Grants for Adults Returning to College

by Patrice E. Athanasidy

Adults going back to college have access to many of the same funds as traditional college students. Some funds are available specifically for the returning-to-school student. It takes research and determination to find the funds, but the research could be worth thousands of dollars in the long run.

The Facts

Grants are based on financial need. points to broad categories that can help in the search of funds for adults. Many colleges have their own grants for adults returning to school. The Federal Government opens the Pell grant to adults as well as traditional students. Women and minorities also have specific grant opportunities available. Financial aid officers at the college an adult student is considering can often point the student in a direction and save countless hours of research.


According to, many grants available to adults are targeting just that: adults. Others have a specific focus for veterans, minorities, women, those still in the military, international students, disabled students and more. The most common federal grant available for the non-traditional adult student is the Pell Grant, which was valued at more than $5,000 in 2009.

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All students in need of financial aid will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( Completing this form goes more smoothly when you are using tax return information, so if you wish to apply for aid you should also do your taxes in a timely manner. The FAFSA has become standard for many funders.


Students are not required to pay back the grants after they complete their coursework. Grants lower tuition costs immediately, making the return to college more affordable for many students. Grants come in many categories and meet the needs of almost every returning adult student. Adults who obtain the grants are also not required to carry a full course load, compared to traditional students who obtain grants.

Expert Insight

According to Sandra Block of "USA Today" 's Your Money page, "The good news: Financial aid isn't just for the young. Even if you use Facebook to share pictures of your grandkids, there's a good chance you qualify for direct grants or low-interest loans."

About the Author

Patrice Athanasidy has been writing freelance stories for over 20 years in the New York metropolitan area. Her publications include weekly newspapers and regional magazines. She also works with not-for-profits, handling public relations and grants projects. Patrice graduated from Manhattan College and Fordham University with a masters in public communications.

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