The availability of scholarships designated for mature women gives them opportunities for higher education without competition from younger students. Through these scholarships, women who are 50 years of age or older have the means to build a better life or to secure their future through education. Sponsors of scholarships for older women include women's organizations, foundations, universities and companies, each with specific criteria for their scholarships.
The AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program, with support from the Wal-Mart Foundation, aims to assist women at risk of poverty as they grow old. The program targets women in the 50-years-and-older bracket. Providing these women with scholarships for learning new skills gives them the tools for a better, more secure future. The program also includes mentors for one year to assist the scholarship recipients in areas where they may need help, including how to access the education system, registration and class selection, computer skill, and other technologies. At the time of publication, scholarship values were between $500 and $5,000.
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University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin provides returning adult student scholarships for women who are 50 years of age or older. The Alma Baron Second Chance for Women award is for applicants who are at least 45 years old and recently enrolled or continuing students at the University of Wisconsin in good academic standing. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with proof of financial need and whose academic success is likely based on results within the past five years. The Osher Reentry Scholarship is for full- or part-time students between 25 and 50 years old, with a cumulative education gap of five years or more, and focused on obtaining a first undergraduate degree. The value of the Osher Reentry Scholarship is up to $5,000 over two semesters for tuition only.
Seattle/King County Older Women’s League
The Florence Marie Bauer Memorial Fund in Washington offers scholarships designated for women of 50 years or older with no dependent children. The Seattle/King County Older Women's League awards the scholarship through the financial aid office of the college or university selected by the applicant. Applicants must be residents of Seattle/King County. Displaced homemakers, homeless women and women seeking to become self-supporting and financially independent through education receive preference. Being able to articulate career plans to the scholarship committee is an advantage. Particular consideration goes to candidates in financial need and who choose geriatrics as their field of study. At the time of publication, the value of the scholarship was $2,000.
Jeannette Rankin Foundation
The Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund assists mature, low-income women in gaining an education. Applicants must be at least 35 years old, U.S. citizens, and accepted to or enrolled in an accredited school to pursue a technical or vocational education, or an associate's or first bachelor's degree. In awarding the scholarship, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation also considers the applicant's stated goals and plans for reaching them, as well as life challenges and financial situation. The scholarship honors the first woman elected to the United States Congress, in 1916.
P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education
The P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education enables women to return to college or university after an interruption to their earlier education of at least 24 consecutive months. The purpose of returning to school is to acquire the skills necessary to get a job that allows them to support themselves and their families. The award covers tuition, books, transportation and childcare. Applicants must be sponsored by a P.E.O. chapter, citizens of and students in the United States or Canada, and within 24 months of completing an educational goal. At the time of publication, the maximum grant value was $3,000 for this one-time-only award.
Amber Foundation Grants
Amber Foundation Grants assists women whose goal is to start a business, home-based or online. Grant funding is to cover expenses such as upgrading equipment and establishing a website. Repayment is unnecessary, but the hope is that recipients pass on the gift by mentoring and helping others. The value of the grant is $1,500.
- AARP: About the Women's Scholarship Program
- University of Wisconsin: Returning Adult Student Scholarships
- North Seattle Community College: Florence Marie Bauer Memorial Fund Scholarship
- Jeannette Rankin Foundation: Women's Scholarship Fund
- P.E.O. International: P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education
- Women's Net: The Amber Foundation Grants