Grants for Women Going Back to School (2024)

Any woman who is determined to go back to school and needs financial aid to do so can find funding to help with her education. There are a number of grants, scholarships and loans available to women today. Though many are small in amount it’s possible to get more than one grant or scholarship for the woman who puts the effort into finding grants and scholarships and the work into applying for them.

How do women find grants and scholarships?

There are many paths to finding the money to attend post-secondary school.

Grants for Women Going Back to School (1) Before following those paths, first apply for a Federal Pell Grant, which will be granted for any degree program as well as for certain vocational courses such as nursing. Pell grants are given to any prospective or ongoing student who has the financial need and meets the program requirements. Approximately 5,400 institutes of higher learning have been approved for Pell Grant funding.

The amount awarded depends on financial need, the tuition costs of the school chosen, status as a full-time or part-time student, and how long the student plans to attend school. Pell grants are by far the easiest to obtain since they’re issued by the Federal Government and based solely on need as long as other basic requirements are met. Students can apply for Pell Grants online which ensures the fastest response time to an application.

The two things most important in applying for Pell Grants are to pay attention to the filing deadline for the school’s semester or term and to fill out the application completely.

The reason students should apply for Pell Grants first is because the Pell Grant application process uses the FAFSA system, which also is the application process for many other Federal programs for educational funding, whether they are needs based programs or merit based programs. Applying for Pell Grants gets student information into the system.

Students with exceptional financial need should also apply for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program which is also administered through the FAFSA system. There are many other grant and scholarship programs tied together through FAFSA.

Students should also apply at the State level for any grant money available through State programs.

Union Members

If one or both parents are union members there are often grant or scholarship funds available to student children or spouses of union members. Check with the specific union’s local branch to see what programs are available.

Military Families and Veterans

Military families that have financial aid needs should check the Department of Defense website which links to many of the organizations which offer financial aid to students from military families. Student children and student spouses of members of the Armed Services may also qualify for Fisher House Foundation Education Scholarships for Military family members.

Veterans have educational benefits available through the GI Bill Some veterans may be eligible to transfer GI Bill benefits to a spouse or dependent children so any student with a parent who is a veteran should check eligibility for this type of transfer if their parent doesn’t plan to use their GI Bill benefits.

General Information

When researching programs it is always wise for the student to work with a financial aid counselor at the student’s chosen school since there are often programs available specifically for students of that school that have been set up by the alumni associations or individual alumni.

Often there are local companies and corporations that offer grant money through the local colleges for programs in which they have employment needs. These school specific grants and scholarships are often easier to obtain since there is less competition for them than for the state or national programs.

Other paths to educational funding depend on the type of program the student wishes to pursue, the age of the student, the student’s racial profile, whether the student is a single mother or divorced, and a host of other factors.

Grants and Scholarships Specifically for Women

  • The American Association of University Women offers scholarships through their state and local branch offices. Amounts and criteria vary by region. They also offer a portal to many other grant and scholarship resources from both non-profit and corporate sources as well as links to demographic-specific scholarship resource lists.
  • The Philanthropic Educational Organization offers both needs based and merit based scholarships, grants and loans to women. Some are for who wish to continue their interrupted education, others are for women who are just finishing high school. Programs are administered through local chapters, and the amounts and criteria vary by region and by program.
  • The Talbot Scholarship Foundation offers scholarships to women in the US or Canada who are returning to school to complete at least two semesters for an undergraduate degree. Talbot’s Charitable Foundation also awards smaller scholarships in communities in which Talbots maintains a corporate presence. These are given out through the applicable local high schools.
  • The Emerge Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to women who have had their education interrupted or who have overcome obstacles and wish to return to finish school. These are merit based awards given to women who have given back to their communities.
  • The AARP Foundation offers scholarships to women age 50 or older who are pursuing either a technical or vocational education, an associates degree or their first bachelor’s degree. Priority is given to women who have faced challenges such as raising the children of another family member, working in a low paying job with no significant benefits, or who have been out of work for five years or more. Needs and merit are both considered in awarding these scholarships.
  • The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to low income women aged 35 and older who are pursuing a degree or vocational training.

Vocation Specific Grants and Scholarships


Any prospective student who wishes to enroll in a nursing program should first check with the local hospitals to see if there are any educational funding opportunities and which school’s nursing programs they will fund.

Often in areas where there is a nursing shortage the local hospitals will offer grant or scholarship funds in exchange for a commitment from the student to work for that hospital for a set number of years after graduating from the nursing program and obtaining certification. In some cases the funding will equal as much as 100% of the nursing program’s tuition.

Students who expect no family contribution to their nursing program education, and who exhibit sufficient financial need may qualify for the nursing scholarship program administered by the US Health Resources and Services Administration.

Upon graduation and certification, nurses will be expected to work for two years at certain health facilities where there is a nursing shortage. Nurses will be able to negotiate their own salary and benefits package when arranging to fulfill their service requirement.

African American students who wish to enroll in a nursing program can apply for one of many scholarship programs available through the National Black Nurses Association.
African American students from the Kansas City area can apply for the General Hospital #2 Nurses Alumnae Scholarship Program if they’re attending school in the greater Kansas City area.

Most states also have grants and scholarships available to those who wish to be a nurse.

Health Services Fields

For those who wish to pursue careers as physicians, dentists, family nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, or physician’s assistants, the National Health Service Corps Scholarship pays tuition, required fees and some other educational costs for up to four years tax free and also supplies a small taxable monthly living stipend. There is a service commitment upon completion of the program of one year’s service in a job in an area which is experiencing a shortage of health professionals for each year of support.

Service jobs may include working at any Federally supported health center, which may include Indian Health Service clinics, managed care networks, prisons, rural health clinics, public health department clinics and other Federal health sites. Scholars negotiate their own salary, but NHSC regulations require that they be paid equivalent to a Federal civil service employee in a similar position.

The Health Resources and Services Administration administers Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students who wish to work in the health professons or nursing, which is a needs based scholarship.

Public Service Fields

Students who wish to enter public service can apply for the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship, a merit based scholarship which has a 3-7 year service requirement upon completion of school. Because scholarship awards are generous this program is highly competitive.

The Accounting Field

The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers a number of scholarships for women who wish to pursue Accounting degrees. Some are needs based and some are merit based.

Science and/or Math

The National SMART Grant is a Federal Grant available for the third and fourth year of undergraduate study to students in an undergrad degree program in life sciences, physical sciences, computer sciences, technology, math, specific foreign languages, or engineering who have been maintaining a 3.0 or better GPA in a 4.0 scale as of the end of their second undergrad year. Students must also be Pell Grant eligible during the same award year.

The Brookhaven Women in Science of Brookhaven National Laboratory sponsor the Renate W. Chasman Scholarship, which is a merit based scholarship for women returning to school to complete a degree in engineering, the natural sciences or in mathematics. Applicants must be residents of Long Island, NY.

The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is a merit scholarship for women returning to school to pursue a career in technology. Google also offers other tech field scholarships for Hispanics, in partnership with Lime for students with disabilities, for Native Americans, and in partnership with the United Negro College Fund.


For those wishing to enter the field of primary or secondary school teaching the TEACH Grant Program is a Federal Grant administered through the FAFSA application process. It’s intended for future teachers who intend to teach in a school that serves low income families. There is a service requirement upon teacher certification requiring the recipient to accept employment as a teacher in a high need field and region.

There are specific shortage areas that are covered such as bilingual education, foreign language, math, reading specialist, science, and special education. There may also be other regional teacher shortage subject areas at the time of application.

Most states also have grants and scholarships available to those who wish to teach.


The Children’s Music Workshop maintains a very comprehensive list of places to apply for music grants and scholarships.

Grants for Specific Demographics

Along with women-specific funding, there are also many programs for other specific demographic groups to which the student may also belong. Here are a few of note:

Additions to Grants and Scholarships

If, for some reason, a student comes up short on grant funding, then there are Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Direct Consolidation Loans. There is also a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which was designed to encourage graduates to enter public service jobs.

There are strict guidelines for this program, but it may be a good option for getting out from under a student loan burden while working at a paying job helping others and gaining valuable on the job experience.

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Grants for Women Going Back to School (2024)


Can I get a grant to study in the UK? ›

You can get funding for postgraduate study through loans, studentships, bursaries and grants - you might also get help from your employer. You can now apply for funding for the 2022 to 2023 academic year. Search for postgraduate funding on the Scholarship Search website or Prospects website.

Can mature students get grants UK? ›

Adult learners can apply for grants and bursaries to help pay for courses and training. Usually, you do not have to pay this money back. For most grants and bursaries you apply directly to the organisation that gives them out. They'll have an application form and will be able to tell you if you qualify.

Can I get a grant for Penn Foster? ›

Penn Foster does not accept federal financial aid. Whether in the form of student loans or grants, such as the Pell Grant, available through FAFSA, we are unable to accept the same forms of aid as many major universities. Though no financial aid is accepted, we offer affordable monthly payment options with 0% interest.

Can you get grants for university? ›

Grants can be awarded to help if you are in financial difficulty or to reward your achievements. What can you get scholarships for? If you are already at uni or know where you want to study, check the university's website for details of what scholarships, bursaries and grants they offer.

What financial help can I get as a student UK? ›

All eligible students will receive £1,000 a year for accommodation and living costs. Students may also be eligible for an additional means-tested maintenance grant. The total amount will be based on household income, with the highest level of support going to those most in need.

How can I get free money from the government UK? ›

The government will automatically give you a £150 cost of living payment from 20 September 2022. You'll get this one-off payment if you get any of the following benefits: Disability Living Allowance. Personal Independence Payment.

What benefits can mature students get? ›

This is the same amount as income support, but you must be able to meet the work-seeking conditions.
  • Income support. ...
  • Jobseeker's allowance. ...
  • Carer's allowance. ...
  • Employment and support allowance. ...
  • Tax credits. ...
  • Housing benefit. ...
  • Council tax. ...
  • Universal credit.
3 Feb 2020

Is there financial help for mature students? ›

Adult or mature students are entitled to apply for government funding to study at university in the same way as younger students, but what you get depends on your own personal circumstances.

Can I get a student loan at 40? ›

There is no age limit on eligibility for tuition fee loans, so anyone can apply, providing that they're going to be studying for their first undergraduate degree.

How can I get paid to go to school? ›

Here Are The 11 Best Ways To Get Paid To Go To School
  1. Corporate Tuition Reimbursement From Your Employer. ...
  2. College Financial Assistance; Grants And Scholarships. ...
  3. Community College Education. ...
  4. Merit And Minority Grants And Scholarships. ...
  5. College Tuition Tax Breaks. ...
  6. Online Colleges. ...
  7. Join The Military. ...
  8. No-Loan Colleges.
16 Mar 2021

What is a Pell Grant loan? ›

Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Federal Pell Grant.)

Did I ever receive a Pell Grant? ›

Check With Your Former School

A financial aid officer may be able to provide Pell Grant information from their records, she said. Likewise, contacting a financial aid officer is another way to confirm that a borrower did not receive a Pell Grant if nothing is listed for them at

What grants can I apply for as a student? ›

Student Grants
  • Disabled Student Allowance. ...
  • Childcare Grant. ...
  • Parents' Learning Allowance. ...
  • Adult Dependents Student Grant. ...
  • NHS Bursary & Grant. ...
  • Social Work Bursary. ...
  • Teacher Training Funding. ...
  • Other grants from charities and trusts.

What is a special support grant? ›

If you're a full-time higher education student, you may be able to get a non-repayable grant to help with accommodation and other living costs. These grants are called the 'Maintenance Grant' and 'Special Support Grant'.

How can I study for free in UK? ›

If you want to apply for a scholarship, here is the list of scholarships (fully funded) to study in UK.
  1. British Chevening Scholarships for International Students. ...
  2. Gates Cambridge Scholarships for International Students. ...
  3. Clarendon Fund Scholarships at the University of Oxford. ...
  4. Warwick Chancellor's International Scholarships.

Can international students get financial aid in UK? ›

There are many funding options available for international students who want to study in the UK. They range from part-funding, for example paying part of your fees, to full-funding which covers programme fees, living expenses, and return flights to the UK.

Who is eligible for training grant? ›

Who can apply for the Training Grant? 'Home' full-time and part-time new students and continuing students can apply for the grant. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students must be eligible for tuition fee and maintenance loan support from the Student Loans Company.

How can I get funding for my studies? ›

Student loans are offered by all the major banks, as well as credit providers. This option is ideal for short-term or part-time studies. Once the bank loan is approved, the money is allocated to you. It's your responsibility to pay the fees and buy study materials.

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