Fellowship Grants for Women Over 50 Years

The thought of returning to school can be exciting for some and daunting to others. It can present the opportunity to try a new career path, audit courses for pleasure during retirement or help a family recover from financial trouble. There are many ways that older students can help finance their education, such as taking advantage of employer tuition reimbursement programs. There are also specific resources available for women over 50.

  1. Federal Grants

    • The Edward M. Kennedy Service Act was established in 2009 and provides funding for community service initiatives. Part of the Act includes the Silver Scholarship Grant Program. This $1,000 educational grant is awarded to individuals age 55 or older who contribute at least 350 hours of community service. Awards must be used within 10 year of receipt. The grant can also be transferred to children or grandchildren.

    Grants to Complete Undergraduate Education

    • For women who postponed their education to care for family members, grants are available to return to school. The Association on American Indian Affairs offers the Displaced Homemaker Scholarship, which is a $1,500 award as of 2011 for women (and men) whose family obligations would make it extraordinarily difficult to finish school. Applicants must be at least 30 years old, at least one-quarter Native American or Native Alaskan, and have never attended college or had to leave their studies because of family responsibility, or need a degree for job advancement or a new career. Funds can be used for education, childcare or living costs.

    Senior Organizations

    • Organizations that advocate for seniors can be a tremendous mentoring as well as financial resource. The American Association of Retired Persons is a nonprofit organization that supports Americans age 50 and older. The AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program was established in 2007 and is open to women age 40 and older to gain the education needed for a economically sustainable retirement. The scholarship has a mentoring component that is available to recipients for one year. The awards range from $500 to $5,000 as of 2010 and is funded by AARP and the Walmart Foundation.

    College-Sponsored Programs

    • Many colleges and universities offer their own scholarship programs to attract older students. According to a 2006 article from "U.S. News and World Report," some schools offer free or reduced tuition for seniors who audit classes, offer classes just for senior citizens or provide tuition waivers. For example, Connecticut public college campuses offer free tuition to Connecticut residents age 62 and older. This includes the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University and 12 community colleges.

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