Returning to School: Scholarships for Adults
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Many major corporations offer scholarships. For example, The Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Scholarship is administered through the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. 150 scholarships are awarded each year. Microsoft supports a number of annual scholarships for minorities and women seeking degrees in the computer sciences and technical disciplines. Scholarships include money for students with disabilities as well.
Large corporations often use company funds for scholarship programs for their employees and their families, as well as as for the general public. They may be need-based or merit-based, and often target specific career oriented disciplines. To search, simply type the name of the corporation into a search engine and then “scholarships”. For ideas, check out the Fortune 500, a list of the top 500 public corporations of the U.S. as measured by gross revenue.
You might also find scholarships in your talents and interest areas. Do you have a green thumb or play the guitar? Search on “scholarships for people who ____________” (fill in whatever it is you’re interested in). Don’t forget to include a search for any "unique" or "unusual scholarships.”
Start the search for scholarships early; don’t wait until the last minute. This is because every scholarship will have an application period and the application will not be available outside that time period. Some of those application periods will be as early as October or November before the Fall semester for the next school year. I recommend that you start your scholarship search at least a year before when you will be entering school.
Many scholarships applications will ask you to write an essay or a statement. There are many practice essays and practice questions on the Internet. A search on essay questions for scholarships will bring up many samples. If you’re not sure you want to make the commitment to going back to school yet, search for scholarships anyway. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared and gathering information just might help you make your decision! Your goal is to get as many scholarships as you can every year that you are in school- possibly even finance your education debt free. It can be done if you do your research, follow through and pursue the money that’s out there. Happy Hunting!
Jeanne worked in the financial aid office in a major university for several years. This experience made her aware of the problem student loan debt has become for students. Too many have not been advised to diligently search and apply for scholarships.
See also Financial Aid: Adult & Re-entry Students.