If you are intrigued in pursuing your education to a higher institution but are currently constrained by costs, there are a number of grants that you can use to finance your further education. One scheme that you can take advantage of is scholarships for nontraditional students. To find out what this program is like and how to apply for it, see a more complete explanation below.
1. What are scholarships for nontraditional students?
Nontraditional scholarships are meant for people who want to attend college. But after being in the labor force, adults could be going to school. Often such scholarships help pay for college at a time when other expenses are plentiful. Unlike a loan, a nontraditional scholarship is free money.
2. What is considered a nontraditional student?
Nontraditional students are described by the National Center for Education Statistics as meeting one of the seven characteristics:
- Attends college part-time;
- Delayed enrollment into postsecondary education;
- Does not have a high school diploma;
- Has dependents other than a spouse;
- Is a single parent;
- Is financially independent for financial aid purposes; or
- Works full time.
Such requirements suit a wide variety of college students of today.
Of course there are a significant number of adult students within the non-traditional age group; a category also described as those 25 or older. More than 47 per cent of students actually studying in colleges and universities in the United States are older than 25, according to Stamats. The cohort is well recognized among public universities. Slightly over 1 million of the students studying in AASCU Institutions were 25 or older in the fall of 2008. Nontraditional is now known as the new traditional.
3. How old is a nontraditional student?
Non-traditional students are typically 24 and older according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Most students who attend college at this age, as somewhat older young adults, have work experience or family circumstances that may often make it impossible to attend college full time.
4. How do nontraditional students pay for college?
- Apply for scholarship and grants
Scholarships are not exclusively for pupils at the high school. Specifically there are thousands of grants for adult learners and you can look into them.
There are grants, in addition to scholarships. Grants are most often awarded by the government and are funds that you can use to pay off for education. Don’t say you won’t apply by first scrutinizing. You will see whether you are eligible for grants by filling out the FAFSA online or by consulting with the financial assistance representative at your workplace.
Below are some of the grants awarded for nontraditional students to go back to school:
- Federal Pell Grant – This is the federal government’s most common choice of grant award. For the academic year 2016-2017 the full compensation is $5,815. The amount you are compensated depends on your financial requirement, education expenses and whether you are a part-time or full-time student.
- FSEOG – Awarded to financial need applicants who have applied for the Pell Grant that have not earned a bachelor’s degree. With this award you will receive $100-$4,000 per year.
- TEACH Grant – The grant is meant for students who want to become teachers and who are willing to sign a contract for a defined amount of time to serve in places of high need. With this award you will receive up to $4,000 a year.
There are also a number of state based grants (check for them here) including:
- Financial Needs Based
- Merits Based
- High Need Fields of Study
- Students with Disabilities
- Exchange work experience for college credits
Since the average college-age student is an adult, several colleges have started to encourage adult learners to ‘cash-in’ their jobs as experience in return for college credit. Although the number of credits you will get will be limited, you can most likely see if there are places you can cash in on your existing experience.
- Take advantage of a 529 plan
A 529 plan is a savings or investment account specifically meant for college savings. As an adult you can open a 529 for yourself.
Some of the main reasons for opening a 529 is profiting from the tax cuts. A 529 operates just like a Roth IRA. Federal income taxes won’t extend on your 529 earnings. Similarly several states (34) are providing extra tax breaks.
Every state will set its own restrictions on how much a 529 program can put away annually. Additionally, if you have family members who wish to help you pay for your education they will donate up to $14,000 a year while minimizing the effects of the gift-tax.
- Check for employer benefits
If you are working and the degree you choose will advance your career or help your boss, you can try to see whether your company can pay any of the tuition costs until you take on some form of college debt search to see if your company is providing tuition support.
5. How many college students are nontraditional?
Those over 25 or people with children enroll in college courses — so many that almost 74 per cent of American undergraduate students are “nontraditional.” They are motivated by a recession that disproportionately hits less-educated workers, along with the fear that emerging technologies could leave them without a career.
6. Can nontraditional students get scholarships?
Yes, they can.
Through example, when entering an institution of higher learning, nontraditional students are typically over 24 years old. As such, several distance learning scholarships now include terminology which includes adults, such as:
- “Applicants must be between the ages of 25 – 50”
- “… for adults looking to return to college to improve their career opportunities”
- “… for returning students whose college education has been interrupted for a minimum of five years”
- “Open to adult students who are returning to complete an interrupted education.”
Nevertheless, for nontraditional students, age and length of one’s learning absence are not the only qualifying considerations. Many non-traditional scholarships are aimed at single parents as well as active military personnel, who face highly specific obstacles while at the same time earning a degree for higher education.
7. Can part-time student get financial aid?
Yes. Although certain state and school-sponsored grants allow full-time attendance, federal student loans need only half-time registration for the students. That usually works out to six hours of credit, or two courses. Partial enrollment is also the only way to get the students out. Nontraditional students are encourage to start small, and to be practical about what they can achieve.
8. Does the school help with day care?
Several schools have daycare facilities on-site for students to use. For example, Erie Community College in New York just won a federal grant of $364,000 for their child care center. The award is part of the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program of the Department of Education, which funds day care for low-income students at the campus. This year 58 schools in 28 states received grants through the program, including large institutions such as University of Alabama and Penn State University.
9. Can you get into college with a GED?
Absolutely. With a GED, you are still eligible for federal financial aid such as grants and loans so you will qualify for a lot of scholarships. You may also be considered for scholarships from the colleges to which you apply. If you apply to a degree, take a brief look at their section on financial aid.