Going back to school after 40, whether it is to get your bachelor’s or some form of a graduate degree, is a tremendous and admirable feat. Unfortunately, many women decide not to finish their degrees because of family, jobs, obligations, and above all cost. However, although scholarships for women over 40 may be a little harder ti find, they definitely exist.
The cost of college tuition has increased dramatically with stratospheric costs in private institutions and state education departments needing to raise tuition. In 2011 the average cost for four years at a private institution is 119,400, public institutions are around 33,300 for four years, and 2 year community colleges are slightly less expensive.
California State University College Tuition in the Near Future
These numbers represent a dramatic increase in college tuition from the previous year, ranging from a 4 percent increase for private schools to an almost 8 percent increase for public institutions. The 10 year average for rate of increase is set at about 6 percent, putting the increase of college tuition at a higher rate than current inflation. The average rate of increase for college tuition is also substantially higher than the average increase of personal income over a period of time.
The Financial Aid Option
Financial aid is always an option no matter how old you are. Generally speaking, financial aid in the form of loans is much easier to get than a scholarship. Financial aid loans for women over 40 are easier to find than scholarships, however you will be left with a significant amount of debt and constantly increasing interest payments.
Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require that you repay the money. Furthermore, if there is money left over you can use it as an extra financial cushion, something that everyone women over the age of 40 can appreciate.
Scholarships for women over 40 generally yield rewards that range from $1000 to $10,000 per year to go to school. Of course, there are also several csulb scholarships for women over 40 that yield even higher rewards.
Specific Scholarships for Women Over 40
Local University – The first place you should look for scholarships for women over 40 is at your local university. More often than not, women over 40 cannot leave the home due to families, jobs, and obligations, so checking out your nearest college would be your best bet. This also significantly lowers the cost of your education because you do not need to pay room and board.
If that doesn’t work there are still a variety of csulb scholarships and grants for women over 40 available through several organizations.
The American Association of University Women – The American Association of University Women, dubbed AAUW, is a nation wide network of more than 1,000 branches, 1,000 members and donors, and 500 college and university institution partners.
The AAUW has been around for about 130 years and has made strives in education, society, the economy, and politics for the equality of women. They also have a long standing history of advancing education opportunities for women in the United States and around the world. In fact, the AAUW is one of the largest sources of funding for women seeking to go to college, providing more than $3.6 million in 20011 for funding via scholarships and grants for women of all ages. Furthermore, thanks to the growing number of donors more and more women are able to go to college each year.
Below is a list of the different scholarships and grants offered by the AAUW. Many of these are the perfect scholarships for women over 40 because they will cover post-graduate degrees, career changes, and even provide dependent care.
American Fellowship – The AAUW’s American Fellowship is the oldest and largest of the organizations fellowship and grant programs. This particular fellowship strives to help women of all ages in seeking a post grad doctoral degree by completing dissertations, postdoctoral research, or finishing research for a publication. This particular scholarship can yield rewards of up to $1 ,277,000.
Career Development Grant – The AAUW’s Career Development Grant is designed for women who already have a bachelor’s and are thinking of taking their next career leap. Special consideration is given to women seeking post-graduate degrees and women of color. The funds are available for tuition, fees, books, and dependent care. The total awards represented by this scholarship are upwards of $500,000. If you are over 40 this is one scholarship you don’t want to miss out on.
Selected Professions Fellows – The AAUW’s Selected Professions Fellows is a unique scholarship because it allows for women to seek graduate or first-professional degrees in fields where women have been not been represented in the past. Furthermore, this scholarship strives to help women who are seeking careers in fields where the unemployment outlook and potential earnings are particularly strong. The total awards represented by this scholarship are $350,000.
All scholarships and grants from the American Association of University Women require that you be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
Grants.gov – Grants.gov is the number one source for grants in the nation. Similar to scholarships, grants allow people to go to school at a lesser cost. Simply search the website for grants and scholarships for women over 40 and a myriad of options are listed.
Requirements to Get Scholarship Approval
Should you find a scholarships that awards extra points for being over 40, your application and proposal must meet the requirements set forth by the organization or institution funding the scholarship.
Warnings to Consider
Unfortunately, since we find ourselves in tough financial times there will be people trying to take advantage of you. Keep an eye out for scammers trying to get your money. If the scholarship or grant does not come from a trusted institution do not apply.