How Do Education Grants For Seniors Work?

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: October 14, 2022
Last updated: September 3, 2023

Retired seniors may want to pursue their passions and interests by returning to school. For others, it may be a chance to expand their skills and find new jobs. Whatever your reasons are for pursuing education, there’s no denying it can get expensive. 

Many elderly citizens are unaware that there are education grants for seniors available specifically for them. These grants can help cover the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses associated with returning to school. 

But how do educational grants for seniors work? Let's take a look. 

All About Education Grants For Seniors 

How Do Educational Grants For Seniors Work? 

Here are a few things to know about educational grants for senior citizens. First, education grants are need-based, meaning that your financial situation will be considered when you apply. Additionally, senior citizens who want to go back to school have a few options for funding their education. They can either apply for federal or state financial aid or seek private scholarships and grants. 

Finally, senior citizens who want to go back to school often have an advantage over younger students when it comes to funding because many scholarships and grants prioritize applicants older than 25 years old. 

How Do Educational Grants For Seniors Work? 

Educational grants for seniors can be obtained through the state program, FAFSA, or various public and private organizations. 

Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The first step in applying for educational grants for senior citizen is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a form that collects information about your financial situation and determines your eligibility for federal aid. What’s more, is that you can fill it out online. Make sure to include your spouse's information on the form if you are married since this will give you a better chance of receiving aid. 

Once you've submitted your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will tell you how much money you are eligible to receive in federal aid. If you're not happy with the amount of support you're eligible for, don't worry — there are plenty of other options. 

You can fill out the FAFSA even if you don't think you'll qualify for aid. Sometimes, families earn too much money to qualify for need-based aid but still aren't able to pay for college without some assistance. You may be eligible for merit-based aid or other financial assistance in these cases. 

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

The Department of Labor's Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) offers training and job placement assistance to low-income seniors who want to reenter the workforce. To qualify, you must be at least 55 years old with a family income less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Level

With this program, seniors can learn in-demand skills that will allow them to rejoin the workforce. 

Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes

Established in 1977, the Bernard Osher Foundation has provided learning opportunities for adults over 50 by awarding scholarships to colleges and universities around the country. This is an opportunity for lifelong learning without required tests or grades. The Foundation decides on the merit of the lifelong passion and a submitted essay about who the beneficiaries are. 

Road Scholar

Seniors over 50 interested in travel, education, and experiential learning can participate in one of the many programs under the Road Scholar institution. The organization also offers scholarships worth over $100,000 to qualified seniors. 

If you’ve always wanted to pursue your passion for travel and learning, consider the college grants for seniors offered by Road Scholar. 

Institute for Retired Professionals / Lifelong Peer Learning Program

Founded in 1962, the Institute for Retired Professionals offers retired seniors lifelong learning opportunities for half the usual fees. There are also tuition aids over $1,000 per year. Exams, grades, and credits are not given, and the sole purpose is for lifelong education. 

Wrapping Up

There are many ways for seniors to finance their education, including scholarships, grants, and financial assistance programs, specifically designed for older adults. Pursuing lifelong learning should never be hindered by costs. Through the programs and institutions above, anyone who wishes to continue learning can find college grants for seniors.

Enjoy your golden years by honing your mind and pursuing your passion. Check out one of these education grants for seniors and get the dream education once and for all.

Did you know that seniors can earn online degrees? Check out this Senior Strong blog for the best online degrees for seniors.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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