Need Help Paying for College? Consider Non-Traditional Student Scholarships

By University of Arkansas Grantham June 13, 2017

When looking for a way to pay for college as an online degree learner, non-traditional student scholarships may be hard to find. Adult learners can end up paying thousands of dollars in tuition for an education they need to advance their career. That is why finding outside scholarships may be just what you need to help pay for college. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources.

Many of these scholarships are based on merit or need, while others are geared toward people from a certain background or those who have certain interests. And many are offered just for military families.

Employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, foundations, and professional and social organizations offer thousands of non-traditional student scholarships to deserving students every year — it’s just a matter of knowing where to look to find these scholarship opportunities.

If you’re looking for a little more assistance, here are some tips to consider:

Scholarships for Military Families

There are dozens of scholarships and other forms of financial assistance specifically for military families in the United States, including:

  • Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Education Benefits
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Federal Pell Grants1

Additionally, there are a few major national organizations that offer non-traditional student scholarships primarily to active duty military, veterans and their families:

  • The American Legion offers the Legacy Scholarship for children of post-9/11 veterans.2
  • AMVETS (American Veterans) offers three scholarships for veterans, active duty, and guards/reserves as well as two scholarships for the children and grandchildren of veterans, active duty and guards/reserves.3
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America offers approximately $10,000 in scholarship money. 4
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers a Voice of Democracy scholarship that awards high school students across the country with a combined total of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives.5

You can go here for information about these opportunities.

Start the Search at Home

If you are not in the military or in a military family, there is no shortage of non-traditional student scholarships. The following places should provide some advice on where to start this search:

  • Your school. For scholarship seekers currently in school, speak to UA Grantham’s Financial Aid office.
  • Your employer. Many times, employers offer scholarships for employees pursuing a degree related to their field or industry. Check with your employer or your parents’ employers about scholarships they might have available.
  • Your local library. There are plenty of scholarship search resources in most every local library’s reference section. Ask the librarian to find out what they have to offer.
  • Federal or state grant agencies. Scholarship seekers can check with federal agencies or a state grant agency for potential opportunities.6


Foundations, Faith-Based, and Ethnicity-Based Scholarships

There are plenty of nationally-available scholarship opportunities provided by foundations, religious organizations, businesses or civic groups. Some religious organizations that offer non-traditional student scholarships include:

  • The Islamic Scholarship Fund, which gears its scholarships towards Muslims and active members of the Muslim community.7
  • The Baptist Life Association, which mainly reserves its scholarships for Christians.8
  • Even the American Atheists offer scholarships for young activists.9

Ethnicity-based organizations offer a wide range of opportunities as well, including:

  • The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) offers scholarships primarily for African American students (as well as many other opportunities including fellowships and internships).10
  • Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), which defines itself as “the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”11
  • American Indian College Fund, which is offered to students who are “registered as an enrolled member of a federal or state recognized tribe, or a descendant of at least one grandparent or parent who is an enrolled tribal member; Alaska Natives may use Native Corporation membership.”12
  • The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which offers scholarships to students of Hispanic heritage.13


Online Search Tools

There are also many other search tools online. One excellent place for scholarship seekers to check is the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool, called CareerOneStop.

And if all else fails, seekers can find new ways to pay for college by doing a Google search with the word “scholarship” and any criteria that you define, such as age group, your location, your cultural background, faith-based affiliation, gender, race, and academic grade point average.

Use Your Non-Traditional Student Scholarships at UA Grantham

The power is in your hands to find the non-traditional student scholarships that are right for you! Check out UA Grantham paying for college page and apply today.

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University of Arkansas Grantham
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