Adult Man Studying

Scholarships are a way to close the gap between the cost of attendance at a college and a family’s own resources. Among the many scholarships that students can apply for are those that are established to support students based upon the ways they define themselves. There is no comprehensive list of identity-based scholarships; professional associations, companies, non-profit entities, religious organizations, political groups, and colleges and universities are among the many sponsors of scholarships that may be awarded in part based upon a student’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or presence of a disability. Bright Horizons College Coach wants to help ensure that students from all backgrounds have access to the resources they need to achieve their educational goals and has therefore launched this monthly scholarship series to help students pinpoint funding opportunities based upon their unique identities. Check out the below resources, along with the other posts in the series, and you may discover funding sources that will make covering that college bill a little (or a lot!) easier.

This month, we look at scholarship resources for adult learners. Note that the below list is not exhaustive, but is intended to provide a starting place for adult learners to launch their scholarship searches. General scholarship search sites like and college websites can also provide useful scholarship information.

  • You Can. Go Back. is a program in Indiana that helps adult students return to college and complete their degrees. The grant amount is $2,000. Applicants must be residents of Indiana andS. Citizens or Permanent Residents. In order to apply, complete the FAFSA and the Adult Student Grant application, available on ScholarTrack.
  • Members of the American Legion, Auxiliary, or Sons of the American Legion can apply for the Non-Traditional Student Scholarship. This annual $2,000 award helps members finish a degree program or start a new one!
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL), the honor society for non-traditional students, awards scholarships to adult learners attending institutions with ASL chapters. Five $2,500 scholarships are awarded annually. Note: applicants don’t have to be a member of ASL but should check the website to ensure they meet all eligibility criteria.
  • The Adult Skills Education Program (ASEP) offered by the Imagination America Foundation provides tuition assistance for adult learners looking for career training.
  • The Alma Baron Second Chance Scholarship was established to support women returning to higher education later in life. This award is one of several that the University of Wisconsin Madison offers to adult learners.

Remember, students are expected to report outside scholarships they receive to their college, and receipt of scholarships may impact other parts of a student’s financial aid award. It is best practice to reach out to the Financial Aid Office at your college for clarification of awarding policies.

Determine the Best Way to Pay for College

Written by Robyn Stewart
Robyn Stewart is a member of College Coach’s team of college finance experts. Prior to joining College Coach, she worked as a former financial aid officer at College of the Holy Cross. Visit our website to learn more about Robyn Stewart.