Whether you are returning to school to finish a degree or just getting started, there are scholarships for older women to alleviate part of the financial burden of college. Private organizations offer scholarships and grants to women seeking a second degree, for a career change, or to those women just entering the workforce. The amounts of the scholarships vary from association to association. However, there are many groups who recognize the need for scholarships for older women, so you may qualify for more than one award.
Jeanette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund
In 1916, Jeanette Rankin was the first woman to be elected to congress. When Rankin passed away, her close friends founded the Jeanette Rankin Foundation to assist women who were going back to school. For over 30 years, the foundation has provided scholarships to low-income women over the age of 35. The scholarship may be used for living expenses, tuition, books or other needs of the student. To be eligible for the award, you must be a U.S. citizen, enrolled or accepted to an accredited school, age 35 or older and classified as low-income by the U.S. Department of Labor standards.
Talbots Scholarship Foundation
The Talbots clothier offers a generous scholarship to women who have earned their diploma or GED 10 years prior to application. The applicant must reside in the United States or Canada, be enrolled or plan on enrolling in undergraduate studies at a two- or four-year school and attend full-time. The scholarships awarded in 2010 include ten $15,000 awards and one $30,000. The scholarship also includes a Border's gift card, a Talbots gift card and a gift card and backpack filled with office school supplies from Office Depot.
AARP Women's Scholarship Program
The AARP scholarship program is for women aged 40 and older who have a desire to further their education or learn new job skills. The award is based upon the needs of the applicant. Special consideration is given to those applicants raising another family member's children, such as a grandparent, or who are low-income, with no health insurance or retirement plan and who have been out of the workforce for more than five years. You may also re-apply for this scholarship for a second year. The application process is done online through the AARP website.
Emerge scholarship program offers $5,000 awards to women whose education was interrupted after high school. The foundation looks at the obstacles the applicant has overcome to enter back into college or the workplace, as well as community involvement and her dedication to pursuing her goals. The award is paid directly to the accredited college in which the applicant is enrolled. The scholarship amounts vary from year to year. You can apply online at the Emerge website.
Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for over 30 years, and published a variety of e-books and articles on gardening, small business and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.