9 Scholarships for Women Returning to School

The thought of returning to school can be daunting, especially for a woman that must have married, given birth to kids, had some level of work experience, answered to a boss, might have quit some jobs, etc. Sometimes we stop to wonder if it’s even worth going back to school, maybe to continue facing life the way it is.

Fortunately, you’re never too old to earn a degree, you can return to school even if you’re 60 or above, and the best part is there are several scholarships for women returning to school.

One thing you should know about these scholarships we will list soon is that they are not the only financial aid exclusively for women returning to college. You can even apply for scholarships for environmental management or even NGO awards for poor students that didn’t mention women.

The point I’m trying to make is that you shouldn’t limit your search just to women returning to school, so many universities and organizations provide scholarships that are available for anyone.

Why We Should Encourage Women to Return to School

Let’s be sincere, returning to school is not fun at all, whether you’re a woman or a man. As a woman, as we said earlier, you might have faced so many challenges after leaving school.

The question is, is the effort worth it? Is returning to school worth it?

Yes, it’s worth returning to school regardless of your age, and here are some reasons.

  • You will have more advantages in the job market, helping you to increase your salary and better job security.
  • Gaining personal growth
  • Reducing the gender gap in employment
  • You’ll become a role model for your kids

Women returning to school won’t just improve their professional life, but also their personal lives.

Let’s now list these scholarships

scholarships for women returning to school

Scholarships for Women Returning to School

1. Live Your Dream Awards

The Live Your Dream Awards is provided by Soroptimist and it’s exclusively for women that are the primary financial support for their families. Most importantly, Soroptimist provides several scholarships to about 1,700 women all over the world worth over $2.8 million.

Since they established these scholarships lots of women are returning to school, including more than half that are survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, or sexual assault, and so many others that have overcome enormous obstacles. Also, winners of these scholarships are likely to win cash prizes up to $16,000 which can be used for any educational costs they wish — including child care, tuition fees, purchase of books, and transportation.

Learn More

2. The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP)

This is one of the scholarships for women returning to school that is meant for women that have been formerly abused to overcome barriers to the education necessary for their becoming employable and financially stable. The goal of WISP is to help single moms with children that are having financial challenges gain the appropriate work skills to enable them to provide for and support their families.

To be eligible for this Scholarship candidates have to identify as a woman that is a survivor of intimate partner abuse, and applicants also must have separated from their abusive partner for at least a year but it shouldn’t exceed 10 years. Also, candidates must have first sought services from a non-profit agency that provides services to survivors of intimate partner abuse for a minimum of 6 consecutive months, with other requirements.

Learn More

3. The American Association of University Women – Career Development Grants

  • Amount: $2,000–$20,000
  • Opens: August 1 every year
  • Deadline: November 15 every year

The AAUW Career Development Grants provides financial aid to women who hold bachelor’s degrees and intend to advance in their education, or intend to change careers or re-enter the workforce in education such as; health and medical sciences; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); or social sciences.

Preference is given to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degree or credentials in nontraditional fields. Also, it’s necessary to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, who has an earned (not honorary) bachelor’s degree, etc.

The fund can be used for several things including tuition, fees, books, supplies, local transportation, and dependent care.

Learn More

4. The Jeannette Rankin Foundation

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation was created to help women aged 35 and older that are returning to school to successfully finish their college degrees and transform the next chapter of their lives. So far, their scholarship has made 87% of their scholars either graduate or even continue their educational path toward achieving their degrees.

Also, they have awarded $4 million to over 1,300 women across the country to pursue their educational aspirations.

Learn More

5. P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Grant

  • Amount: Maximum grant is $3,000

This is among the grants for women continuing their education that were established in 1973 to provide need-based grants to women in the U.S. or Canada, whose education has been interrupted and who find it necessary to return to school to support themselves and/or their families.

Just like other scholarships for women returning to school we’ve listed, the funds received can be used for any educational cost you wish whether it’s tuition, books, supplies, testing & graduation fees, transportation, childcare, uniforms required by the educational program, etc.

Learn More

6. ANSWER Scholarship – Sending Moms to College 

  • Amount: Range from $2500 per year for a two-year associate degree to $5000 per year for a four-year bachelor’s degree

The ANSWER Scholarship is awarded to moms in Mecklenburg and eight surrounding counties in the Carolinas who intend to return to college. And the good thing is that more than 60% of those interviewed are awarded this scholarship.

Applicants need to be “nontraditional” female students that are at least age 25 or older, and can either be married or single. Also, recipients need to be the primary caregiver to at least one school-age child and must be U.S. citizens, including foreign-born U.S. citizens.

Learn More

7. University of Central Arkansas – Scholarships for Women in Accounting

The University of Central Arkansas provides several scholarships for women returning to college that are breadwinners for their family and is enrolling as incoming freshmen to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Some of them include;

  • Women In Transition: awarded for up to $16,000 over four years
  • Women In Need: worth $2,000 per year for two years
  • Michele L. McDonald Memorial: preference is given to women returning to school from the workforce or after raising children, and worth $1,000.

Moreover, you need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to apply.

Learn More

8. WWBC Scholarships

Westwood Women Bruins Club Scholarships was created to support deserving women, especially those returning to school after a significant hiatus, through the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) Alumni Scholarship Program. 

Learn More

9. Phyllis M. Hazen Endowed Scholarship Fund

This is another scholarship for women returning to school that was established by family and friends in 1990 in memory of Phyllis Hazen, an MCC (Monroe Community College) alumna, to provide financial support to deserving MCC females. Applicants need to demonstrate financial need and have completed 30 hours of study with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Also, preference is given to members of AWARE and those studying history and social science.

Learn More


Even though we have provided a handful of scholarships for female students returning to school, you can still broaden your search to see more scholarships.

Author’s Recommendation