You might read the title and think that the scholarships that we will look at are for an extremely specific demographic. This is true. The number of women going to university over the age of 50 is relatively low. There are several reasons for this. One reason is due to biology and society. A large proportion of middle-aged women who now want to study and earn a university degree are doing so because they never had the opportunity to do so, quite simply , they had children. As a result, they had to raise them. In a lot of situations, this leaves them unable to pursue their own ambitions until the children grow up to be independent adults. There are other reasons of course, which could have prevented a woman from studying in her younger years, but this is the one which is most typical and gender-specific. Another could include divorce or becoming a widow in which she would require to become independent, which may not have been something that she was before. Unfortunately for these women, the vast majority of scholarships have an informal or formal age limit. These are either set as a given age, or some sort of limit, such as applying within a few years of obtaining the previous academic qualification.
The first to look at is the American Association of Retired People (AARP), which has a women’s scholarship for low-income 50-plus women. The AARP seeks to make these women financially independent. Over 350 scholarships are granted each year with a maximal value of USD 5,000, as well as including professional mentoring.
The second to observe is the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which promotes education for women. It seeks to break down economic barriers to ensure the best possible education for women. Its nearly USD 4 million of funding is split among around 250 grants divided into six categories.
The third is the Society for Women Engineers (SWE), which helps women obtain degrees in a domain where they remain woefully under-represent which is engineering. Among the many scholarships on offer, some are specifically for older women.
Finally, there is the Newcombe Foundation which supports mature women in providing them with financial assistance to help them obtain their bachelor’s degree. It has a limited number of offerings across the East Coast of the United States of America.
Regrettably, what is on offer remains relatively limited, but mature women have not been forgotten.