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Last updated on July 22, 2024

Best Scholarships for Returning Students to Apply for in 2024

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princeton universityvanderbilt universityuniversity of michiganberkeley university of californiageorgetown universitysyracuse university
15 SCHOLARSHIPS
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  1. AB Foundation Scholarship

    Funded by
    AB Scholarship Foundation
    This scholarship will support college bound students who were pregnant during their high school years or children of teen mothers.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education level : High school senior & undergraduates
    • Background: Teen mom and/or child of a teen mom
    Amount:$10,220
    Deadline:Oct 01, 2024
    One Click Apply
    1
  2. John Young 'Pursue Your Passion' Scholarship

    Funded by
    Honor Society Foundation
    Through the generosity of the Cochener Family, this scholarship aims to honor the life of John Young by supporting students who share his ambition.
    All students are eligible
    Amount:$5,000
    Deadline is Approaching! 7 days left
    One Click Apply
    2
  3. Brattican Scholarship

    Funded by
    Brattican
    This scholarship aims to support students who are passionate about the trades so they can pursue their dreams and finance their education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Trade school student
    Amount:$500
    Deadline is Approaching! 22 days left
    One Click Apply
    3
  4. Joy Of Life Inspire’s AAA Scholarship

    Funded by
    Tiffaney Mitchell
    This scholarship seeks to support students who have experienced difficulties in life and persevered in order to pursue their goals.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior or undergraduate student
    • Background: Has gone through a personal hardship and overcome it
    Amount:$500
    Deadline is Approaching! 28 days left
    One Click Apply
    4
  5. Robert Lawyer Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Lawyer Family
    This scholarship aims to support non-traditional students who are forging a new path forward for their families in higher education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school, undergraduate, trade school, or graduate student
    • Background: First-generation college student
    • Identity: Non-traditional college student
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:Aug 31, 2024
    One Click Apply
    5
  6. Cariloop’s Caregiver Scholarship

    Funded by
    Cariloop
    This scholarship seeks to support student caregivers so they can afford to pursue their dreams of higher education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Background: Current student who is or was the main caregiver in their family and/or community
    • Background: Low Income
    Amount:$5,000
    Deadline:Sep 01, 2024
    One Click Apply
    6
  7. “Equal Opportunity” Scholarship

    Funded by
    Calvin Rosser
    This scholarship exists to support two students who want to improve their life and the lives of the people around them.
    All students are eligible
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Sep 30, 2024
    One Click Apply
    7
  8. Linda McCoy-Aitkens Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Dwight Aitkens
    This scholarship aims to honor the life of Linda McCoy-Aitkens by supporting students who need assistance pursuing their education in order to make a difference in the world.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school or undergraduate student
    • Field of Study: Human rights, social justice, or social work
    • Background: Socioeconomically underserved
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Sep 30, 2024
    One Click Apply
    8
  9. Margaret J. Davis Scholarship

    Funded by
    Dana Mitchell
    This scholarship seeks to support single moms who are pursuing their dreams of higher education in order to make the journey less difficult.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate student
    • Race: African American
    • Identity: Single mother
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Oct 01, 2024
    One Click Apply
    9
  10. MISS Award

    Funded by
    Monique Osborne
    This scholarship seeks to support mothers who are pursuing their degrees so they can overcome the obstacles they face and successfully balance their academic goals with their parenting responsibilities.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate or graduate student
    • Identity: Mother
    • Background: Non-traditional student
    • Ethnicity: Black/African-American
    Amount:$1,500
    Deadline:Oct 16, 2024
    One Click Apply
    10
  11. Vickie Drum Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    David Cline
    In honor of Vickie Drum, this scholarship will support North Carolina female students with a child in their pursuit of higher education

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • State: NC
    • Background: Female student with a child
    • GPA: 3.0+
    • Education Level: Undergraduate
    Amount:$2,000
    Deadline:Dec 01, 2024
    One Click Apply
    11
  12. RonranGlee Literary Scholarship

    Funded by
    Ronne Gleason
    This scholarship aims to support students who are pursuing higher education and making the most of their time through close reading.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior or two or four-year undergraduate student
    Amount:$10,000
    Deadline:Dec 17, 2024
    One Click Apply
    12
  13. Redefining Victory Scholarship

    Funded by
    Chris & Mary Carnduff
    By embracing diverse avenues for personal growth, anyone can conquer the challenges of life and attain the pinnacle of success.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Any
    Amount:$20,000
    Deadline:Apr 01, 2025
    One Click Apply
    13
  14. Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care

    Funded by
    Lance Lawson
    This scholarship seeks to support high school and undergraduate students who intend to spend their careers helping other people.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior or undergraduate student
    • Financial Status: Low-income
    • Field of Interest: Healthcare, social work, government, education or a related field
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:Apr 15, 2025
    One Click Apply
    14
  15. Big Picture Scholarship

    Funded by
    Cynthia Ho
    The Big Picture Scholarship will support students driven to pursue higher education with a quest to expand their knowledge.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education level: High School Junior or Senior
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Apr 30, 2025
    One Click Apply
    15
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Returning to school can be a daunting prospect, especially if it has been many years since you attained your high school diploma or began your college degree. Balancing work, family, and other responsibilities makes the decision to pursue higher education an even more significant commitment for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Scholarships specifically tailored for returning students can alleviate the financial burden and provide the necessary support to make this journey more achievable. As more and more students are returning to pursue higher education, scholarships for returning students, including scholarships specifically designed for adult students, have become increasingly important. Scholarships not only help cover the expenses of an undergraduate or graduate degree but also provide recognition and encouragement for returning students.

In this guide, we will explore various scholarships available to returning students and eligibility criteria, how to apply, and tips to increase your chances of winning. So, whether you're a working professional looking to change careers or a parent wanting to further your education by pursuing a graduate degree, this guide will be your one-stop resource in your scholarship search for finding the top scholarships for returning students.

At Bold.org, we're dedicated to assisting students in achieving a debt-free education. Discover how you can apply for scholarships tailored for returning students today!

Here at Bold.org, we are dedicated to helping students eliminate student debt. Create a free Bold.org profile so you can start applying for scholarships for returning students today!

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What Is a Returning Student?

A returning student refers to an individual who is resuming their education after a break. This break can be for various reasons, such as personal circumstances, work commitments, military service, or simply taking time off after high school before starting college.

Returning students might be adults who are starting college for the first time, those who are coming back to complete an unfinished degree, or individuals seeking additional degrees or certifications later in life. These students often have different needs and responsibilities compared to traditional students, such as balancing education with work or family commitments.

Whether you wish to transfer from a community college to a four-year accredited college, go back to school after time away, or attend college for the first time as an adult college student, these scholarships will ease your financial need along your nontraditional student path.

Best Scholarships for Returning Students

These scholarship opportunities for returning students will help alleviate the financial pressures of returning to school. Remember to check the deadline for each scholarship before applying since some have varying deadlines:

Adult Scholarships

Scholarships for Non-traditional Students

First-Generation Student Scholarships

Need-Based Scholarships

Undergraduate Scholarships

Scholarships for College Students

Scholarships for Graduate Students

Master's Degree Scholarships

PhD Scholarships

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Scholarships for Parents

If you are already providing primary financial support for children or other family members, it can be daunting to return to school as an adult student, given the financial commitment of a bachelor's degree or graduate degree. Education-related expenses can quickly add up, and you may be hesitant to take out student loans when going back to school. These scholarships for parents have no age limit or age restrictions and are perfect for adults returning to school with families to support.

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Scholarships for Veterans, Military Personnel, & Their Families

Veterans' scholarships support those who have served in the armed forces and are pursuing higher education as college students. These scholarships honor the dedication of veterans and support their career advancement by enabling them to attend college or go back to school to finish a degree while reducing the need for a student loan:

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Scholarships for Graduate Students

Graduate school scholarships ease the financial burden of attaining a master's degree, which can be especially helpful for those who took out a student loan to attain their bachelor's degree. A graduate student faces unique financial challenges when returning to school.

Not all graduate degrees ensure outcomes of higher salaries, and you may hesitate to take out a student loan as a returning student or late into your career. While some scholarships are limited to high school seniors, many scholarships graduate students have no grade or age limit on who can apply. These grants and scholarships for graduate students offer a means to reduce the financial burden of going back to school:

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Scholarships by Career for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Another way to find scholarships beyond those open to high school seniors is to research scholarships specifically for your desired career. This type of scholarship is especially helpful for students looking to change careers. Many of these awards are open to learners of any age, but some are specifically tailored to those looking to transition into a new career or gain new skills at a vocational school.

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Types of Scholarships Available for an Undergraduate or Graduate Degree

Returning students can apply for a wide range of scholarships, including adult scholarships. Here are some common types:

  1. Merit-Based Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, leadership qualities, or other noteworthy accomplishments.
  2. Need-Based Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need based on their income, expenses, and assets.
  3. Program-Specific Scholarships: Many universities and colleges offer scholarships specifically for adult learners in certain programs or fields of study.
  4. Professional Association Scholarships: Various professional associations offer scholarships to individuals pursuing education in their respective fields.
  5. Community Scholarships: Local organizations, foundations, and businesses often provide scholarships to support learners in their communities.

There are many more types of scholarships available beyond this shortlist. Using Bold.org, you can hone your scholarship research to those most relevant to your goals and background by searching for scholarships by major or by state, age, and demographic information. Remember, taking out a student loan is a significant commitment, so it is essential to research and apply to a plethora of scholarships rather than relying upon financial aid, federal grants, or a student loan.

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How to Apply for Scholarships

Preparing Your Scholarship Application

When preparing your scholarship application, it's crucial to pay attention to detail and follow the instructions provided. Here are some essential tips:

  • Start Early: Give yourself ample time to gather the required documents, write essays, and meet deadlines. Procrastination can significantly diminish your chances of receiving a scholarship.
  • Read and Understand: Carefully read the scholarship requirements, essay prompts, and guidelines to ensure you provide the information that scholarship committees are looking for.
  • Highlight Relevance: Tailor your application to showcase how your educational goals, experiences, and accomplishments align with the scholarship's mission or focus area.
  • Get Feedback: Have someone proofread your essays and review your application before submission. Fresh eyes can help catch any errors or improve the clarity of your message.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships for Returning Students

Writing an Effective Scholarship Essay

Your scholarship essay is an opportunity to stand out from the competition and leave a lasting impression on the scholarship committee. Craft a compelling narrative that reflects your unique qualities and aspirations. It is important to research and understand the specific scholarship program you are applying for. Familiarize yourself with the organization's values, goals, and objectives. This knowledge will enable you to tailor your application to align with the scholarship's mission, increasing your chances of being selected as a recipient.

When writing your scholarship essay, consider incorporating specific examples and anecdotes that illustrate your experiences and achievements. This will help bring your essay to life and make it more memorable for the scholarship committee. Remember, they read numerous applications, so it's essential to make yours stand out.

Here at Bold.org, we are committed to helping students eliminate student debt. Check out our Scholarship Blog for more information and learn how to apply for scholarships today!

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Additional Resources for Undergraduate or Graduate Degrees

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides grants to students with exceptional financial need who are pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree at a community college, a four-year college, or a university. The only requirement to apply for this program is to fill out the FAFSA form applying for federal financial aid.

Qualification for Pell Grants and the specific award amount depends on your demonstrated financial need, which is determined based on your federal financial aid application. Oftentimes, Pell Grants are awarded annually, though the award amounts could change if your financial situation changes. A Pell Grant is not a student loan and does not require repayment.


Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program supports undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The FSEOG program is administered by the financial aid office at participating schools, and not all schools participate, so check with your school's financial aid office to determine if this grant is offered. Like a Pell Grant, qualification for this program is determined by your FAFSA form.

Career-Specific Opportunities

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant program provides federal grant funds to students who are enrolled in a TEACH grant-eligible program of study and agree to teach full-time for at least four years in a high-need field at a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency. Recipients of this grant must complete TEACH grant initial and subsequent counseling in addition to an agreement to serve or repay, not unlike a student loan.

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