Adult Learners and Returning Grants
There are a lot of resources available for adult learners who wish to get returning grants to continue their college education or pursue higher education but are unable to fulfill the necessary financial requirements to complete the application process. A large chunk of grant money comes from federal and state sources, several also come from universities and specific colleges and still some come from private institutions such as foundations and even your employer. Returning grants may be taken advantage of through various gender specific, business interest specific or specialty education specific grants as well.
The first step in searching for returning grants is to accomplish the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This application is required by all states and most of the school-assisted financial grant programs available so it is a good idea to complete this application regardless of whether you think you are qualified for a federal grant or not. This form is readily available online and at universities and colleges that are participants in the Federal Title IV program. In any case, you can either get online help to fill out the form or ask for assistance at the school financial aid office and the assistance should be given to you for free. The questions in the form are designed to simply provide information about you, your income and assets, the size of your household and the number of family members currently enrolled in college.
Other universities and colleges may also require you to submit supplemental forms such as the CSS profile application which provides information to the school about your eligibility for funding from the school. Upon processing of the FAFSA application, you will be given a Student Aid Report (SAR) stating your eligibility status and your Expected Family Contribution or EFC. This figure is subtracted from the school’s average cost of attendance (COA) to determine your financial need. You should be able to ask the school for a breakdown of their COA. Ideally, you should file your FAFSA starting the 1st of January and before March for better returning grants eligibility.
Some gender specific grants include those for women who would like to continue their college education or pursue higher education in fields such as engineering, computer and technology courses and accounting. Other grants given to women include those that are specifically geared toward single parents who are intent on improving their educational attainment to gain better employment; and assistance for women who have been victims of violence and need education to rebuild their lives.
An example of a state sponsored grant that is geared specifically for part time studies of adult students is the Governor’s Workforce Development Grant given in the state of Delaware. Other state financial aid resources for returning grants may be found through your specific state’s higher education office. More resources for financial aids and grants for returning students are those from private foundations and multinational companies depending on their specific advocacy.