Best Grants for Women Going Back to School

By Tucker Cummings , last updated November 4, 2011
For the average woman, finding the funding to afford going back to school can be very difficult. Women often find that their studies are interrupted by the demands of raising a family. Between the time it takes to raise a child and the added cost of providing for that baby, some women have to take time off from school and tend to their families. Later in life, if a woman plans to return to school, tuition costs can be offset by grant money or scholarships, neither of which will have to be repaid at a later date. Here is a rundown of some of the best grant money options out there for women looking to resume their studies at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Pell Grants
Pell Grants are federally funded grants given through the Department of Education. They are designed to provide for those who lack the funds to return to school under their own steam. The grants are given based on financial need alone, and can be used to finance your tuition at any accredited institute of higher learning. If you already have one bachelor’s degree and are planning to go back to school for another, you will not be eligible for this type of funding. You must already be enrolled in an accredited program, and have filled out the FAFSA.
The AARP Foundation's Women's Scholarship Program
The The AARP Foundation's Women's Scholarship Program is funded through corporate sponsorship. The aim of the program is to provide women with limited financial resources the ability to pay for classes towards a degree that will give them a better quality of life. Many women who choose to go back to college do so after reaching the age of retirement, as they have more leisure time available or have decided to start their own business to supplement their income.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
This organization, well-known and respected for its cancer benefits, also offers foundation members and their female family members the chance to apply for grant money that can be used to advance their careers or education. The foundation also provides financial support to a number of other female-oriented grant programs and organizations.
The Amber Grant Program
Named in honor of Amber Wigdahl, this grant allows recipients to use funds for going back to school or for opening their own business. Established in 1998, the grant honors Ms. Wigdahl, who died tragically at the young age of 19 before she could fulfill her dream of opening her own business and becoming a successful female entrepreneur.
The American Association for University Women (AAUW)
The American Association for University Women (also known as the AAUW) offers grants to support women, particularly women of color, who are trying to return to school and jumpstart their careers. The AAUW Career Development Grants, awarded in amounts between $2,000 and $12,000, are targeted towards women who already have a BA or BS and are planning to return to school for additional studies, be it for technical training or an advanced degree like a Masters or PhD.
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