Fund Your Dreams: Scholarships for Non Traditional Students at Online Colleges

scholarships for non traditional students

Why Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students Matter

Online degrees are the go-to for those who can’t fit into the traditional student mold. They’re for the ones looking for flexibility, convenience, and, of course, affordability. As an online student, you can save over $30,000 by earning an undergraduate degree.

Though online degrees offer savings, their cost still worries many students. Most already juggle work or family finances, adding to the concern. This is why many of them refuse to enroll or drop out in the middle of their studies due to the financial costs associated with online programs.

The solution? Acquiring scholarships for non traditional students.

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Non traditional student scholarships are very important. These programs help pay for student’s online tuition and, in some cases, textbooks and materials. This allows them to pursue education without piling up on student loans. It also helps them reduce how much time they have to work, giving them more time to study.

Understanding Non-Traditional Students

Traditional undergraduate students typically enroll in college right after high school, usually between 18 to 24 years old. They are often full-time students who focus on their studies and take at least 12 credits per term.

Nontraditional undergraduates, on the other hand, can vary in age and circumstances. There’s no single characteristic that defines a nontraditional student. Here are the distinctions of nontraditional students:

  1. They have delayed entering college after high school.
  2. They have dependents other than a spouse.
  3. They work full-time while studying.
  4. They take fewer courses per term.
  5. They’re older than 24 years of age.
  6. They’re financially independent from their parents.
  7. They have no high school diploma.

These learners are known to have more challenges in their undergraduate careers. Since they have to juggle personal obligations, they frequently struggle with time management. Their difficulties are made worse by financial obligations, including tuition and fees.

Getting used to a new learning environment can be scary, especially for those who’ve been away from school for a while. And because there aren’t many support systems tailored for adult learners, they might feel alone and overwhelmed.

However, despite these obstacles, nontraditional learners can reap many rewards from furthering their education. By gaining new competencies, they can unlock opportunities for career advancement. This, in turn, leads to higher earnings because many industries value nontraditional education.

Colleges and universities have created various initiatives geared toward helping these students. One such initiative is special scholarships for nontraditional students.

Nontraditional student scholarships are special. They’re made to cater to their unique needs, looking beyond grades to factors like work experience, community engagement, and the personal hurdles they overcame.

Types of Scholarships Available

When discussing online education scholarships, the first things that come to mind are merit—and need-based. These are among the most common scholarships for online degrees. However, there are more!

Here are scholarships for online schooling designed for specific nontraditional students:

Scholarships for Adult Learners

It’s hard to define who are adult learners. In most cases, they’re a combination of one or two or more characteristics of nontraditional students. They can be those aged 24 and above, those with full-time jobs, or those with part-time study schedules and full-time parental responsibilities. Nevertheless, these learners are expected to be:

  • Autonomous
  • Change Resistant
  • Goal – and Results-Oriented
  • Have More Experience
  • Purposeful and Motivated

Returning adult learners begin their educational journey with unique opportunities and challenges. Their different life journeys have brought many experiences to their pursuit of higher education. They are committed to continuing to learn and grow personally through academics.

Some of the most on-campus and online college scholarships for adult learners include:

Scholarships for Working Professionals

These types of students are those with full-time or part-time careers. Some working professionals pursue a degree to enhance their current skills, while others seek a career change or advancement. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 3.9 million college students are employed.

Most scholarships for working professionals prioritize factors such as

  • career goals
  • industry relevance
  • demonstrated commitment to professional development

Here are some examples of scholarships for working professionals:

A great source for scholarships for online students of this group can be found in the workplace. Many companies offer scholarships or tuition reimbursement programs for their employees, and these can also be found in local communities.

Scholarships for Military Veterans

US military personnel, regardless of branch, deserve gratitude. One way the country gives back to these heroes is by providing them with education grants and scholarships. The government, military groups, and private donors support these opportunities, which aim to aid veterans in transitioning and finding success after their service.

Here are the financial aid opportunities for student veterans:

  • Montgomery G.I. Bill
  • Post 9/11 G.I. Bill
  • The AMVET National Scholarship Program
  • The Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship
  • The American Legion Scholarship
  • Leadership Through Action – Tilman Military Scholars
  • The Troops to Teachers Program
  • The Air Force Tuition Assistance Program
  • The Navy College Fund
  • The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • The US Army’s Survivors and Dependents Assistance Program

There are also hundreds of scholarships for online college veteran students offered by individual institutions. Some of the top military-friendly schools include:

  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Liberty University
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Arizona State University

Scholarships for Single Parents

Life in college as a working student is challenging. Imagine juggling college coursework and a job on top of the responsibilities of being a single parent. It’s no easy feat.

That’s why scholarships specifically designed for single parents are pivotal to their ability to pursue higher education.

Here are some of the available scholarship opportunities for single parents:

  • Rebecca Hunter Memorial Scholarship
  • Dimon A. Williams Memorial Scholarship
  • MR Brooks Scholarship
  • AB Foundation Scholarship
  • Solo Family Scholarship
  • Clowell Law Single Parent Scholarship
  • Little Bundle Superdad Scholarship
  • Empowering Motherhood Scholarship

Scholarships for Part-Time Students

Balancing work and family, part-time students find it tough to afford education and manage demanding courses. Scholarships are crucial in closing this financial gap for part-time students, whose numbers have steadily risen in the US.

Part-time students now have various online degree scholarships, including federal financial aid. These scholarships fall into three main categories:

  • Merit-Based Scholarships. Recognize academic achievements like GPA or test scores.
  • Need-Based Scholarships. Consider factors like income and assets, ensuring equal opportunities for those facing financial challenges.
  • Special Interest Scholarships. Tailored to students in specific fields or with unique skills or interests.

The best way to locate an online scholarship as a part-time student is to utilize online scholarship search engines and databases. Some of the best websites include:

  • Bold.org
  • FastWeb
  • College Board
  • Going Merry
  • Chegg
  • Scholarship360

Top 5 Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students at Online Colleges

If you want to earn a scholarship for online college, the safest way is to pursue a degree in a large online college. There are over 200 online colleges and universities in the United States, giving you plenty of choices. Here are some of the top 5 online schools with scholarship opportunities for nontraditional students.

Grantham University

Grantham offers several military-related scholarships, including the Heroes Program Active-Duty Bridge Scholarship. This scholarship is available to students using Military Tuition Assistance.

Western Governors University

WGU’s Online Access Scholarship is for new students or returning graduates pursuing specific degrees. Applicants must be residents of a T-mobile service area. It’s a renewable scholarship, and students must maintain a 66.67% SAP each term to remain eligible.

Generations College

The Free Tuition For Single Parents Scholarship at GC is available to single parents of a child who is 23 years old or younger and seeking to pursue a full-time degree program at GC. To renew the full-ride scholarship annually, recipients must maintain a 2.0 or better GPA.

North Carolina Wesleyan University

NCWU offers an annual scholarship for adult learners pursuing or pursuing full-time classes. One of its offerings is the 22% tuition discount for Department of Public Safety (DPS) employees. 

Capella University

FlexPath Scholarships at Capella are designed for nontraditional students pursuing online degrees. These scholarship programs can help cover the cost of tuition and other educational expenses for eligible students.

Conclusion: Taking the Next Step in Your Educational Journey

Earning a degree helps you open doors to exciting career opportunities. However, it can be costly and time-consuming for nontraditional students. Fortunately, there are scholarships specifically tailored to the needs of students like you pursuing online degrees.

Being a nontraditional student puts you at an advantage in several scholarships. Your unique strengths, background, and experiences can make you a standout candidate.