When you consider the range of educational opportunities available today which were simply unheard of twenty or thirty years ago it is perhaps no surprise to find that a growing number of older people are now applying for places at our universities.
There are of course many different reasons for an older person deciding to go to university but the two most commonly seen reasons are to prepare themselves for a change in career and to do something for themselves once their children have grown up and left home.
The biggest problem however for many older students is finding the money to pay for university. A full time campus based course is not cheap and for mature students the cost of the course is only half of the equation and they will also need to give up work to attend university and so also lose the regular salary that they and their family have become accustomed to.
The good news is that there is financial aid available specifically for older students and for which you are not in competition with the vast majority of people seeking grants and scholarships each year, but only with those over the age of 25 or, in some limited circumstances, over the age of 30.
Because it is the aim of the government to increase the number of mature students in order to bring education to the masses, national, state and college funding is now far more widely available than it used to be as local governments and colleges have taken up the federal government education initiative.
The principle behind funding for older students is simply that money should be made available to students in cases where a student’s family would not be able to survive with the loss of the students wage while he attends university. As in most cases it becomes increasingly difficult to manage without a salary as we get older, this means that the vast majority of older applicants meet this criterion.
Local governments and individual schools offer grants which vary widely from small grants to provide supplemental income to large grants which will fully fund tuition fees. The good news here though is that you can generally apply for grants from more than one source and, in the case of low income families, there are also special grants available.
When it comes to scholarships these are also available specifically for mature students and this gives you a wider field of opportunity as there is also nothing to stop mature students from applying for scholarships which are open to younger students as well.
Finally, you should note that funding is not only available to mature students who are looking to follow a bachelor or associate degree, but is also on offer to older individuals who are looking to return to university to follow a masters or PhD program.
So, if you are considering attending university later in later, or thinking about returning to university as a mature student, do not be put off by the thought that you simply cannot afford to so. Take the time to look at the many sources of funding available for mature students today.
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