Earn Scholarships Between Ages 13 to 55

scholarships May 13, 2021

Mary (not her real name) returned to college after her divorce at age 33 with 2 children. She received charitable assistance to pay her tuition for her freshman and sophomore years. Her desire for self-reliance drove her to find other sources of free money. She took scholarship courses and worked with 2 scholarship coaches for a year. At the end of 12 months, she had earned enough scholarships to pay for tuition, books, and housing for her junior and senior year. She also had $98,000 earned for her graduate program in chemical engineering.

Many students, their parents, or adults wanting to take college classes later in life (non-traditional students) do not recognize the breadth of scholarships available nor the ages they can apply for free money for college. Too many wait until their senior year in high school or cease scholarship searches when the begin college. As a result, tens of thousands of people who could receive scholarships fail to earn the money because they applied to late.

Very few scholarships existed for younger and older students when I first began helping people find and apply for scholarships in the 1980s. Since then, scholarship committees started rewarding younger students and adults returning to school after a long absence. Consequently, we suggest that students begin looking for scholarships at age 13 rather than wait until their senior year. In addition, apply for scholarships at any age you decide you want to return to school. The oldest person we helped received $6,000 at age 62.

In addition, a multitude of technological tools sources to find scholarships blossomed--for good and ill. Sadly, the number of scams, phishing expeditions, and selling information to "marketing partners" also blossomed exponentially. So, beware of offers that don't clearly reward experiences and achievements or seem to easy to apply for. (I recommend you regularly review the article on scams and frauds on FinAid.org.)

Try some of these tools to find scholarships at any age:

  • FinAid Resources for Students Age 13 and Under provides information about, and an excellent list of scholarships available to people 13 years old. You can review the information at https://finaid.org/scholarships/age13/
  • FinAid Aid for Non-Traditional Students shares information on grants, business educational reimbursement and other sources of financial aid for older students. Learn more at https://finaid.org/otheraid/nontraditional/
  • Search Engines Also Profile by Age in the questions they ask to identify scholarships, including scholarships that only high school sophomores or juniors may apply to receive. You can find them on FastWeb.com, Chegg.com, Scholarships.com, and more.
  • Many businesses still provide an educational reimbursement or incentive to help cover the cost of college classes, professional training, certificate programs, and other forms of training. This method remains the number one method for older student to pay for training. We suggest you research this form of financial aid first in general, 2nd through your employee handbook, third through your human resource department, and fourth with your supervisor.

We hope you find the scholarships or other sources of free money for college that best meet your needs, experience, and achievements. Please share your experiences, insights, and suggestions in the comments section below this article.

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