probably not help you that much.

Alternative Funding Sources

As an adult student you will have the option of exploring both outside grants and scholarships as well as employer tuition reimbursement programs. If you work for a major company, chances are that they have an employer tuition reimbursement program where you will pay for the tuition bill, but the employer will reimburse you for up to 50%-80% of the cost.

Every employer does it differently, so you will have to obtain specific details from them about how much they will cover. Usually, the amount that they will reimburse you for depends on the grade that you receive for each class. For example, they may reimburse 80% for an A, 70% for a B, and so on. Other companies may pay a portion of the total bill at the end of the semester based on the GPA.

Although the employer will not cover all of the costs of attending, it does make things more affordable because every little bit helps. If your employer does not offer a tuition reimbursement program, then you will have to search for outside funding in the form of grants and scholarships. Here are some options about grants for adult students.

The Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is one of the most common grants that students receive to attend college. It is accessible to all students regardless of age, grads, or income, so all are encouraged to apply.

The Pell Grant is for people that are completing their first degree program, so it will not apply for graduate school programs. It will provide up to $5,550 at the maximum and the amount that they give is based on the amount of financial need that the student has.

Once the application has been completed, you will receive a number that is called the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, which tells colleges and universities how much money you will be expected to contribute to attend.

In order to apply for the grant, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available online on the website or you can pick up a paper application from any local college or university.

The Federal Supplemental Opportunities Grant

The Federal Supplemental Opportunities Grant (FSEOG) is a grant that is given to students that have an exceptional financial need. Adult students can obtain this grant, but they must be considered low income and have a very low EFC.

There is no way to apply for the FSEOG directly. Instead, you must complete the FAFSA and then you will notified if you are eligible. They will generally provide an amount between $100-$4,000 depending on the cost of the institution and the amount of need you have.

The only thing to remember with this program is that if you receive the grant, then you are obligated to teach in underprivileged communities in inner cities or rural areas for at least 4 years. If you do not fulfill the obligation, the grant money that you received in college will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan that you must pay back with interest from the date when you received the grant. You can obtain this grant by completing the FAFSA.

The Federal Work Study Program

The Federal Work Study Program is another aspect of the US government’s education grants program. When you complete your FAFSA application, the government will notify you if you are an eligible candidate for work study.

Work study basically means that you will work a small job on campus for a wage that college will pay, but it is designed for you to pay for your educational expenses. The wage must be at least the federal minimum wage, but sometimes the wage will be above that rate.

The jobs tend to offer very flexible schedules, so you will be able to do something simple that will work for you. Jobs vary depending on the school, but you could be a secretary, an assistant, a tutor, or something like that on campus. There is no way to directly apply for the program, so you must complete the FAFSA and see if you are eligible.

Harriet B. Storrs Fund

The Harriet B. Storrs Fund offers grants to nontraditional students that live in Painesville, Ohio.

Applicants must reside in the 44077 zip code and they must have had at least a one-year interruption in their education. They must be eligible for the Pell Grant or have an annual income of less than $60,000. They should have at least a GED or high school diploma and they should be pursing an associates or bachelors degree program.

The grant amount is $3,500 and it can only cover tuition costs because the check will be awarded to the college or university that you attend. The application is available on their website.

The Illinois Veteran Grant Program

The Illinois Veteran Grant Program pays the tuition and fees of service members that have completed at least a year of federal active duty service with the US Armed Forces.

Applicants must attend a public college or university in Illinois and they must have honorable discharge from the service. The student should maintain the minimum GPA required by the institution and be a legal resident of Illinois. Interested applicants can download an application from the website.

The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant

The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is also known as the National SMART Grant. It is a grant offered by the government that is designed to provide training and education to future teachers.

There is no age requirement, so nontraditional students may apply as well. The program offers up to $4,000 depending on the amount of financial need that the student has. Students must be eligible for the Pell Grant and they must complete the FAFSA.

Students must be enrolled at least part-time at an accredited US institution and they must major in mathematics, computer sciences, physical life, engineering, or foreign languages. The applicant must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and they must be in their third or fourth year of a bachelors degree program.

In order to apply, you must first complete a FAFSA application and contact your financial aid office for more details if you meet the requirements.

Imagine America

Imagine America is an American nonprofit organization that provides grants to nontraditonal students. Their grant program is open to students who are 19 or older and they must have at least a GED or high school diploma. It is designed for people that are returning to school after some time working.

The student must attend an institution that is a participating member in the Adult Skills Education Program (ASEP). Upon acceptance into the program, the student must complete the NCCT Educational Success Potential Assessment. The program awards $1,000 to recipients of the grant. The application is available on their website.

The Walmart Foundation

The Walmart Foundation offers a number of scholarship and grant programs to people that are employed at Walmart or Sam’s Club. The amount ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the amount of the student’s financial need.

Applicants are selected based upon their level of community involvement and by demonstrating enough financial need to require additional funding to attend college. Applicants must be employed at a US-based Walmart of Sam’s Club store and they must be pursing a certificate, associates, or bachelors degree program. Their application is available online on their website.

The Arkansas Distance Learning Association

The Arkansas Distance Learning Association offers the Gregory M. Hueberger Grant for Arkansas students enrolled in distance learning classes. The grant is $1,500, but it the amount will vary depending on how much the student really needs.

The program only accepts students that are legal residents of Arkansas that are attending an accredited Arkansas college or university. They must be enrolled in distance learning courses on a full time basis as well. Students must provide transcripts, recommendations, and an essay. The application is available on their website and it can be submitted online as well.

The Union Plus Organization

The Union Plus organization is affiliated with the AFL-CIO labor union that represents workers across America. They offer some scholarships and grants to members of the labor union. Their grant program is open to all current and retired members of the AFL-CIO as well as their children and spouses.

Applicants must reside in the US or Canada and attended an accredited US institution. They must have a strong academic background with at least a 3.0 GPA and community service, especially work surrounding the union.

The amount awarded depends on the amount of funding available, but it will between $500 to $4,000. Their application is available on their website and it can also be submitted online as well.

Executive Women International

The Executive Women International is a nonprofit organization that supports the business endeavors of women across America, but they also offer a number of scholarships.

Despite the fact that is a female-centered organization, the Adult Students in Scholastic Transition grant program is actually open to both males and females. The program seeks out students that are returning to school after a number of years. It is designed to help students that may have several dependents under their care and may be struggling to make ends meet.

Applicants must the age of 18 or older and they must demonstrate financial need for the funding. The student must define goals for why they need the funding and complete an application and send transcripts, recommendations, and a proof income that verifies their financial need. The application is available for download on their website.

Grants for Female Adult Students

The AARP Foundation

The AARP Foundation offers the Women’s Scholarship program that provides grants and funding to women over the age of 40 who are returning to complete their degree.

All applicants must be female, over 40, and enrolled in an accredited US institution pursuing a bachelors, associates, vocational, or technical education program. The amount awarded varies depending on the amount of need a student has, but they will receive about $500 to $5,000. The application is listed on their website.

The Talbots Charitable Foundation

The Talbots Charitable Foundation offers a grant to women who are returning to college. Talbots Charitable Foundation is affiliated with the Talbots store, which is a women’s clothing retailer.

Recipients of the grant will receive either $10,000 to $30,000 to cover the costs of school, a Talbots gift card, and a Reinvention Resume Plus eKit.

Applicants must be females that reside in the US or Canada and they must at least have a GED or high school diploma. They should be in the process of completing an undergraduate degree at an accredited institution in the US or Canada. The application is available online on their website.


Soroptomist is nonprofit organization that supports women all over the world. They offer a number of awards, grants, and scholarships to women from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their grant is available for women that are the primary support for their family, so this is a good fit for women who are singe mothers.

The program actually welcomes women that have struggled against personal problems like poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, or domestic violence as long as they can show how they have grown from the experience.

All applicants must be citizens of at least one of the countries where the organization operates, which includes the US, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, and many others. There is a complete list available on their website. The application requires references, transcripts, and an essay. The application is available on their website and it can be submitted online as well.

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation offers grants to women from disadvantaged backgrounds. All applicants must be females age 35 and over and they must be US citizens. The applicant must be currently attending or at least accepted to an accredited US institution.

Students can attend a vocational school, technical program or an associates or bachelors degree program. Applicants must also meet certain income requirements, meaning that they must fall under the low-income guidelines based on the Department of Labor’s Lower Living Standards chart, which depends on the size of the household and the total income.

Interested students must complete an application and submit transcripts, recommendations, an acceptance letter, and tax documents to verify income. The application is available on their website.

The Linda Lael Miller Foundation

The Linda Lael Miller Foundation offers funds to working women in America. They provide scholarships to women over the age of 25 that reside in the US or Canada. They must be attending an accredited college or university in Canada or the US.

The funds are geared toward women who are single mothers, disadvantaged or dealing with some other type of adversity. The maximum amount awarded is $1,000, but it depends on the amount of funding available that year. The application is available on their website.

Grants for Adult Minority Students

The Hispanic College Fund

The Hispanic College Fund offers a grant program for Hispanic single parents that are returning to school. The program is only open to single parents that are of Hispanic descent and attending a US accredited institution full-time.

Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents and demonstrate a strong financial need. Applicants must also have a 3.0 GPA and be willing to appear in promotional materials. The amount awarded ranges from $500-$1,500. The application is available on their website.

39 Responses to “College Grants for Adults”

  1. Tawnya Waterfall says:

    Would like to know how to get a grant for college to become a RN. Was laid off work in 2008. Would like to go back and get a RN licence to provide for my husband and myself. My husband’s health not the best and i would like to take care of both of us when he can’t work anymore and to be able to support my self when the time comes. I worked in the medical field as a medical coder and biller for 19 1/2 years and loved it. but would like to take care of my community and my husband in the near future. need help on how to get a grant to pay for my schooling. Thank you. Tawnya Waterfall.

  2. shawn says:

    I’m a working adult and I need financial help to go back too school.

    • John A. says:

      Well, from the looks of your grammar, you sure do need to go back to school.

      • A. Newell says:

        John, you should be ashamed of yourself for this comment you posted. This is not the platform to be critical and negative.

        • A. Simmons says:

          Is this A. Newell related to K. Newell?!?

          If so this is your brother-in-law! hehehe

          Yes looking for scholarships for nursing 🙂

      • S. Hartwell says:

        Bullying is one of America’s biggest problems and I can’t believe as an adult that you even made that comment. The error could have been made on mistake. i.e. auto correct. I truly hope you don’t have children. You should apologize. Just reckless!!! Obviously you’re part of the problem and not the solution.

      • Sheila Patterson says:

        Not sure why your on this site with that self righteous pedelstool youve got yourself on. A smartass like you shouldnt need advice. But feel free to correct my grammer

      • John's disappointed father. says:

        hahahaha. “From the look of your grammar” Who writes at a 5th-grade level? I know, John does! hahahahaha.

  3. dh says:

    AS a 49 year old white male, looks like there are not grants for me…..guess I don;t fall into the ‘right’ category

    • Me says:

      I was looking for something for my husband and it looks like we are in the same boat.

      • There are programs for everyone. If you created really good search phrases and did a web search you would find at least one thing. You can look at your ancestry, where it was that you last worked, what it is that you are interested in studying, what kind of hobbies you have, and even disabilities, which I only found out about today. Even mental issues and crimes that have happened to you – there is something there for all of us. It took me a while to find some, but, when I did the web search I found a whole lot.

        I used “PTSD and domestic violence scholarships” instead of “abused women school money.” Think about what kind, if any, physical limitations there are that you have, and also, if there are any programs within your local community.

        When I started in the Fall session of 2014-2015 school year, I panicked because there was really not a lot that I was going to be able to do to return (a life lesson learned well about going to an online university) other than research it until my eyes rolled back into my head. I have yet to pay one dime of my own since that time, and I continue to seek out sources for scholarships all the time.

        The money is there. You just have to be creative when you are looking for it. Think about all the things that you buy, where you buy them, the brands that you use, the stores that you shop in. Think about the brand of cars you drive, the airlines that you prefer to fly…all these things are what I have found out over time that we have access to. The majority of scholarships sites that I have researched for years now are more geared to people who are fresh out of high school. I bet you did not know that most of the “old people” organizations have scholarships for those of us in our 40s. AARP is one of those organizations.

        While I am not a huge fan of Walmart, I have shopped there. Since I do not like the atmosphere in a lot of their stores, I can apply lol…it is sort of like the payback for the ugly service a whole lot of those stores here in Los Angeles County offer its patrons

        Be creative and take the time to research things about yourself that are good, bad, ugly, short, fat, tall, thin, disabled, displaced….BE CREATIVE because of late, when I am not studying, I am writing essays for scholarship applications.

        Good luck and I hope you guys get to return to school soon!! I am totally LOVING IT !!! Best thing I EVER did!!


    • Laura says:

      I am a 24 year old white woman going for a second degree, I too am not in the “right category” either.

    • DJ says:

      Then you are not applying yourself! There are thousands of them. To hell with the white Anglo Saxon Protestant Heterosexual male pity party going on today! If you are not willing to apply yourself to find financing you will never put forth the effort succeed in school! Every college financial aid office can help as well.

  4. Adrian says:


  5. denneisia Ingram says:

    My brother is 34 and was laid off last year from his work. He wants to do electrical engineer but my mom cannot help or my dad. We certainly need to know how to get these grants. I want to start college in fall. please help!!!

    • Pissed says:

      Unfortunatley if he is a White Male he’s screwed. Everyone else can get help. When did America become racist agaisn’t white adult fathers wanting an education!

      I bet that Afgahni Kid below gets a full ride. Fucking piece of shit US GOV.

      • LOL says:

        Poor you.

      • Ed says:

        Unfortunately this is true, white males have no chance in this situation.

      • Natalie Curwick says:

        Wow, angry much? If you are a white Male you are a member of the most privileged class of humans on the planet.

      • Zeke R. says:

        Amen. I guess it’s time now for older white men who had NOTHING to do with past discrimination to suffer the payback of LEGALIZED RACISM. Of course I will now be called a racist for complaining about the racism inflicted upon me. No wait…I’m a hater – or maybe a white supremacist. Whatever name they call me will be deemed appropriate by them, no matter how vile or untrue. I’ve searched extensively and can find absolutely no financial assistance geared towards an older white male who wants to return to college. Someone show me a source and I’ll give you whatever money I receive that’s in excess of what my actual tuition needs are.

      • howard bonds says:

        Well, as a black male, I think most of its fakery and linguistic magic for advertising. I have looked and looked for years and have not found a dime. At the end of the day they all say “based on financial need” or “disabled”, or some other form of 98 percent “You dont qualify” verbiage. The fine print on almost all minority grants or scholarships are to the point where it’s basically some company just creating free advertisement. Even if you are a Veteran (which I am) the magic dissapears as soon as you get the application..I would say take the loans and find the absolute cheapest college…I have 30k in loans with no real way to pay it off..All these sites do for men is piss them off.

  6. Mohammad Mahdi Nazari says:

    I am from Afghanistan, I am 12 grade now at high school and I am studying English now.

    I wants study Middle school or high school in your country , please give me free scholarship.

    because in Afghanistan study is not standard .

    my English is not very good, but if have attain I want study your language in there

    please help to me . I will waiting for your answer .

    Mohammad Mahdi Nazari
    Kabul Afghanistan
    Age: 16

  7. Owens says:

    I am a working mother and would like to find a grant to attend East Carolina University to get a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certificate. This certicate will be acquired throught the Graduate School, College of Technology and Computer Science.

  8. Gloria says:

    I am a currently unemployed grandmother,who is raising a 13 yr old grandson,and would like to know if I qualify for a grant from the Executive Women’s International Organization? I am very interested in re-entering college. I have chosen a training school,but is non-accredited. Can you help me receive a grant?

  9. Amir Salim El-Badawi Mohammed says:

    Iam 43 Sudanese guy., need to complete my studies at the university of Alabama.Help me please.

    • nomoreentitlementforimmigrants says:

      Help yourself sudanese guy, thats what Americans used to do before the entitlement crowd and immigrants thought they were entitled to everything for nothing.

      Help yourself.

      • Maria Gonzalez says:

        Shame on you, racist coward that hide behind such a stupid name (nomoreentitlementforimmigrants). Don’t you know that this nation is shaped by immigrants? And with an education, they become more productive. Migration is something that you cannot stop, so what would you prefer? Seeing someone trying and thriving and being self-sufficient and independent? Or uneducated as you seem to be?

  10. jeanette says:

    I would like a grant or scholarship to return to university to do a Masters in Efucation. The cost is 11500$ at LSUS.

  11. Ms. Spann says:

    I am a single mother of a college student (thank God). I would like to return to school but cannot afford the $850 needed to get my transcript from my old school. In order for me to transfer I need my transcript. Once I’ve accomplished that, I will need funds for school Please help! I am ready to commit~

  12. nicole says:

    Hello all, to those of yall needing these grants and scholarships. google the name of the scholarship and then apply. Alot of these programs are not updated periodically so do your research and lets find this money to go back to school. Also yall i created a career seekers page on fb.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    There is no AARP grant/aid…….it has been discontinued.

  14. Amanda says:

    Be very careful about Scholarships in Louisiana, especially if you are not 20.Investigate because I’m going to a CC and was lied to right off the bat by being told the Ged didn’t exist and has to do things certain way and now I’m in a crash course I might not even pass and still don’t have High school eqivalentcy test done. Lots of secrets so people from 90s era watch out cuz these advisors will straight up lie.

  15. Latasha D Johnson says:

    I am a fulltime working woman low income no kids who needs at least 20k scholarship for medical coder and billing classes. What scholarship would be best for me without getting into anymore student debt…. Tx resident.

    Thank you for your help

  16. Joy says:

    Ms. Spann,

    I have never heard of a transcript that costs that much to obtain. Make sure you call your school directly to find out about the cost. Generally it costs 2 to 10 dollars for a transcript to be sent/obtained. I have gotten copies from 5 different schools and all were free to very inexpensive. If you are requesting through a website, it should belong to the school from whom you are requesting the transcript. CALL to clarify this. $850.00 is insane!

  17. Bud J Sutton says:

    I would like to get a free ride to go to college so i can become a Physical Therapist but there are not a lot of options for me where can i get the credentials for such a thing

  18. Markos says:

    I am deeply interested to be back to school soon

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