Grants for Women Over 40 Going Back to School

school grants for women over 40Many older women in the U.S. are going to college. Some of those women are attending secondary institutions for the first time while others are new to the college experience. It can be difficult to fund an education as an older adult because of financial responsibilities. It can be a huge hit to a family budget when one of the earners leaves work to go to school. That’s why grants for women over 40 going back to school are essential to numerous U.S. families.

Federal Grants

There are a variety of school grants for women over 40 to consider. Step 1 is to fill out the Federal Aid for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) form. FAFSA is used to determine what types of federal financial aid an individual can qualify for. One of the most popular federal grants for women over 40 returning to college is the Pell Grant. Pell grants for women over 40 are based on answers on the FAFSA, which will decide how large a Pell Grant each individual will receive.

Pell Grants can be awarded for 12 semesters before benefits run out. You can keep track of your available benefits by registering at account at Applicants must be enrolled or accepted in a full or part-time program that meets Pell Grant guidelines. The FAFSA can also determine which federal loans can be applied for and the amount to be requested. Fill out the FAFSA online at their website.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a Pell Grant that can give you up to another $4000. It is based on the FAFSA and can assist with additional financial help.

Private Programs

  • While there are no AARP grants for women over 40, there is a program for women over 50 years of age. The AARP Foundation College Scholarship Program targets low-income women in schools or technical programs accredited by the U.S. Department of Education within 6 months of receiving the award.
  • The HORIZONS scholarship for defense and national security careers is sponsored by Women In Defense. The money they can offer changes every year.. Applicants need to be women with at least a 3.25 GPA in an undergraduate or graduate program. Undergraduates must have completed a at least 60 credits.
  • The Whitehead Scholarships for Women program offers Lettie Pate Scholarships with a focus on health education. Applicants for scholarship grants for women over 40 in medicine, nursing and allied health can apply at Award amounts vary. See the website for complete guidelines.

Returning to School After an Absence

  • Women who have a bachelor’s degree and want to continue their education can apply for one of the American Association of University Womengrants.Grants can be used for expenses in addition to tuition such as fees, books, transportation, and dependent care.
  • The Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) offers grants for women over 40 going back to school. Applicants must have had their education interrupted for a minimum of 2 years. Each chapter sponsors women applying for the tuition award.
  • The Jeanette Rankin Foundation provides school grants for women over 40. Grants are open to women enrolled in technical, vocational, associate’s degree or first bachelor’s degree programs. Complete guidelines are available at the website.
  • The University of Phoenix offers the First Chance Scholarship Program school grants to women over 40. Applicants must be attending college for the first time and be enrolled at one of the University of Phoenix’s many programs.

State Programs

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities partner with the Alliss Educational Foundation Grant program. It is for students who are coming back to school after a long absence or beginning a new college journey. It includes tuition for one course of up to five credits.

Purdue University sponsors the Span Plan Grant Program for adults needing financial assistance due to low-income. It includes tuition assistance for Purdue College of Technology or Purdue West Lafayette.

Each state has its own program to help women returning to college. The federal government funds the College Access Challenge Grant to states for tuition assistance.  The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation is one participant. It started as a way to help improve career opportunities for low-income New York students.

Women have many options to fund their education. There are plenty of grants for women over 40 going back to school. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look.


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