Grants for Second Bachelor Degree & the FAFSA

The FAFSA can help determine your eligibility for federal student aid.
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If you plan to pursue a second bachelor's degree, you may face challenges when seeking student aid. Federal grant programs do not offer need-based funding for students pursuing second bachelor's degrees, but certain programs may offer support if you pursue a high-need field of study. Other options you may consider include nontraditional scholarships offered by private organizations or federal student loans. By completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, you can determine the federal grant and loan programs for which you qualify.


FAFSA Application

Completing the FAFSA helps determine the federal grant and loan programs for which you qualify. The FAFSA requires you to submit information about your finances, along with the finances of your parents if they help support your education. You can complete and submit the application at the FAFSA website, download the application at the FAFSA website and submit it by mail or request a paper copy for submission by mail.

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After submitting your FAFSA, you will typically receive a Student Aid Report within five days, which will provide information about programs for which you qualify.


Federal Grant Programs

Need-based federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, do not offer funding for students pursuing a second bachelor's degree. However, you may qualify for other federal grants and scholarships if you plan to pursue a degree in certain high-need fields.

For example, the Teach Grant Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, offers money for students planning careers as educators in schools that teach children from low-income households. The Teach Grant offers up to $4,000 a year and requires you to serve as a teacher after graduation.


The U.S. Department of Defense sponsors the Smart Scholarship program. To qualify, you must meet academic and citizenship requirements and pursue a degree in technology, science, mathematics or engineering. If you receive a Smart Scholarship award, you must agree to work for the DOD after graduation.

Scholarships for Second Degrees

You may qualify for scholarships offered by private organizations intended for nontraditional students, including those seeking a second undergraduate degree or a master's. For instance, the American Legion Auxiliary offers scholarships for its members returning to school after an interruption in their educational careers. As of 2021, the American Legion Auxiliary offers non-traditional student scholarships up to $2,000.


Executive Women International sponsors the Adult Students in Scholastic Transition program. The ASIST program offers scholarships for single parents and dispaced workers, with annual awards ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. The Sallie Mae scholarship finder has information on scholarships for moms and financial aid for second degree nursing students.

Federal Student Loans

You may consider applying for a federal student loan to help pay for your second bachelor's degree program. The Direct Student Loan program offers numerous types of loans, for students with various financial needs. However, second-degree undergraduate students may be ineligible based on how much they've already borrowed. Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan program is capped at $31,000 for undergraduate students who are dependents, according to Federal Student Aid.


To qualify for a subsidized loan, you must have a financial need for assistance. Subsidized loans do not charge interest while you attend school, as long as you attend half-time or more. Unsubsidized loans do not require you to demonstrate financial need, but charge interest even while you attend school. If you are a dependent student, your parents can apply for the Plus loan program, which charges interest even while you attend school.