Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grants for Adults Returning to College

NRC Chairman Klein Presents Grant Money to Uni...NRC Chairman Klein Presents Grant Money to University of Illinois (Photo credit: NRCgov)

For 2016 an up-to-date list of current active scholarships and grant programs at the end of this post.

Many adults have never finished their college degrees or even started them. Through the many twists and turns of life we just don't do it. Either family needs take precedent or we just don't have the money. Today many adults are returning to college to start or finish a degree. 

They now have the time or have changed jobs forcing the question of returning to school to the forefront. They never have realized that there are many grants available, specifically for adults returning to school.

A grant is money given to a student that does not need to be paid back when they complete their degree. Some grants are one time events, while others are renewed yearly, as you progress through school. Usually grants are given based on your financial needs or provided when you chose a specific path of study.

Even though you are working full time, this doesn't keep you from obtaining money for college tuition. For adult students you don't have to sign up as a full-time student to receive grant money. Adult grants understand that you still have work and family obligations to juggle while going to school.

Federal Education Grants.

The largest government grant option is called Pell Grants. This money is given to you and does not have to be paid back. For the 2010-2011 school year, the value of the federal Pell grant was $5,550. In order to qualify annually for a Pell grant, you must be working toward a degree.

To apply for Pell Grants you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. The FAFSA forms must be completed annually to continue to receive government grants. Income information is necessary for completing FAFSA forms, so it is helpful to submit your tax forms early and have your most recent tax return documentation available when you complete the forms.

You must apply before June 30th, but if you submit in early February you will get a quicker response and more grant money than those that wait till June. There is a limited amount of money and the sooner you apply the better. FAFSA forms and information can be found here: Fafsa.Gov.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).

This other federal grant is offered by the government for people with a greater financial need. Also there are grants offered based on gender, race, nationality, and other specific groups. To find other government grants, visit Students.Gov

State School Grants.

Even some states offer grants to students who attend their state college or choose a specific career path. Some states are in need of teachers so they offer specific grants for that vocation. Check your states government website, education and grants section, for more information.

College Grant Providers.

Colleges themselves often have grant monies available for students. Some colleges have separate programs for adult students, and corresponding grant programs to assist the students with tuition costs. Whether the college has a separate program for adults or not, the financial aid officers at the college should be able to direct adult students to specific grant and scholarship programs that can assist them.

Employer Grants.

Many larger companies offer grants or tuition reimbursement programs for employees that want to continue their education. Check your companies human resources department for more information.

Community Grants.

Many cities have organizations that offer grants and scholarships to adults students going back to school. Many scholarships are available by a variety of clubs, organizations, civic groups, and religious organizations. The only problem is there is no one source to track down these services. You will have to use the phone and Internet and search for these organizations one by one.

Though many grants and scholarships are generous in the amount of money they offer, remember they will not cover the totality of your education costs. You still need to have some money saved for uncovered expenses. You could fill in your need for money by taking loans, but it may be better to pay for education when you have the cash available.

Update for 2016. Here is an up-to-date list of current active scholarships. 

List courtesy of


  1. I came to this page by searching Yahoo. I have found it quite interesting. Thank you for providing this. I will have to visit here again! lexington collection

  2. I personally think college is a bad investment since there is no guaranteed return. If you want to invest yourself, why not just start a business? You can get different types of easy less burdensome financing ( than student loans anyway. Something to think about!

    1. But then what is guaranteed? If you want to learn specific vocations like doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. then college is where you have to go. Otherwise think twice about the time and financial commitment involved.


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