Many older women would love to go back to school, but, are held back by the potential cost. Fortunately, it is still possible to find scholarships for women over 50. I hope that these resources help you to make all of your educational dreams come true.

Where Are the Scholarships for Women Over 50?

Older women often look back on their lives with a sense of nostalgia at what could have been. Many have a strong desire to return to school and finish a degree. Others have developed an interest in a subject during their lives and want to dig deeper. But, not surprisingly, money is often an issue when making the decision to go back to school.

The good news is that there are several places to look for scholarships for women over 50. If you have any other suggestions, or have had experience with any of the programs listed in this article, please join the conversation in the comments section below.

American Association of Retired People (AARP)

The AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program provides educational grants for low-income, 50-plus women. They fund education, training, and skills that can lead to employment and financial security.

AARP began a scholarship program in 2007. Every year they award 350 scholarships ranging from $500-$5,000 and winners also receive a year of mentoring from trained professionals.  Applicants must be at least 50 years of age.

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is a leading organization that promotes education for women. Their mission is to break through economic barriers so that all women can get a great education. AAUW provides more than $3.7 million in funding for more than 245 fellowships and grants.

They offer six categories of fellowships. This includes an International Fellowship for full-time study or research in the United States. It is open to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This is a great option for women living in other parts of the world.

Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship Fund

Jeanette Rankin Foundation grants are available to women over the age of 35 who are US Citizens. Applicants must be currently enrolled an accredited school and meet certain income requirements. The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund aims to empower low income women to change their lives through education. It has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 700 women.

The Soroptomist Club

The Soroptomist Club funds the Live Your Dream Award program which helps women who need financial help with their education but not exclusively for women who are older than 55. Soroptimist is an international organization for professional and businesswomen.

Residents of Soroptimist’s member countries and territories can apply. This includes the US, Canada, Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Bolivia, Taiwan Province of China, Brazil, Guam, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile, Philippines, Colombia, Peru, Korea, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Ecuador and Japan.

Newcombe Foundation

The Newcombe Foundation is a US based organization that supports mature women by providing financial assistance to help them get their bachelor’s degree. The foundation partners with universities and colleges in New York City, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, DC area. This may be a great option for women living on the U.S. East Coast.

Literary Grants

If you are a writer, there are several groups to explore. This includes the National League of American Pen Women, A Room of Her Own, Loft Literary Center and Money for Women. A more comprehensive list can be found at the Women’s Art website. Grants for poets, fiction and nonfiction writers and visual artists are also possible through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Humanitarian Grants

If you’re planning to write something educational or work on a humanitarian project, you can check with NEH, the National Endowment for the Humanities. For example, if you want to write about issues facing women over 60, working with a multigenerational workforce or anything that would benefit awareness of a specific social issue, the NEH may have a grant to offer.

Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA)

The EFWA helps women to advance their career as an accountant. The foundation provides scholarships at all education levels and offers specific Women in Transition (WIT) and Women in Need (WIN) Scholarships to women who are the main source of family income.

Society for Women Engineers

The Society for Women Engineers (SWE) helps women to obtain degrees in higher education that lead to engineering degrees. SWE offers the BK Krenzer Memorial Re-entry Scholarship and the Wanda Munn Scholarship for non-traditional women students, including older female students.

Philanthropic Educational Organization

The mission of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) is to promote women to achieve their life and career goals by providing scholarships, loans, awards and grants. They are looking to help women of any age who want to support their family and/or themselves, by returning to school to continue their education which may have been interrupted.

You are never too old to learn something new. Don’t forget that there are lots of free online education options like Coursera that offer certificates of completion. But if you want to earn a formal degree and money is tight, there is financial support to pursue.

Attending college at any age is difficult but going back to school to get a further education will forever change your life and the lives of your adult children and grandchildren. They will be inspired by your tenacity and willpower and you will be proud of yourself.

Have you gone back to school as an older student? Are there any other great scholarships for women over 50 that you are aware of? Please join the conversation.

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