Scholarships for returning students are financial incentives for going back to complete your degree after a short or long hiatus. Whether you’ve taken an extended break to travel, raise children, treat health problems, or work for financial means, it’s common for life to get in the way of education.
Bloomberg reported that 40 percent of America’s 4.5 million college students will leave higher education before their diploma. The national six-year graduation average for full-time students is only 59 percent. It’s never too late to return to the classroom and reap a degree’s benefits though. After all, the BLS shows that the mean weekly wage rises from $738 with some college to $1,137 with a bachelor’s. Ready yourself for affordable re-enrollment with these 25 scholarships for returning students.
1. AAIA Displaced Homemaker Scholarship
Deadline: June 2nd
The Association of American Indian Affairs (AAIA) offers the Displaced Homemaker Scholarship to award $1,500 to mothers and fathers who are returning to college to finish their education and better provide for their children. Qualified applicants must be 35 years of age or older, be members of federally recognized Native American tribes, matriculate at an accredited U.S. college for an associate or bachelor’s degree, and hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
AAIA Displaced Homemaker Scholarship
966 Hungerford Drive, Suite 30-A
Rockville, MD 20850
2. Adult Back to School Scholarships
Offering $2,000 per year for up to $8,000 total, the Adult Back to School Scholarships are distributed by the Barberton Community Foundation to Ohioans aged 19 or older who will finish their interrupted college education. Interested adults must have resided in Barberton for at least 36 months, have graduated high school one or more years ago, register for full- or part-time enrollment at accredited college, and certify a minimum 2.5 GPA overall.
Adult Back to School Scholarships
460 W. Paige Avenue
Barberton, OH 44203
3. Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Established in 1948, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation manages over 50 funds totaling $1 million each year from one general application, including the Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship. It’s designed to provide at least $1,000 for Michiganders in Kent, Allegan, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa, and Ionia counties who need financial assistance for returning to college after an education gap of two or more years.
Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship
185 Oakes Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
4. Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
Named for the beloved Iowa RN who raised eight children and returned to nursing school 25 years after high school, the Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship is presented for $1,000 annually by B4 Brands. Nontraditional students who’ve experienced at least a three-year gap of education before returning to an accredited associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing full-time could apply. Application packets must feature proof of enrollment, a typed essay, and two recommendations.
Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship
1001 N. Washington Street
P.O. Box 182
Lisbon, IA 52253
5. Bernard Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarships
Since 1977, the Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco has given institutional grants up to $50,000 per year for universities nationwide to create Reentry Scholarships for nontraditional, returning students between the ages of 25 and 50. General criteria includes having experienced an education gap of at least five years, pursuing one’s first baccalaureate degree, and exhibiting significant financial need. Partnering schools include Humboldt State, Spelman, Yale, Towson, Creighton, and Pennsylvania State.
Bernard Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarships
One Ferry Building, Suite 255
San Francisco, CA 94111
6. Cornelia W. Beardslee Scholarship
Deadline: April 23rd
College Now Greater Cleveland administers 14 scholarships for returning students up to $4,000 apiece, such as the Cornelia W. Beardslee Scholarship. Deserving adult learners aged 19 or older must have interrupted their education for at least one year, enter an accredited public or nonprofit college, sustain a cumulative GPA above 2.5, and qualify for the Pell Grant. Applications are only accepted from an 11-county region in Ohio, including Portage, Trumbull, Medina, and Ashtabula.
Cornelia W. Beardslee Scholarship
50 Public Square, Suite 1800
Cleveland, OH 44113
7. Daniels Fund Boundless Opportunity Scholarship
Deadline: November 30th
Based in Denver, the Daniels Fund has donated over $138 million since 2000 through its Boundless Opportunity Scholarship (BOS) program, which supports returning adults, former foster youth, veterans, and GED recipients. Need-based awards can cover direct and indirect expenses for attending an accredited two- or four-year college in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, or Wyoming. Previous nontraditional recipients attend Regis University, Emily Griffith Technical College, Dixie State University, Casper College, and more.
Daniels Fund Boundless Opportunity Scholarship
101 Monroe Street
Denver, CO 80206
8. Deana Kendrick Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: December 15th
The Deana Kendrick Foundation (TDKF) was established in 2003 to honor the Missouri native and U.S. Navy veteran who died uninsured from poor medical treatment. Annually, awards for $250 to $500 per semester are presented to women over age 30 who are returning to college or starting college after a lengthy education break. Typed applications must include an acceptance letter, annual income statement, and 300-word essay titled “The Next Stage of My Life.”
Deana Kendrick Foundation Scholarships
P.O. Box 14614
Springfield, MO 65814
9. Elmhurst AAUW Returning Student Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
The American Association for University Women’s (AAUW) Elmhurst Area Branch offers the $3,000 Returning Student Scholarship yearly. This merit-based award supports Illinois ladies from Elmhurst, Addison, Bensenville, Berkeley, Northlake, Oak Brook, and Villa Park who are aged 25 or older and continuing their education with 12+ credits at an accredited undergraduate or graduate school. Other local AAUW options are the Lombard Return to Learning Scholarship and Midland Women in Transition Scholarship.
Elmhurst AAUW Returning Student Scholarship
P.O. Box 243
Elmhurst, IL 60126
10. Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation
Deadline: May 15th
Ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 each, the Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation gives several awards and mentoring to female residents of Delaware who have taken at least two years off in their post-secondary study. Eligible returning students must be U.S. citizens or green card holders, be 20 years old or above, posses a high school diploma or GED, pursue an accredited associate or bachelor’s degree in-state, maintain a minimum “C” average, and express financial need.
Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation
P.O. Box 7784
Wilmington, DE 19803
11. GEICO Pathway to Completion Scholarships
Deadline: May 2nd
Phi Theta Kappa collaborates with GEICO to provide six Pathway to Completion Scholarships for $1,000 to $2,500 apiece to support returning students who are continuing for an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree at regionally accredited U.S. institutions. Suitable PTK members will enroll at least part-time, have finished 12-36 credits, present a minimum 3.5 GPA or higher, have held a significant chapter leadership position, and apply for the Guistwhite Scholarship.
GEICO Pathway to Completion Scholarships
1625 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
12. Harrison County Healthcare Scholarship
Deadline: June 15th
The Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF) created the Healthcare Scholarship in 2017 to award up to $5,000 for local returning students who’ve been graduated from high school for a minimum of one year. Funding lowers the financial burden for certificates, associates, and bachelor’s degrees in medical-related fields like radiologic technology, nursing, respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, and phlebotomy. Hoosiers could also qualify for the Harrison County Hospital Foundation Scholarship.
Harrison County Healthcare Scholarship
1523 Foundation Way NE
P.O. Box 279
Corydon, IN 47112
13. Josh Gottheil Memorial Transplant Scholarship
Deadline: June 15th
Valued at $2,000, the Josh Gottheil Memorial Transplant Scholarship is delivered by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Foundation to support currently employed RNs who are returning to college for a continuing education program. Qualified nurses must work in bone marrow transplantation, have 2+ years of BMT experience, and devote at least 75 percent of their responsibilities to direct patient care. Also look into the $3,000 Pearl Moore Career Development Award.
Josh Gottheil Memorial Transplant Scholarship
125 Enterprise Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
(866) 254-4667 ext. 4
14. Kazimour Scholarships for Undergraduates
Deadline: February 28th
The Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education created the Kazimour Scholarships for Undergraduates to bestow $1,000 upon nontraditional students aged 23 or older who seek life enrichment in college. Chosen recipients will display strong academic achievement with a minimum 3.3 GPA for returning to full-time enrollment in accredited bachelor’s programs. Other scholarships for returning students include the Founder’s Scholarship and ANTSHE Board of Directors Scholarship.
Kazimour Scholarships for Undergraduates
19134 Olde Waterford Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
15. Kurt and Ellen Wohl Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 16th
Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes offers eight adults-oriented scholarships like the lucrative $9,000 Kurt and Ellen Wohl Scholarship. Interested candidates aged 25 or older must be returning to college after an extended time, register for 6+ credits at an institution within 55 miles of Elmira, and reside in New York’s Chemung or Steuben counties. Preference is given to students studying early childhood education.
Kurt and Ellen Wohl Scholarship Fund
301 South Main Street
Horseheads, NY 14845
16. Maine Adult Degree Completion Scholarship
Deadline: August 1st or December 1st
Biannually, the University of Maine System (UMS) provides the Adult Degree Completion Scholarship for up to $4,000 to students returning to the classroom after at least three years of higher education absence. Suitable applicants will reside in the “Pine Tree State,” already hold 30+ college credits, matriculate at a member college for their first bachelor’s degree, and have financial need for full- or part-time enrollment.
Maine Adult Degree Completion Scholarship
46 University Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
17. Michele L. McDonald Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting has empowered aspiring female accountants since 1966 with funds like the $1,000 Michele L. McDonald Memorial Scholarship. Qualified ladies must be returning to college from the workforce or raising children to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting an accredited U.S. B-school. Selection is primarily based on scholastic aptitude, financial need, evidence of accounting goals, and experience in the financial services industry.
Michele L. McDonald Memorial Scholarship
136 South Keowee Street
Dayton, OH 45402
18. Olive Lynn Salembier Reentry Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
Women who’ve been out of the workforce and classroom for at least two years could return to finish their ABET-accredited education with the $1,500 Olive Lynn Salembier Reentry Scholarship from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Eligibility criteria requires enrolling in an engineering bachelor’s or master’s program, be U.S. or Canadian citizens, have unmet financial need, submit two references, and excel academically with a minimum “B” average.
Olive Lynn Salembier Reentry Scholarship
130 E. Randolph Street, Suite 3500
Chicago, IL 60601
19. Pat Tillman Foundation Scholars Program
Deadline: March 1st
Named after an NFL player who enlisted in the U.S. Army after 9/11 and was killed in 2004 from a friendly fire incident, the Pat Tillman Foundation Scholars Program gives an average award amount of $6,567 to active-duty military and veterans returning to college. Eligible scholars with high moral character and leadership must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or above full-time at public or private, nonprofit U.S. institutions while maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Pat Tillman Foundation Scholars Program
217 N. Jefferson Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60661
20. P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education
The Philanthropic Educational Organization created the Program for Continuing Education in 1973 to provide scholarships up to $3,000 for women in the United States or Canada whose education was interrupted. Fitting applicants will have spent the last 24+ months with non-student status, be returning to an accredited degree or certificate program, show ambition for skill development, have financial need, and attach a P.E.O. Chapter recommendation.
P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education
3700 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
21. Reva Daniels Metzinger Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st, November 1st, or March 1st
At Florida State University, four returning student scholarships, including one named for Reva Daniels Metzinger, award $1,000 per term to men and women aged 23 or older who’ve had at least a five-year consecutive break in higher education. To qualify, applicants must be Florida residents, matriculate at least half-time as degree-seeking undergrads or post-grads, present a minimum 2.5 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and attach strong recommendation letters.
Reva Daniels Metzinger Scholarship
555 W. Pensacola Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
22. Richard and Louise Varco Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 24th
Opening each December, the Richard and Louise Varco Scholarship Fund is managed by Scholarship America to grant $5,000 per year to workers displaced under extraordinary circumstances who need to return to college for further training. Scholarship money fulfills unmet financial need or income loss for studying full-time at accredited two- and four-year colleges or vocational schools in Minnesota with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better.
Richard and Louise Varco Scholarship Fund
7900 International Drive, Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN 55425
23. Shirley Bloom “Late Bloomers” Scholarship
Deadline: May 8th
The North Orange County YMCA started the Shirley Bloom “Late Bloomers” Scholarship in 2014 to award $2,500 in two equal payments to financially needy women aged 25 or older who are re-entering college at California State University-Fullerton. Selected recipients will have had more than a four-year break in their studies, exhibit motivation to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree, take 9+ academic units per term, and reach a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Shirley Bloom “Late Bloomers” Scholarship
215 E. Commonwealth Avenue, Suite E
Fullerton, CA 92832
24. WGU New Kind of You Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31st
Crediting $500 per six-month term for $2,000 maximum, the New Kind of You Scholarship Program is available for returning students at Western Governors University’s seven state-affiliated schools and online learning division. Competitive applicants must be admitted into one of WGU’s 60 bachelor’s or master’s degrees, hold a high school diploma or GED, show scholastic potential with a “C” average or higher, and have unmet need on the FAFSA form.
WGU New Kind of You Scholarship Program
4001 South 700 East, Suite 700
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
25. Wynetta A. Frazier Sister-to-Sister Scholarship
Deadline: February 27th
The National Hook-UP of Black Women (NHBW) grants the Wynetta A. Frazier Sister-to-Sister Scholarship for $1,000 to African-American women aged 21 or older who are returning to college after having their education disrupted by family or personal responsibilities. To apply, please submit a college acceptance letter, official transcript, recent photograph, 500-word essay about their previous academic work and special talents, and two recommendations.
Wynetta A. Frazier Sister-to-Sister Scholarship
1809 E. 71st Street, Suite 205
Chicago, IL 60649
When heading back to college, you’ll find that costs have risen dramatically. In 2007, the College Board reported that the average annual tuition and fees cost $6,860 at public and $26,380 at private four-year schools. Today, the mean sticker prices reach $9,650 and $33,480 respectively.
Tuition hikes have outpaced inflation and wage growth, but don’t get discouraged because financial aid is fruitful. Returning students are more likely to receive Pell Grants and larger Stafford loans due to their financial independence. There are also plenty of scholarships for returning students to afford finishing what they started.