In the last several years, there has been a great deal made about the economic disparities between men and women in the workforce. Whether they are pursuing their first degree or returning to school for an advanced degree many women opt to continue their education as a way to overcome this inequity. Unfortunately, due to the disparity, older women usually have less money available later in life to use to pursue that degree. Seeking out scholarships is one way to help fund that dream and make a better life.
Whether they’ve waited to pursue a degree until after raising a family or trying to get ahead in their career, many older women face a funding obstacle when going to college. In an effort to improve the economic situation of women, several organizations now offer scholarships.
*Talbot’s Women’s Scholarships – Offering a total of 55 scholarships, this organization seeks to help women who completed high school but haven’t been to college yet. To be eligible, applicants must be at least 10 years removed from high school. Fifty of the awards are for $1,000, while the other five are for $10,000 each.
*AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program – Women over the age of 40 are eligible for a scholarship through this foundation. Applicants typically come from diverse backgrounds. In 2010, the program awarded 125 scholarships across the country totaling $450,000.
*Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund – This scholarship is available to women 35 and older who are in a low-income bracket. Applicants must be seeking an associate’s degree, a first bachelor’s degree or technical or vocational education. Awards are based on the prospective student’s goals, plans, financial need and challenges they have faced.
*AAUW Career Development Grants – The American Association of University Women offers financial aid to women that already own a bachelor’s degree but are looking to advance or change their career, or re-enter the workforce. The one-time awards start at $2,000 and go up to $12,000. Women of color and those pursuing their first advanced degree in a non-traditional field are given special consideration for these grants for women.
*Business and Professional Women’s Foundation – Though applicants need only be at least 25, the average recipient is 37, has two children and may be the first in her family to earn a college degree.
*Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation – Though it does not award scholarships directly to individuals, the foundation does work with institutions of higher learning to provide financial aid to mature women. The average award is a little more than $2,000.
Earning a degree can help a woman narrow the economic disparity that exists compared to men. Going to college is expensive and older women typically have less money available later in life because of that very disparity. Scholarships can help make the dream of continuing education a reality and the climb up the career ladder a little easier.