Nowadays, the phrase “non-traditional student” is nearly obsolete. This is true due to the fact that every “non” must be measured against a standard of relative normalcy. Considering that widespread desperateness of contemporary economic times call for equally desperate measures, like returning to the classroom after an absence of several decades, no longer is there such a thing as describing the “traditional” student profile.

Indeed, considering the old cliché “change is the only constant in life,” it could be argued quite credibly that conventional non-traditional students are today’s traditional students.

Nonetheless, returning students who are wondering if a college degree is necessary for today’s job market often face financial difficulty attaining that goal. Fortunately, however, financial help is available to non-trads of limited means looking to escape economic hardship in the scholarships featured below.

1. Academic Excellence Scholarships For Non-Traditional Students – Northern Arizona University (“NAU”)

DEADLINE: Contact sponsors

Through this program made possible by proceeds from sales of its customized license plates, NAU makes it possible for its non-traditional undergrads to earn degrees with annual monetary awards in varying amounts.

Per featured official website content, many other forms of financial assistance are freely available from free scholarship funds for non-traditional students at NAU. One example is a new fund established with a $1 million grant by NAU alumnus Tim Snider less than a year before this writing.


Academic Excellence Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students (Northern Arizona University (“NAU”)
COE Scholarships
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Phone: (928) 523-7139

2. Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarship (“ASSIST”)

DEADLINE: Contact administrator

Executive Women’s International (“EWI”) focuses equally on careers, community, and connection. Considering its philosophy “to be a leader, you must be a reader,” it comes as no surprise that ASSIST is a major means by which it promotes “learning, leadership, and literacy.”

Financial assistance of $2,000 to $10,000 goes toward higher education costs of 13 lucky ASSIST recipients annually.

Applicants must have/be:

• Financial need
• Socially, economically, and physically challenged adults
• Primary responsibility for small children
• Clearly defined career objectives
• State with high specificity why higher education is essential to career goals
• Utilize college/university programs, community service agencies, and/or career professionals to facilitate reentry
• Age 18 or older
• Reside within the boundaries of an EWI chapter

All applications must be initially submitted to local EWI chapters. Names of local winners are then forwarded to EWI corporate offices for final recipient selection.


Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarship (“ASSIST”)
Apply at

3. American Legion Auxiliary (“ALA”) Non-Traditional Student Scholarship


8ALA sponsors this scholarship as a way to help late-blooming Legion Family members get a head start in today’s tough job market. An annual award of $2,000 is made to a recipient who is looking to pick up where they left off earlier in life by returning to higher learning realms.

Applicants must be/have:

• Pursuing a two or four-year degree or training in a certified technical, trade, or professional program
• Member of the American Legion, Auxiliary, or Sons of the American legion
• Paid dues for the two years immediately preceding calendar year of application


ALA Non-Traditional Student Scholarship
8945 N. Meridian St. Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Phone: (317) 569-4500

4. Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education Scholarship (“ANTSHE”)

DEADLINE: Contact sponsor

Upon arriving at ANTSHE’s website landing page, a prominent upbeat message promises “exciting news!!” Substantive featured content displayed in the following sentence discloses the fact that ANTSHE will award more academic scholarships than ever before at its upcoming 2014 Annual Conference. The next phrase translates this into “more opportunities to contribute” to non-traditional learners’ academic journeys that gives ANTSHE great pride.

Below is a list of ANTSHE funds that make annual awards in varying amounts that typically hover around the $1,000 mark.

• Marius ‘Gabe’ DeGabriele Scholarship for Graduate Students
• Kazimour Scholarships for Undergraduate Students
• The Founder’s Scholarship
• The ANTSHE Board of Directors Scholarship

Although specifics vary, the above programs share common threshold eligibility criteria that include:

• Prior contributions that enrich the applicant’s college and/or community with demonstrated probable future continuity
• Active ANTSHE membership

Besides the above, graduate students must have/be:

* A minimum 3.5 grade point average (“GPA”)
* Accepted by or enrolled at an accredited graduate program for at least six hours during award year
* Hold a four-year bachelor’s degree
* Completed 30 or more credit hours toward current degree by scholarship award date

Undergraduates in four-year programs must have/be:

* A minimum 3.25 GPA for last 30 credit hours

Undergraduates in two-year programs must have/be:

• Completed at least 15 credits
• A cumulative minimum 3.25 GPA for last 15 credits


Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education Scholarship
Adult Learner Programs
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Rd
MD 0502-ST-Bldg.5, Rm. 264-B
Kennesaw, GA 30144

5. Austin Area Society of Health-System Pharmacists (“AASHP”) Scholarship – Non-Traditional


AASHSP established this fund in 1998 to assist non-traditional students pursue advanced pharmacy degrees.

Applicants must have/be:

• Enrolled in at post-entry level pharmacy degree program
• AASHSP membership
• Demonstrate financial need, as academic history is not a factor in award decisions


Austin Area Society of Health-System Pharmacists Scholarship – Non-Traditional
Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Research & Education Foundation
3000 Joe DiMaggio #30-A
Round Rock, TX 78665
Phone: (512) 906-0546 or (800) 242-8747

6. Bernie Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund

DEADLINE: March 15

This memorial scholarship serves as a living legacy of honoree/nominee by providing financial assistance to worthy non-traditional students at University of Washington (“UW”).

Applicants must have/be:

New and entering students

• Full-time registration in 12 or more UW credits per semester of award
• A minimum 2.25 GPA

Continuing and transfer students

• Earned at least 12 credits at UW or 9 at another postsecondary institution
• A minimum 2.25 GPA


Bernie Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund
UW-Fond du Lac Foundation & Alumni Association Office
Patty Brandl, Executive Director
400 University Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Phone: (920) 929-1335

7. Cathy G. Sultan Scholarship

DEADLINE: 3RD Monday in April

This scholarship awards $800 annually to a female student at University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (“UWEC”).

Applicants must have/be:

• A returning female student
• Demonstrate significant financial need
• Have a Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (“FAFSA”) on file with the UWEC Financial Aid Office
• Enrolled full-time at UWEC
• Demonstrate outstanding academic and career potential

Single mothers of small children receive strong preference.


Cathy G. Sultan Scholarship
Nontraditional Student Services
Schofield Hall 226
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Eau Claire WI 54702
Phone: 715-836-3259

8. Conservation of Natural Resources Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students


Sponsored by the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts (“KACD”), this scholarship awards $1,000 annually to mature college students interested in agricultural and natural resources careers.

Applicants must have/be:

• Older than 25
• Pursuing an undergraduate degree in agriculture or a related natural resources field

Application essay quality has extremely strong bearing on award decisions.


Conservation of Natural Resources Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students
Division of Conservation
375 Versailles Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-3080
E-mail: Johnna

9. Emerge Scholarships, Inc.

DEADLINE: Varies by program

Emerge advances its mission to support women scholars by sponsoring 70 different scholarships that make annual awards of $2,000 to $5,000.

Applicants must have/be:

• 25 or older as of application date
• Attending or accepted by an educational institution
• Financial need
• Female


Emerge Scholarships, Inc.
3525 Piedmont Road
Bldg. 5, Ste. 300
Atlanta, GA 30305
Phone: (404) 477-5808

10. Ironton Child Welfare Club Scholarship


Awards are available to both full and part-time non-traditional female students at Ohio University Southern (“OUS”).

Applicants must have/be:

• Enrolled at OUS
• Lawrence County residents
• Financial need
• A minimum 2.5 GPA


Ironton Child Welfare Club Scholarship
Ohio University Southern Financial Aid Office
1804 Liberty Ave.
Ironton, Ohio 45638
Phone: (740) 533-4600

11. Margaret B. Hanson Memorial Scholarship

DEADLINE: Contact administrator

This scholarship makes annual awards of varying amounts to liberal arts majors at Union County College in Cranfield, NJ.

Applicants must have/be:

• Enrolled part or full-time at Union County College
• Majoring in liberal arts
• Completed at least 9 credits
• A minimum 3.0 GPA in English coursework
• Plan to pursue a four-year degree
• Demonstrated community activity involvement
• A Union County resident


Margaret B. Hanson Memorial Scholarship
Union County College Foundation
1033 Springfield Ave.
Cranfield, NJ 07016
Phone: (908) 709-7505

12. Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (“JRF”)


JRF awards assists returning female scholars achieve academic advancement with annual awards of $2,500.

Applicants must have/be:

• Female
• Age 35 or older
• Low-income
• U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
• Pursuing vocational or technical training, an associate’s degree, or first-time bachelor’s degree
• Currently attending or accepted by an accredited school


Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund
1 Huntington Road, Suite 701
Athens, GA 30606
Phone: (706) 208-1211

13. Kenelm W. Coons Marine Affairs Scholarship

DEADLINE: Varies, contact sponsor

This scholarship makes annual awards to returning graduate students at the University of Rhode Island in pursuit of Marine Affairs master’s degrees. Amount and number of awards vary. Contact sponsor for specific eligibility criteria.


Kenelm W. Coons Marine Affairs Scholarship
College of the Environment and Life Sciences
Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences
120 Flagg Road
Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: (401) 874-2957

14. Marion P. Callison Non-Traditional Scholarship


Established by named honoree who returned to school as a displaced housewife, this fund makes renewable annual awards of $500 to scholars in similar situations.

Applicants must have/be:

• Financial need
• A minimum 3.0 GPA
• Over age 25
• Currently or previously employed outside or in the home or a parent attending school while working part-time


Marion P. Callison Non-Traditional Scholarship
Department Scholarship Committee Chair
Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality
140 Knoblauch Hall
Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL 61455

Download an application at

15. Modern Woodmen of America Scholarship

DEADLINE: January 1

Sponsor Modern Woodmen randomly selects 10 non-traditional students annually to receive a $1,000 award.

Applicants must have/be:

• A Modern Woodmen member
• Age 25 or older
• Pursuing a certificate or undergraduate degree at an accredited postsecondary school


Modern Woodmen of America Scholarship
1701 1st Avenue
Rock Island, IL 61201
P.O. Box 2005
Rock Island, IL 61204
Phone: (800) 447-9811

16. NJ College Access Challenge Grant (“CACG”)


The U.S. Department of Education sponsors its CACG program to facilitate higher education access by low-income scholars. Awards vary and are based on relative number of state residents who are 15 to 44 years old.

Apply at


NJ College Access Challenge Grant
Karmon Simms-Coates
Phone: (202) 502-7807

17. Non-Traditional Student Leadership Scholarship – University of North Carolina at Wilmington (“UNCW”)

DEADLINE: Varies by program

UNCW administers several scholarships for its non-traditional students that include:

• John and Constance K. Phillips Scholarships – Phillips Scholars receive full-tuition awards to pursue degrees in any major

• Dr. Sankey L. Blaton Scholarship – Awards an outstanding non-traditional Philosophy and Religion major annually

• James J. and Lucy H. Giammaria Scholarship in Business – Awards part-time non-traditional business majors who are employed full-time

• Roger P. Hill Scholarship  – Awards an exemplary non-traditional junior or senior business major


Non-Traditional Student Leadership Scholarship – University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid
Phone: (910) 962-3177

18. William E. Boards, Jr. Minority Scholarship (Nontraditional)

DEADLINE: February 28

Sponsor Battle Creek Community Foundation (“BCCF”) makes non-renewable annual awards of $500 to aid Michigan’s minority scholars who fled parental nests long ago find success by safe landing at higher learning zones.

Applicants must have/be:

• From the Battle Creek, MI area
• Currently or planning to attend a postsecondary school
• Lived independently from parents or out of school for at least five years
• A racial or ethnic minority group member

Candidates who demonstrate a positive change in life direction are preferred.

William E. Boards, Jr. Minority Scholarship (Nontraditional)
Battle Creek Community Foundation
One Riverwalk Centre
34 West Jackson Street
Battle Creek, Michigan 49017
Phone: (269) 962-2181

19. Osher Reentry Scholarship Program

DEADLINE: Contact Financial Aid Office at institution

Instead of awarding individual scholars, sponsor Bernard Osher Foundation (“BOF”) makes grants to administering institutions that select award recipients.

Applicants must have/be:

• Age 25 to 50
• An educational gap of at least five years
• Pursuing a first-time bachelor’s degree
• Anticipate post-graduation employment of a significant length
• Financial need
• Academic promise and committed to earning a degree


Osher Reentry Scholarship Program
Financial Aid Office of institutions listed at

20. Ragsdale-Johnson Scholarship Fund


The Arkansas Community Foundation sponsors this fund to assist outstanding University of Arkansas (“UA”) scholars.

Applicants must have/be:

• Attending UA at Fayetteville or Little Rock
• Majoring in history, languages, math, science, or engineering
• Demonstrate outstanding scholarship or financial need


Ragsdale-Johnson Scholarship Fund
1400 West Markham, Suite 206
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: (501) 372-1116

21. Rodney & Patricia Westveer Scholarship

DEADLINE: Contact administrator

This fund makes annual awards to non-traditional students at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

Preferred applicants are:

• Women over age 30 who have children
• Minority scholars majoring in Education


Rodney & Patricia Westveer Scholarship
Calvin College Financial aid office
3201 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: (616) 526-6134 or (800) 688-0122

22. Sophia Fairchild Academic Scholarship

DEADLINE: Contact administrator

This scholarship makes annual awards of $250 to $750 to graduate students majoring in Applied Gerontology at University of North Texas (“UNT”).

Applicants must have/be:

• Enrolled full-time in UNT’s Department of Applied Gerontology at end of most recent fall semester
• Members of a “recognized and established” religion or
• Wish to change careers after working in prior occupation, including homemaker for at least 10 years


Sophia Fairchild Academic Scholarship
UNT Student Financial Aid and Scholarships
1155 Union Circle #311370
Denton, TX 76203-5017 USA
Phone: (940) 565-2302

23. Walmart Associate Scholarship

DEADLINE: Varies by program

Retail giant Walmart Corporation sponsors this program comprised of several specialized funds to assist ambitious associates achieve academic advancement. Number and amount of annual awards vary by institution type and degree level.

All applicants must have/be:

• U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents
• Full or part-time employees at any Walmart division for at six or more consecutive months prior to application
• A high school senior, high school/home school graduate or a GED
• Graduating high school seniors may not apply until six or fewer months prior to commencing college studies
• Demonstrate financial via relevant documentation

Walmart Associate Scholarship

24. William E. and Phoebe B. Clark Scholarship for the Returning Adult Student

DEADLINE: Contact administrator

This scholarship makes renewable annual awards of $1,500 to Michigan State University (“MSU”) students transition from challenging life circumstances into higher education.

Applicants must have/be:

• Adult beginning or returning MSU students
• Pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree
• In good academic standing as of award date
• Be admitted by or enrolled in an MSU degree program as of award activation date

Applicants reentering MSU due to divorce or spousal death and single parents receive preference.


William E. and Phoebe B. Clark Scholarship for the Returning Adult Student
c/o Women’s Resource Center
Michigan State University
332 Union Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

25. Tennessee HOPE Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students

DEADLINE: Contact sponsor

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation sponsors this fund that makes renewable annual awards to economically disadvantaged non-traditional students from Tennessee.

Applicants must have/be:

• Tennessee residents
• Age 25 or older
• Complete a FAFSA
• Attending an eligible postsecondary school
• An entering freshman who has not attended any postsecondary school for at least two (2) years
• Tax return adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less
• Continuously enrolled in fall and spring semesters
• A minimum 2.75 GPA


Tennessee HOPE Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students
Tennessee Education Lottery System
Phone: (901) 333-4262

If you are a non-trad aspiring college grad with low resources for higher learning, take heart and don’t lose hope. A popular school of thought holds that “non-traditional” scholars perform much better than more typical students. This belief is based on greater focus and stronger dedication of mature learners well-seasoned by real life. Prove this perception true right now. Diligently apply yourself by applying for as many returning student scholarships as possible. What a great way to gain self-confidence, practical skills, and useful knowledge to prepare for a great command performance in the classroom.