As the current economic situation in the US forces many out of their jobs due to downsizing and outsourcing work overseas, the need for developing new skills becomes paramount. One path toward new skills is education, an often expensive adventure. For middle-aged people, this can be a daunting task, both financially and emotionally. But to lessen the financial burden, there are scholarships for middle aged Americans that lessen the sting and get them through school a little easier.
Contact the student adviser for the school you are applying to. These people are there to help guide you in your educational pursuits and have a list of in house scholarships that your school offers. Many schools offer some form of adult continuing education scholarships that range from as little as $250 per semester all the way up to a $3000 and more toward each semester. One specific scholarship that is geared toward professional adults is a PACE, or Professional Adult Continuing Education, scholarship. The requirements vary from school to school but usually need an essay as to why you are deserving of it and what your intents are with your education.
Perform an Internet search for scholarships. There are both free and pay sites that will do the searches for you. These sites will take in parameters such as age, sex, ethnic background and current work to maximize all of the scholarships a middle-aged student is eligible for. One such site is listed below. Many of these will require essays, heritage verification, a grade point average, ethnic background and interests.
Check with your current employer. Many companies offer scholarships in-house that will require you to sign a commitment to work for that compnay for a set period of time. The usual parameters for these scholarships is a certain amount of time at the company, a position that has a chance of upward mobility and that the schooling you are undertaking will benefit you and the company in the future.
List your hobbies and interests. Look into local chapters of clubs that represent your hobbies. Many of these offer scholarships as well.
During your school year, continue to look for scholarships. Many are only offered once a year, and continuing your search will uncover more options for you.
Have proof of life experience. This can include on the job training, work experience and other options that can be used to get credits and cut some of the cost of school. This can also be used for some scholarship criteria.