Scholarship Opportunities for Non-Traditional Students and Returning Adults


The pursuit of higher education is not confined to a specific age or life stage. Non-traditional students and returning adults, including those who have taken a break from formal education, bring diverse experiences and perspectives to the classroom. Scholarships designed to support these individuals are instrumental in ensuring that education remains accessible. In this blog post, we will explore scholarship opportunities specifically tailored for non-traditional students and returning adults.

1. The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund:

  • Named after the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, this scholarship targets women aged 35 and older. It aims to empower women who are pursuing post-secondary education and making a positive impact in their communities.

2. The Bernard Osher Foundation Scholarship:

  • This scholarship is offered at various colleges and universities across the United States. It supports students aged 25 and older in pursuing a degree or returning to complete their education. Eligibility criteria vary by institution.

3. Imagine America Foundation:

  • The Imagine America Foundation provides scholarships for adults and non-traditional students interested in career and technical education programs. Scholarships are awarded based on a combination of need and academic performance.

4. The Society of Women Engineers Scholarships:

  • This organization offers scholarships not only to traditional undergraduate students but also to women who have returned to school for an engineering degree after an extended break. These scholarships aim to encourage gender diversity in STEM fields.

5. The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP):

  • WISP supports survivors of intimate partner abuse by providing scholarships to help women complete their education and gain economic independence. It is open to women aged 17 and older.

6. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarships:

  • The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation offers scholarships to exceptional community college students, which can be a valuable resource for returning adults looking to continue their education.

7. The Horatio Alger Scholarship:

  • The Horatio Alger Association provides scholarships for non-traditional students, including those who have faced adversity. The program supports high school completion and post-secondary education.

8. Veteran-Specific Scholarships:

  • Many scholarships are dedicated to veterans returning to school. Organizations like the Pat Tillman Foundation, AMVETS, and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offer scholarships to support veterans in their educational pursuits.

9. Professional and Industry Associations:

  • Some professional associations and industry-specific organizations offer scholarships to individuals returning to school for further education or career advancement. Examples include the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

10. Local Community Foundations and Organizations:

  • Don’t overlook local resources. Community foundations and organizations often offer scholarships for non-traditional students to attend nearby colleges or universities.


Education is a lifelong pursuit, and scholarship opportunities for non-traditional students and returning adults make it possible for individuals of all ages to achieve their academic and career goals. These scholarships not only provide financial support but also recognize the value of the unique experiences and perspectives that non-traditional students bring to the educational landscape. If you’re considering a return to higher education, explore these opportunities to help make your educational dreams a reality.

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