Improve Your Financial Position:

Click here for an easy-to-read summary of great tips to improve your credit and financial position. Part VI of the guide Understanding Loans and Credit At Every Stage of Life


13 Ways Adult Students Can Pay for College:

  1. Maximize your federal aid eligibility by reducing assets and paying down consumer debt.
  2. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st. You don't have to wait until you are admitted to a program to apply! This application also serves as the application for the Workforce Improvement Grant, a scholarship awarded to adult students based on financial need.
  3. Research and apply for scholarships early. Scholarship deadlines can occur as early as six months prior to the semester for which they are intended!
  4. Utilize community programs that offer assistance with childcare, rent, utilities, food, clothing, fuel, prescription medicines, and medical or dental care. This allows you to use money for college that would normally pay for these other items.
  5. Ask about fee waivers. Many colleges will reduce or waive admission application, testing, or other fees for low income students.
  6. Ask about tuition payment plans. Many colleges offer tuition or deferred payment plans.
  7. Accelerate your degree program by taking college level proficiency exams, such as CLEP or DANTES, or departmental exams. Ask about the possibility of receiving credit for paid work experience, professional licensure, certification, military service or other training.
  8. If you are working toward a bachelor's degree, consider taking general education courses at a community college where tuition is generally much lower.
  9. Take advantage of distance learning opportunities in lieu of traditional campus-based classes where possible. Tuition for these classes is often much less.
  10. Reduce the cost of textbooks by borrowing them from someone who has already taken your class or borrowing them from the library. If you must buy them, shop online for the best price or buy used books. At the end of each semester, sell them to other students or online instead of taking them to the bookstore.
  11. Explore tuition assistance programs (TAP) offered to employees of larger corporations.
  12. Take advantage of federal tax benefits, such as the Hope Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit.
  13. Volunteer in your community through the AmeriCorp Program


One of your first steps in the college enrollment process is to contact the Financial Aid Department of the college or university you plan to attend. Inquire about any scholarship opportunities of which they may be aware in the community or in the school.


AARP Women's Scholarship Program - For women 40+ years by the application deadline. Priority is given to those who have not worked for more than five years or are working in low-paying jobs with no career opportunities and no retirement benefits and/or health insurance, or those who are raising the children of another family member.

Adult Students in Scholastic Transition - For residents of Benton or Washington Counties who are nontraditional students at transitional points in their lives.

Arkansas Department of Higher Education - the site of the YOUniversal Arkansas Financial Aid System where students can search and apply for state-funded scholarships.

Association of Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) Scholarships - Scholarship opportunities for ANTSHE members.

Business & Professional Women's Foundation Career Advancement Scholarship - Awards scholarships to disadvantaged women seeking to further their education.

Cappex - Provides tools to help you easily compare colleges and search for scholarships, matched to who you are and wherever you are in the process.

CareerOneStop - U.S. Department of Labor's free scholarship search tool

Community Scholarship Initiative - A 90-page booklet (PDF) detailing more than 130 scholarships geared toward high school seniors, college undergrads and grads.

FastWeb - A free service to assist students in finding scholarships and colleges nationwide.

Federal Student Aid - A website designed to assist students navigate the federal financial aid process, college planning, and loan repayment.

Fund My Future - A clearinghouse of educational and financial aid programs available to individuals who may be interested in serving in critical shortage career fields.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund - Awarded to traditional and non-traditional, full-time Hispanic students. Check the website for complete eligibility criteria.

Jeannette Rankin Foundation - Awards scholarships to low-income women, age 35 and older.

Kaarme.com - Free browseable list of scholarship opportunities categorized by interest area, residence, and more.

Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women - Awarded to women age 25 or older.

Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry Scholarship - Open to mothers who are residents of any state and who are accepted into any accredited junior college, college or graduate school in the U.S. Any program of study is accepted.

Medical Assistants Scholarships - A short list of scholarships for medical assistant training.

Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation - Education Support Awards of up to $3000 each to assist low-income women with children who are pursuing education or training. Awards may be used for direct school expenses or for living expenses while you are enrolled in an educational program.

Parsons-Burnett Grants - An incentive grant for practicing educators for graduate-level study to improve their professional skills.

PEO Projects for Education - Need based grants for women in the United States and Canada whose education has been interrupted and has returned to school to support themselves and/or their families.

R. Preston Woodruff Jr. Scholarship Drawing - Twenty eligible entries will be awarded through a random drawing each year, with one of these to be renewable for four years.

Single Parents Alliance of America - scholarships and other resources for single-parent members.

Scholarship America - scholarships and other resources for single-parent members.

SR Education Group Scholarships - Offers a variety of monthly needs-based scholarship opportunities, such as Single Parent, Community College, Women's, and Military Scholarships. Students can apply to as many scholarships as they like, as often as they like.

The Deana Kendrick Foundation (TDKF) - For women aged 30+ years seeking to improve their lives through continued education and improved healthcare.

Understanding the Federal Student Aid Application - Use this step-by-step guide to file the FAFSA.

Varsity Tutors Monthly Scholarship Contest - A monthly $1,000 essay contest open to any legal U.S. resident aged 16 or older.

Women's Independence Scholarship Program - Helps survivors of domestic abuse obtain an education that will offer secure employment, personal independence and self sufficiency.

Women's Opportunity Awards Program - Designed to give women heads of household, who provide the primary source of financial support for their families, the opportunity to achieve their career goals.

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