23 Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

Have you felt scholarships are exclusively for high school graduates who want to attend college? We’re here to dispel this common myth: scholarships are available for anyone needing financial assistance, including non-traditional and adult students

Here at Scholarship Institute, we strive to help students from all walks of life find relevant opportunities to make education more affordable. In our comprehensive guide, you’ll find 23 unique scholarships for non-traditional students. We’ll also cover helpful tips to maximize your chances of winning on Bold.org and why it’s one of the best financial aid programs for non-traditional students.

23 Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students to Apply For in 2023

We’ve researched and sifted through dozens of opportunities to provide you with the best non-traditional student scholarships in 2023. Here are our top 23 findings, along with their award amounts, deadlines, and decision dates.

Bold.org No-Essay Top Friend Scholarship

This recurring scholarship has a rolling application deadline and is open to students, including non-traditional ones, who are amazing friends. You can apply if you’ve been invited by a friend to join Bold.org and have a strong profile on the platform. 

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: December 1, 2023

Bold.org No-Essay Community Scholarship

Students who recognize the importance of the community around them can apply for this annual scholarship. Applicants can increase their chances of winning by working on their Bold.org profiles and inviting friends to join. 

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: December 1, 2023

VNutrition and Wellness’ Annual LGBTQ+ Vitality Scholarship

If you’re a non-traditional LGBTQ+ student, you can apply for this scholarship by writing a short essay about how you intend to use your education to impact society positively. High school seniors, undergraduate students, and graduate students are eligible to apply. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Next Deadline: July 1, 2024
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: July 31, 2024

Goodnewsletter Scholarship

The Goodnewsletter offers encouraging and hopeful content to readers, and students who apply for this no-essay scholarship will automatically get a free subscription. Those who get the most out of it and share the newsletter may be interviewed about what they’ve gained. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: January 31, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: February 29, 2024

Learner Education Women in Mathematics Scholarship

This recurring scholarship is an excellent opportunity for non-traditional students in STEM. High school seniors or undergraduate students in a qualifying field can apply by writing a brief essay about their interest in math and how it has shaped their understanding of the world. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: August 26, 2023

400 Bold Points No-Essay Scholarship

Students who have earned at least 400 points on Bold.org can apply for this recurring scholarship by creating the best possible profiles. Anyone can apply, and non-traditional students can showcase their unique perspectives to stand out. 

  • Award Amount: $4,000
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: December 1, 2023

Barbara J. DeVaney Memorial Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is open to women of all education levels with unique circumstances, such as single mothers, widows, first-generation college students, or women of color. Applicants can apply by submitting an essay about themselves and how they plan on using the money to create a better life. 

  • Award Amount: $90,000 (12 winners, $5,000 to $10,000 each)
  • Deadline: September 21, 2023
  • Winners Announcement Date: October 21, 2023

Tony Alviani Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is in honor of Tony Alviani. It will be awarded to a high school senior or current undergraduate student planning to pursue a business or computer science degree. You can apply by writing an essay about your father figure.

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: October 1, 2023
  • Winners Announcement Date: November 1, 2023

Adam Montes Pride Scholarship

Non-traditional LGBTQ+ students of an underrepresented minority can apply to this scholarship by writing a 400—600 word essay. High school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students can apply but must be first-generation college students

  • Award Amount: $1,000 (2 winners, $500 each)
  • Deadline: March 22, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: April 22, 2024

“Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship

Students who join Bold.org and create earnest, determined, and moving profiles can apply for this annual scholarship. Non-traditional students should especially showcase their unique experiences and background in their profiles. Anyone can apply, regardless of education level, field of study, and GPA. 

  • Award Amount: $25,046
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: December 1, 2023

Scholarship Institute’s Annual Women’s Leadership Scholarship

Female-identifying students with outstanding leadership abilities are encouraged to apply for this annual scholarship. Eligible high school seniors and above must submit an essay highlighting how they’ve been a leader and what they hope to achieve in the future. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Next Deadline: July 1, 2024
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: July 31, 2024

WayUp Dream Job No-Essay Scholarship

This annual scholarship is open to students with graduation years between 2020 and 2026. After applying, applicants will receive access to WayUp’s platform with millions of job and internship opportunities. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: August 1, 2023

Faatuai and Fatilua Memorial Scholarship

If you’re a non-traditional Pacific Islander student, you can apply for this scholarship by submitting a brief essay. Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate students with at least a 3.0 GPA. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Next Deadline: November 25, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: December 25, 2023

Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship

If you’re a non-traditional student who has had challenges with mental health (whether you or a loved one), you can apply to this scholarship by writing an essay about your experience. Anyone can apply regardless of grade level. 

  • Award Amount: $500 (2 winners, $250 each)
  • Deadline: June 13, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: July 13, 2024

Alexanderia K. Lane Memorial Scholarship

This annual scholarship is for students, including non-traditional ones, enrolled in an undergraduate program or trade school. Applicants must submit a brief essay explaining why it’s essential to help others.

  • Award Amount: $10,000
  • Next Deadline: October 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: November 1, 2023

Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship

This biannual scholarship is offered in memory of Chris Jackson and will support undergraduate students pursuing a college education in computer science. Non-traditional students can write about their interest in the field and why they believe they’re the best candidate for the award. 

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Next Deadline: October 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: November 1, 2023

Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care

This scholarship seeks to support high school seniors and undergraduate students who intend to use higher education to help people. Only low-income applicants will be considered and must pursue a career in healthcare, social work, government, education, or a related field. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 15, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: May 15, 2024

Jared Ethan Trueba Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Jared Ethan Tueba by supporting students in New Mexico. To apply, non-traditional students can write about their experiences and how they’ve impacted their school or community. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 1, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: May 1, 2024

Christian Colleges No-Essay Scholarship

If you’re a non-traditional high school student or prospective transfer student interested in Christian colleges, you can apply for this annual scholarship and receive helpful tips and resources. Students who apply early and engage with the resources have higher chances of winning. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Next Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Next Winners Announcement Date: September 1, 2023

Dylan’s Journey Memorial Scholarship

Dylan’s Journey Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one student with Neurofibromatosis (NF) or a learning disability, such as ADHD or Dyslexia. High school, undergraduate, and graduate school students are eligible to apply.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: March 21, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: April 21, 2024

Charles Pulling Sr. Memorial Scholarship

Non-traditional students, including single parents, students over 25, or first-generation students, can apply for this scholarship by submitting a brief essay or video. Applicants must describe what makes them non-traditional and drives them to do more. 

  • Award Amount: $2,000 (2 winners, $1,000 each)
  • Deadline: July 31, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: August 31, 2024

Across Cultures “Expand Your Horizons” Scholarship

This scholarship exists to help students broaden their world experience and other cultures. To apply, ensure your profile demonstrates an openness to learning about different cultures and sharing your own.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 28, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: April 30, 2024

Cardel Love Scholarship

This scholarship is in memory of Cardel Love and intends to support first-generation BIPOC students from New York. Applicants must also be high school seniors and submit a brief essay about themselves and their college plans. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: September 27, 2023
  • Winners Announcement Date: October 27, 2023

About Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

Millions of scholarships are now tailored toward adults who have already acquired quite a bit of life experience. Tons of scholarships are based on your major and provide funds for college. You can also check out the FAFSA and Federal Student Aid program to fill out a free application for financial assistance and see if you are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.

What are Non-Traditional Student Scholarships?

Non-Traditional Students Scholarships

Many doors for unique scholarships are open for you. Scholarships cater to a variety of students, including non-traditional students. You can apply for merit-based, major-based, fellowships, and other scholarship types. Non-traditional students are welcome at all colleges. There is also no age limit on who can receive financial aid. If you are interested in returning to school, some programs assist people with filling out scholarship applications. 

What Qualifies Someone for a Non-Traditional Student Scholarship?

Non-traditional students are usually over the age of 24. There are nearly three-fourths of college students that are considered to be non-traditional. The definition of a non-traditional student is not necessarily set in stone. Many non-traditional students balance home, school, and work. 

In 2015, a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) study found that 74% of college students could be considered non-traditional. Your income, marital status, and if you earned a traditional high school diploma could also make you a non-traditional student.

NCES defines a non-traditional college student using three criteria:

  • Enrollment Patterns – When you enroll in college
  • Financial And Family Status – Having one or more children, being a single parent, working full-time while in school, and being financially independent.
  • High School Graduation Status – Receiving a GED instead of a High School Diploma

Types of Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional students have several opportunities to lower the cost of education. Here are some of the most common types of scholarships to look for. 

Merit-Based Scholarships

These scholarships typically award non-traditional students with notable achievements in academia, creative arts, or extracurricular work. Merit-based scholarships often have performance criteria, such as a minimum GPA or similar requirements. 

Need-Based Scholarships

Non-traditional students with financial constraints or a low-income background may qualify for need-based scholarships. Eligible applicants typically need to provide financial information to demonstrate their need for assistance. 

College-Specific Scholarships

Most US colleges and universities offer incoming or current students scholarship opportunities. Students usually win these scholarships automatically upon admission or after meeting specific eligibility criteria. You can learn about your school’s scholarship opportunities by contacting your financial aid department or looking at their website. 

Student-Specific Scholarships

Non-traditional students may be eligible to apply for student-specific scholarships depending on their background. These opportunities consider factors like age, race, gender, religion, or medical history, so be sure to research any type that may apply to you. 

Career-Specific Scholarships

These scholarships are for non-traditional students who plan on pursuing a specific career path, like nursing, STEM, or government work. Your school may have scholarship programs for your particular career, or you can find additional opportunities through professional organizations or private donors. 

How to Find Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students

Many non-traditional student scholarships are available online, but all the results may seem overwhelming. On the other hand, the easiest way to find opportunities is by visiting Bold.org, home to hundreds of open scholarships. Here, you can sort opportunities by age, state, demographic, and other factors to find the options that apply to you. And since there’s no limit to how many you can apply for, it’s easy to keep track of your applications in one place. You can also find other scholarships through your school’s financial aid or counseling department. 

How to Apply for Non-Traditional Student Scholarships

We’ve broken down the best way to apply for non-traditional student scholarships with Bold.org. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started. 

Step 1: Visit Bold.org and Sign Up

Start by heading to Bold.org. This scholarship platform offers a wide range of scholarships, including for non-traditional students. First, You must create a free account to apply for any of the scholarships. 

Step 2: Create Your Profile

Work on creating the best possible profile to showcase your unique experiences as a non-traditional student. Include your achievements, goals, background, and other details worth sharing. Your profile will be visible to scholarship organizers and panels, so ensure it accurately represents who you are. 

Step 3: Explore Open Scholarships

Once you’ve created your account and profile, it’s time to explore all the scholarship options on Bold.org. You can search for scholarships that align with your circumstances and interests, so take some time to research all the available options. Note the application requirements, deadlines, and award announcement dates.  

Step 4: Work on Your Applications and Apply

When you’ve found relevant scholarships, start crafting your applications per the requirements. Follow the instructions carefully and do your best to showcase your perspective as a non-traditional student. When you feel comfortable with the application, submit it and await your reply. 

Step 5: Track Your Applications

Your dashboard on Bold.org makes it easy to monitor application statuses. Check your dashboard regularly to avoid missing any important updates or deadlines. If you’ve been selected for financial assistance, Bold.org will automatically apply the award(s) to your tuition, eliminating the need for extra paperwork. 

Tips for Winning a Non-Traditional Student Scholarship

As a non-traditional student, you have a story worth sharing that distinguishes you from other candidates. Here are some valuable tips to consider during your scholarship search. 

Tip 1: Begin Your Search Early

Starting your scholarship search early gives you ample time to find opportunities that align with your circumstances as a non-traditional student. You want to give yourself plenty of room to work on your applications and submit them early, so start as soon as possible.  

Tip 2: Customize Your Application

Since each scholarship has unique criteria, you will need to tailor your application to match these specifics. Highlight your experiences, achievements, and reasoning for why you deserve to win, according to the instructions. Take your time and consider having others review your applications before submitting them. 

Tip 3: Emphasize Your Non-Traditional Path

Your background as a non-traditional student can be used as a strength. Use your application to show the unique perspectives and values you bring as a non-traditional student. 

Tip 4: Write A Powerful Essay

If you apply to a scholarship that requires an essay, use it as an opportunity to create a compelling and authentic narrative. Discuss your journey and how the scholarship will help you achieve your educational goals while answering the provided prompts. 

Tip 5: Apply for Multiple Scholarships

You aren’t limited to one scholarship, so take advantage of all the options and apply for as many as possible. The more scholarships you apply for, the higher the chances you’ll receive financial assistance for school. 

Tip 6: Leverage Your Bold.org Profile

A well-crafted Bold.org profile helps you stand out to the scholarship panels. Keep it updated as you gain more experience, and use it to highlight your unique journey as a non-traditional student. 

Tip 7: Engage with Scholarship Donors

Bold.org has various donors on the platform. Each has a profile, so take time to understand their values and interests. Use what you’ve learned about the scholarship and donor to tailor your application, showcasing why you’re a deserving candidate. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Still have questions about scholarships for nontraditional students? We’ve got answers below. 

Are Scholarships Taxable Income?

Scholarships may be tax-free if used for tuition, required fees, or qualifying expenses, as per IRS Topic No. 421. However, funds used for room and board or living expenses are taxable. You can also consult IRS Publication 970 for additional details and tax benefits. 

How Many Scholarships Can You Get?

Good News! There is no limit to how many scholarships you can get. Some scholarships will be for specific majors, such as Business or Nursing Majors, but you can get as many scholarships as you need to cover your tuition.

How Do I Apply for Non-Traditional Student Scholarships? 

There are several ways to find and apply for non-traditional student scholarships, but the easiest method is visiting Bold.org and creating a free account. Bold.org connects you with hundreds of scholarship opportunities through one convenient interface, making it easy for non-traditional students to find relevant scholarships. 

What Qualifies as a Non-Traditional Student? 

Non-traditional students are often characterized by factors such as age, income level, marital status, or whether they earned a high school diploma. As a rule of thumb, anyone over the age of 24 wanting to return to school is considered non-traditional. However, the specific definition can vary between institutions. 

What Happens if I Win a Scholarship but Choose to Defer My Admission? 

Policies vary by school and scholarship provider. Some may allow you to roll over your scholarship winnings, while others may require you to forfeit the funding and reapply when ready. Always check the specific scholarship rules or contact the organizer for more details. 

Can International Students Apply for Non-Traditional Scholarships?

Yes, international students can often apply for non-traditional scholarships. Still, every opportunity has varying requirements, so checking each one’s criteria is essential. Or, you can specifically research scholarships for international students.

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