It seems that more women than ever are going back to school to further their education. Since tuition, books, and transportation costs have risen dramatically, you have cause to wonder just how they manage it. Do they have money growing on trees in their backyards? Are they all lottery winners? Did they discover oil bubbling up in their pastures? If not, where do they get the great sums of money needed to finance a college degree?
The answer is surprisingly simple. These wise women have discovered the hundreds of scholarships and grants available and have taken the time to fill out the application forms for as many as possible. These sources of financial help are not a secret, but it does take some online research, community networking, and a visit or two to the college financial aid office to find them. The following list is a good place to begin your treasure hunt:
• AARP Foundation’s Women’s Scholarship Program: This scholarship is awarded to low-income women, or those who have been unemployed for more than one year, over the age of 50. It is intended to help women who want to attend an accredited college or technical program to obtain a degree or technical certification.
• National Federation of Republican Women: This organization annually offers three scholarships of $1,000 to women who have completed at least two years of college work and wish to go on to get a degree in economics, government, or political science. An essay detailing the woman’s career goals is required in addition to the application.
• World Studio AIGA Scholarships: Women interested in the arts should explore these scholarships for up to $6,000 to enter the fields of photography, graphic arts, furniture design, painting, or other associated fields.
• Community Action Agency Scholarships: The local chapters of this organization offer several smaller scholarships for women to get job training at a two year or four year college or a vocational training school. Those interested should contact their nearest Community Action Agencies for more information.
• Philanthropic Educational Organization Scholarships: This organization comprised of approximately 250,000 women has five different programs that will help women further their education or career training. These include the P.E.O International Peace and Star Scholarships, the P.E.O Scholar Award, the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education, and the P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund.
• Local Civitan, Soroptomist, Garden Clubs, and Art Guilds: These hometown organizations may also offer small scholarships, and the local library or town hall is often a good place to look for flyers with announcements of this type.
The best places to begin searching for college funding is online or at a local college financial aid office, but it never hurts to ask friends, relatives and fellow students about opportunities that they were able to find to finance their education. Before beginning the search, it is also a great idea to get all of the necessary transcripts, resumes, and financial and tax records in order so that filling out each application is a simple process.
About the Author
Jennifer Lewis writes for a website that has more details on women’s scholarships and grants, including scholarships for older women. She believes it’s worth taking the time to research and apply for as many sources of funding as possible.