Student Grants

School Grants for Adults

Not all college students are fresh out of high school. Likewise, not all grants are for those students going straight from high school into college. There are many adults returning to college to either finish their schooling or change careers, and there are many grants available specifically for adults going back to school.

Grants are monies given to students that do not need to be repaid upon completion of their studies. Some grants renew every year based on certain criteria, and some grants are simply one-time payments. Typically, grants are provided based on financial need, and some come with provisions that you follow a certain academic path.

While many adults returning to school hold full-time jobs, that does not exclude them from obtaining grant monies to assist them with their college tuition.

The biggest benefit of grants for adult college students is that many of these grants do not require the adult student to carry a full course load. This not only allows the adult student the ability to return to school affordably, but also to do it while balancing work with school, and many times with family.

Federal Educational Grants

Pell is perhaps the largest government grant option available to college students. These monies are granted by the federal government and do not have to be repaid. For the 2010-2011 school year, the value of the federal Pell grant was $5,550. In order to qualify annually for a Pell grant, you must be working toward a degree.

Though Pell can be used for either credit or non-credit courses, you must be making progress toward a degree in order to continue receiving it. For more information on the federal Pell grant program, visit the DOE’s website.

Students requesting federal grant monies are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. The FAFSA forms must be completed annually to continue to receive government grants. Income information is necessary for completing FAFSA forms, so it is helpful to submit your tax forms early and have your most recent tax return documentation available when you complete the forms.

Though the deadline for FAFSA is June 30, submitting the forms in early February may provide you with a quicker response and perhaps more grant monies than those who wait until June 30 to submit their forms. Many non-governmental organizations that provide grants for college students also use the FAFSA forms to determine financial eligibility. FAFSA forms and information can be found here: Fafsa.Gov.


Another grant issued by the federal government is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The student must have a great financial need in order to be approved for an FSEOG, and a FAFSA form must be completed every year in order to continue receiving the grant.

The government also has various minority grants available that are specific to gender, race, nationality, and other protected classes. There are also grants based on the career field, such as education, that are offered to students in exchange for an agreed-upon amount of time in certain localities that have a high need for the type of services the degree field will provide. To find other government grants, visit Students.Gov

State School Grants

There are many states that still support universities and colleges financially, and some states have separate grants for students who choose to continue their education at a state college. Other grants provided on a state level are specific to a career field or to a location within the state.

For instance, some states are in dire need of teachers, so they offer grants and scholarships for individuals majoring in education. The state may also provide further grants if the student agrees to teach in an inner-city setting for a certain period of time. A few states have offered loan forgiveness for teachers who remain in an inner-city public school setting for 5 years or more.

College Grant Providers

Colleges themselves often have grant monies available for students. Some colleges have separate programs for adult students, and corresponding grant programs to assist the students with tuition costs. Whether the college has a separate program for adults or not, the financial aid officers at the college should be able to direct adult students to specific grant and scholarship programs that can assist them.

Employer Grants

Many companies have grant programs or tuition reimbursement programs for their employees who wish to continue their education. However, many times these programs are not widely publicized throughout the company.

Generally, the Human Resources Department of the company will have the information needed for an adult seeking assistance with school through their employer. Employer grant programs typically have an open-application process for not only employees but also the children of employees.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Tuition reimbursement programs typically require the employee to pay the entire tuition bill, and then the student is reimbursed a percentage of those monies based on their grades. Reimbursement can be 50% to 80% of the tuition costs, depending on the company’s program.

Many programs have a sliding scale of how much is reimbursed per class grade. For instance, a student may achieve an A in one course and have the maximum 80% of the tuition for that course reimbursed, but only receive 70% of the tuition for another course where the student earned a B. Some programs reimburse the employee a percentage of the entire semester’s tuition based on their grade point average.

While this is not a 100% tuition reimbursement, it is money that is not necessarily required to be paid back to the employer. Many employers, though, include clauses in their tuition reimbursement agreements that require the employee to maintain employment with the company for a specific duration after attaining their degree or repaying the tuition reimbursement.

Grants in Your Community

Many community organizations offer grants and scholarships to adult students going back to college. The difference between a grant and a scholarship is that a grant is based on financial need and a scholarship is awarded based on judged criteria, though financial need may be one of the criteria.

So, when you apply for a scholarship, you are competing with other applicants for a finite amount of money.

There are scholarships that are open for anyone to apply, but the majority of scholarships are specific. Scholarships can be found based on a variety of qualities, including:

  • Athletic ability
  • Gender
  • Race
  • National origins
  • Marital status
  • Age group
  • Chosen profession
  • Military status
  • Religion

Many colleges have scholarship programs, which are usually discussed in the college’s course catalogue. If the course catalogue does not mention a scholarship program, ask the financial aid officer during your meeting. The college may simply have chosen not to publish the information for the scholarship.

Some employers also have scholarship programs. Though, restrictions may apply, such as a minimum length of employment requirement before receiving scholarship monies. The Human Resources Department would usually have information pertaining to employer scholarship programs.

Professional organizations provide grants and scholarships to adults who wish to earn a degree in that career field. These organizations may specify which type of school the student can attend and how many credit hours the student must be enrolled in order to be eligible to receive the award. These organizations are also good networking avenues after graduation to find a position in the career field.

Elks Lodge

Many social organizations that are active in the community also have grants and scholarships to offer to students. The Protective and Benevolent Order of the Elk (Elks Lodge) has a scholarship program, and you do not need to be a member to apply. Calling your local Knights of Columbus, Moose Lodge, and other similar organizations may prove beneficial for adult students.

Exhaust All Grant Opportunities

Thanks to technological advances, the search for grants for adult college students has been made much easier than in the past. The Internet is a great tool in the search for grant monies for adult students. Using a search engine and keywords, adults can find many more opportunities for grants and scholarships that could apply to their circumstances and life. Plus, many applications for grants are available online.

The registration staff at most colleges are accustomed with the grants available to 18-22 year old students fresh out of high school or undergraduate school. However, grants for adult students returning to school are becoming more common. Unfortunately, adults will need to be creative in their searches to find more than the most common.

Left-handers, psychics, vegetarians, and those who speak Klingon all have special talents or gifts that would provide them more money to attend college. Adult students returning to school will need to do a lot of research, but the hard work and determination could be worth thousands of dollars in grant money.

While there are many programs out there that provide grants and scholarships for adult college students, it is not a guarantee that the adult will receive enough money from all grant sources to cover all of his tuition costs 100%. The option still remains for taking a student loan, perhaps guaranteed or subsidized by the government, in order to finish paying for college. However, the more grants a student applies for, the less money that will need to be borrowed by the student.

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  • Reply Joe May 6, 2011 at 12:39 am

    This post lifts my spirits a bit. I’m desperate and need to do something. I’m almost 40 and can’t find a job because I never specialized in anything profitable. I have a BA in history, but there is no history industry, it just fascinates me. Now, I just have to decide on a profitable course of study, find the right school, and the right grants.

    • Reply K Mac November 17, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      History Teacher?

    • Reply Joey D February 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      You should get your teaching certificate. Teachers in some communities are clearing $100k. Besides, our history is in grave danger of being misconstrued or forgotten altogether.

      • Reply Sherry March 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

        I wouldn’t go into teaching. I am an out of work teacher and I have a lot of company. You may get to a decent salary, but it takes time. Typically in my area, (Elgin, IL.) they will hire fresh college grads and release them after a year to interrupt the tenure process. Yes, we need teachers. But just because the need is there doesn’t mean they are going to hire them. Our class sizes are proof of this.

        • Reply Tony September 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

          The island of Guam (US territory) in the Pacific always looking for teachers…

          • Linda May 4, 2021 at 3:35 pm

            You assume just anyone would want to uproot from their chosen city to live in what’s basically another country, to them.

  • Reply Thomas Dance Jr July 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Please send grant acquisition information in reply, along with supporting email and web site information. Seeking grants related to Capstone and/or research in the social sciences, and/or humanities. Areas of competence are in meta-analysis, qualitative research, and educational issues, including higher education. Thank you.

  • Reply Brian MCAnany July 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I am wanting to get an executive certificate. It is approx $5,000.00 dollars. I work full time and I have a wife with health issues. There isn’t a lot of cash left over. My company has a reimbursement for colleg but not executive certificates. What would you suggest? I’m 54 and would like to add the credential to my resume. I have been in telecom for 27 years but only have a couple of years of college, back in the 70’s. I did get an associates degree in Culinary Arts but that doesn’t help me at all. The university accepted me because of my years in the field, (telecom).

  • Reply DARLENE September 2, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Please send grant acquisition information

  • Reply Israel October 26, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I am seeking grants to obtain my Doctorate in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy. I am an African American male who resides in Princeton, MN. Please send me grant acquisition information

    • Reply kambui February 5, 2012 at 6:50 am

      Isarel I need some assistance. My name is kambui my skills are phelbotomy ekgs dialysis tec I want to be a nurse I have no credits bellkambui@yahoo

  • Reply Shannon Gemmer December 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I am in need of grants for college, I am a single mom of a four almost five year old with special needs. I am currently enrolled full time at school and I am currently seeking employment at this time. I and strugguling to pay the bills and provide for us. I want the chance to make something of myself and a life for my son. If you could email me information on grants that would help me to do this that would be wonderful. I am currently going to school for Organizational Mang. I would like to open my own daycare center that will have teachers whom are educated in the special needs areas. Because this is hard to find where I live. Again, the information would be great. and I thank you

    • Reply Diana December 22, 2011 at 3:24 am

      Shannon, have you tried applying for a Pell grant? You could be awrded up to $5k per school year, and it doesn’t have to be repaid. The daycare centre sounds like a great idea. I hope everything works for you and your son. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Mike January 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I’m a college graduate interested in going back to school, both to continue education and earn another degree. I was placed on financial aid suspension because I have “too many credits”. Is there a way I can still be eligible for a pell grant. It would be very helpful. Thank you

    • Reply blee February 16, 2012 at 2:48 am

      You do not qualify for a Pell grant if you already have a college degree. I’m in the same boat as you. However, I am attending my local community college and I was able to get my tuition waived as it’s granted by the college and I met the low income threshold. I will be finished with my AA degree this semester even though I already have a BA. Most 4-yr colleges or universities in Southern CA won’t admit students who are looking for a 2nd BA but they will take a Master student.

      • Reply Gale June 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        Thanks for the info. I’m also going back to school, change of careers, and I already have a BS degree. Do I inquire with the schools financial aid office?

  • Reply Jim January 5, 2012 at 3:23 am

    I was wondering if thee was anything out there for older people going back to High School?

    I have a friend that is desperately trying to get her High School diploma, Instead of the GED. and is running into problems with financing that..

  • Reply Jason January 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I am 32 years old and recently unemployed. I only have the means for online classes. I have a high school degree and at this point am looking to start online c;asses so I have further education in my resume. Where would be the best place for me to start?

    • Reply Amy January 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Hey Jason, just incase you havent found a good school yet for online classes. IADT is awesome. They totally work with you in times of crisis’ I know from personal experience. Get back with me and Ill give you contact info for my Admit Adivsor. hes great!!!

  • Reply Sarina January 13, 2012 at 12:36 am

    i am a single mother of two i have applied for the pell grant and i get 660 dollars back and that is not going to pay for gas and day care service if anyone knows of any grants i can apply for please let me know asap thanks

  • Reply Sheree January 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I am a 31 year old unemployed African American single mother. Although I receive unemployment insurance benefits, I find that it is still a struggle to provide for myself and my child on limited funds. I recently enrolled in a Pharmacy Tech training program and am in need of grants to assist with tuition cost and the purchase of a computer to effectively complete coursework. Please send any and all grant acquisition, email, and website information that would both assist and benefit my needs; It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Reply Jeannie Robinson November 8, 2012 at 5:46 am

      Check with some of your larger pharmacies ie CVS or Walgreens. I know that if you can get a job at CVS, they will pay for your education as long as you agree to come back and work for them for a pre-decided time. Same goes for hospitals. They pay for nursing school, Physical therapist, OT, and pharmacy with the same stipulation. They don’t ask for you to work at a reduced salary—same salary whether they sent you to school or not.

  • Reply George Alleman January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I am a 49 year old male. Recently terminated after 24 years in the QSR industry as a multi unit manager. I am wanting to go back to school and get a degree in nursing. Funds are of course limited with 3 children still at home. Wife’s income will barely make ends meet. Still paying on Student loans from 20 plus years ago. I am a male, not a minority. Any hope at all?

  • Reply Asare February 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Am Asare. I need &50,000 to continue my education

  • Reply blee February 16, 2012 at 3:13 am

    As I was reading the comments here it struck me that most of the posters are asking this site to give them the “grant acquisition information.” It seems to me that you missed the point of this site. These articles are just information about grants and what may be available to you. YOU have to do the legwork and find them yourselves. This isn’t Grant Central where they’ll send out grant applications. And to ask other posters for grant info won’t be helpful as they don’t know either. If you guys have the time to read and post comments here, you have the means to web surf and look up the stuff yourselves. I’m not trying to be mean but you folks need to start your own searches and be proactive instead of waiting around for the information to fall in your laps.

  • Reply Robert February 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I am considering going to Westwood College online. I am currently on short term disability due to a back injury and it looks like this will go into long term disability after surgery. I’m 48 years old and have been in management since I’ve started working. My income wasn’t bad last year, but this year I will earn barely enough to get by. I have an incredible amount of medical bills from this and having gone through cancer a couple years ago. I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I really want to earn my bachelors degree in business management for when I go back to work. Obviously a loan would put me into poverty. Is there any grants or scholarships out there besides the Pell grant that can help?

  • Reply JEAN March 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm


  • Reply Fakhir March 26, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hey guy’s, i’m fakhir living in Kabul, Afghanistan.
    i’m 23 years old and looking for some online free course’s or degrees, if any one could help me out contact please in my yahoo ( khan.fakhir6 )
    thank you very much for your attention and time.


  • Reply Todd Lewis March 27, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I am 33 years old and I have started the process to begin college classes to eventually obtain my Associates, then Bachelor, and then hopefully my Masters in the IT field. I have gone through FAFSA and applied for the Pell Grant. Even with that and then the Sub and Unsub loans there is still a great deal of out of pocket cost. With two children and everyday cost of living it seems like going back to school isn’t going to happen. If there is a path I am not seeing I would really like the help finding other grants and/or scholarships. I have looked online and it seems that because I am not a minority or a female it isn’t easy to do. Any help would be great. Thank you.

    • Reply Kennu October 9, 2015 at 4:56 am

      Todd did you find the help you need. I’m literally in the same place you were in then….I need your wisdom if you’ve gained any. Please email me

  • Reply Tom Pallone Jr May 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Please send grant acquisition information

  • Reply Chris June 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Hello, Im 28 year old divorced man that just had to move back home to parents house! I need to do something now that my life turned inside out! I know its not going to be easy but i need help going back to school but first i need help figuring out how to afford it. There isn’t much coming up online that is actually what i need, so if you could send me a bunch of links or information that would be great. I have little to no schooling so far. Ill probably be working towards a business degree or ?. Thank you for any kind of help you can provide.

    • Reply Brooke June 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      If you go to your local community college or the school that you have an interest in, and talk to their financial aid office. They are always more than willing to give you guidance. I was struggling to find out how to get started a few years back and this is what I did. It is really hard to find truthful information on the internet and when it comes to school and the government it can be really confusing. The school will have you fill out a online FAFSA application. You can go to the link and fill it out before you even talk to the college that you plan to attend. I hope this helps.

  • Reply Latarsha griffin June 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Hello, I am recently seperated and have been attending Kaplan University for a while now and due to my seperation I couldn’t continue my online classes. I was told i have a balance before i can re-enroll to complete my Bachelors in business. I only have 40 credits to go and I am struggling to support my 15 year old by myself. If you can help me find some financial support so I can provide a better life for us I would really appreciate it.

  • Reply Jakeisha Cameron July 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I just recently finished my associate in Business. And I have a student loan. When I first signed up for school I didn’t have any information on a grant so I had to do what I needed to do to obtain my education. Any information on how to obtain a grant to help pay off my loan would be great.

  • Reply Daniel Perez October 30, 2012 at 6:59 am

    I’m a single father of two wonderfull boys 10 and 15. I’m unemployed but attending college full time I desperatly need financial help I’m about to get evicted by Nov 15 please if anyone could help please contact me 9512102521

  • Reply Jeannie Robinson November 8, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I’ve never seen a grant proposal quite like mine. I’ve been working as a registered nurse for 38 year, and I have relied on epidural shots in my back to help me get by. Recently had heart valve replacement and was put on Coumadin, so no more epidurals. I’ve had to quit work and this house is driving me crazy, I found something that I’d really like to do, but it’s 10,000 for a five week course. It’s a legal nurse consultant and I could actually do all my work at home on my computer and fax my results to the attorney. My husband retired last year and has to go back to working full time as a college professor just for us to pay bills—no way he can help me. I’m 60 yrs ago and probably should retire, but I’ll go crazy. I’ve got to have something to do and this job was made for me.

  • Reply Gerelt-Od May 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I am writing from Mongolia. I want to study intensive english with grant at USA. English is very important my current job and future employment. Please send me more information.

  • Reply Paul June 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I’m hoping there is someone out there that that has some information for me. I am a 52 year old returning to college after the economy killed my business. I am taking courses at a community college in the heath care field and thus far have straight A’s, but don’t know how I am going to continue without some type of grant. I have a BA in biology and have been told by the financial office that I only qualify for student loans, but I am already in debt and do not want to go that route. There has to be something available to adults in need in order to retrain for a new start. If anyone knows of any grant programs for returning adults or people entering the health care field I would appreciate the information.

  • Reply Robin July 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Hi I am 49 years old and I injured my arm at work and I am fighting for workers comp. benefits I am going to be limited on what I can do. So I am taking action and not counting on what I may or may not get. So I am going back to school for my engineering technology degree. I know about the pell grant, but if there are any others out there that could help? I would love to know.

  • Reply Michael September 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I am 52 years old and the father of five children. Three are now on their own and I have two high school students at home. Here is the kicker. FAFSA says we make to much to qualify for Pell Grant (I work at a regular job now, but sold real estate and acquired debt to pay bills). It seems difficult to find any money for school besides student loans. I am trying to pay off debt, not incur more. I have about 90 hours and a 3.66 GPA. Anyone know (besides FastWeb, Cappex) were I might could find funds for school? Thanks.

    • Reply C Mosley September 16, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Go to nursing school… you can get your school paid for if you agree to work for a certain period of time in an area of need… either for a specific employer, in a need based area, or a certain specialty. They pay you a salary as normal but also pay your tuition off as long as you agree to work for that contract period. Usually two years. Worth checking into.

  • Reply Erica August 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I am 33 years old and interested in finishing my college education but I would like to do it online so that I can continue to work. Does anyone know of places where I can get scholarships that will covers an online education?

  • Reply Julie February 10, 2015 at 2:43 am

    I am a widowed, single mom unemployed and returned to school and there are no jobs in my area due to my age, I will assume because i worked as a paralegal for 20 years and can’t get a job. I am in school currently and really need to know where to obtain grants to help me finish my last 1.5 years of school without stressing so much on daily living. If any one knows any grants available please message me. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Carrie February 26, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    My husband would like to go back to school. He was taking ECE but didn’t finish it. He is already in his 50’s. We are just waiting for our green card to be approved this year (we came from the Philippines). Are there any grants out there are will cater to his need? Can you also give me instructions on how to apply? Thank you so much.

  • Reply Robert Filancia March 4, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I’m 52 y/o divorced male making less than 50K. I have two kids that will be going to college in 5yrs and cannot add any debt as i barley get by as it is. I would like to find grant programs to assist me in getting through school. I am enrolled and receive a pell grant but i have a student loan amount of $600 per class with 20 classes to take. I cannot continue without other grant money. Where do i look?

  • Reply Matthew Louis April 2, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    I am 24 years old and i am looking for funds to continue my college education.I am perusing a Bachelors in Music Performance, Jazz studies, and possibly a Broadcasting degree. This past year i have used all available grants and scholarships provided by my school, are there any additional applications for young adults? i understand there are scholarships and grants for African Americans and Left handed people which i am both, yet i have been unsuccessful in finding additional funding. Any and all assistance will be greatly appreciated.

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