Scholarship Opportunities for Non-Traditional Students

Posted by Allison Leach on Feb 8, 2017 7:00:00 PM

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Financial need is a common concern for those pursuing a four-year degree, and is a frequent factor in student attrition.  Many prospective non-traditional students cite financial instability as a barrier to completing their education, and report that financial aid availability was key in deciding to pursue a degree-completion program.

Unfortunately, as many non-traditional students discover while researching financial aid possibilities, many scholarship and grant opportunities are limited to traditionally-aged students - or students who will be entering college as first-timefreshmen.  While this can be discouraging, prospective (and current) students will find that academic institutions, philanthropic organizations, corporations, and service organizations are increasingly recognizing the trend toward an older student population.  Although many scholarships and grants are still bound to a traditional demographic, scholarships are now being offered that specifically target non-traditional students - as well as single parents and degree-completion candidates.

Eligibility

Prior to applying for scholarships, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine a student's financial status, and eligibility for federal/state assistance and other need-based scholarships and grants. 
 Even if a student does not feel that he or she will be eligible for need-based assistance, without completing a FAFSA, the student will not be offered a financial aid package.  Additionally, some scholarship application require completion of the FAFSA.

Scholarships can be highly competitive.  Whether applying for a merit-based or a need-based scholarship, a personal essay is often required to help distinguish each candidate from amongst a pool of qualified applicants. The personal essay does not tend to list qualifications or merits, but rather allows the scholarship committee to get to know each candidate as an individual.  Some scholarship applications also offer opportunities for students to showcase their creativity or individuality - either in essay or video form.  Personal essays can be challenging to write, but can be well worth the effort.  

Students should bear in mind that not all general  or specialty scholarships are limited to traditionally-aged freshmen students. Unless the requirements list age or class-standing, undergraduate scholarships may be open to non-traditional or transfer students.  When in doubt - ask!  

 

Insitutional Scholarships and Grants

The College of Charleston School of Professional Studies currently extends two scholarship opportunities exclusively to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Professional Studies program.  The College of Charleston offers seven additional scholarships and grants targeting to non-traditional students.

SPS General Scholarship Fund

Funded by donations to the College of Charleston School of Professional Studies, the SPS General Scholarship is a merit-based partial award offered to both full and part-time undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in the School of Professional Studies.  Eligible candidates must be declared Bachelor of Professional Studies majors - or be pursing a pre-BPS course of study - and have completed 2 semesters (and 15 credit hours) in the BPS program with a cumulative 3.0 GPA.

In addition to completing the online application form, students wishing to apply for the School of Professional Studies General Scholarship must also submit a current resume, and a personal essay describing the strength of their candidacy.  Students may also choose to submit a letter of recommendation from a CofC faculty member.
All application materials must be received by March 31, 2017.


Sue Sommer-Kresse Scholarship Fund

Dr. Sue Sommer-Kresse established the first endowed scholarship in the School of Professional Studies as a reflection of her passion for education, and her devotion to the College of Charleston.  Recently retired, Dr. Sommer-Kresse enjoyed a laudable 30-year career as a CofC administrator and faculty member - a tenure that began serving adult students as Dean of Continuing Education - and strongly believes in the transformative power of higher education.  

The Sue Sommer-Kresse Scholarship is a partial need-based award offered to undergraduate students admitted to the CofC School of Professional Studies.  Eligible candidates must be declared Bachelor of Professional Studies majors - or who be pursuing a pre-BPS course of study - and have demonstrable financial need.

Students wishing to apply for the Sue Sommer-Kresse Scholarship must complete both the scholarship application form and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application, and must also submit a current resume and personal essay.  It is recommended that the personal essay illustrate the student’s background and experiences, while also summarizing the student’s academic plan.  Students may also choose to submit a letter of recommendation from a CofC faculty member.

All application materials must be received by March 31, 2017.


Adult Student Scholarships

Adult Student Scholarships are partial need-based awards offered to both degree-seeking, and non-degree seeking adult students.

Students wishing to apply for an Adult Student Scholarship must complete both the scholarship application form and the FAFSA application, and must also submit a current resume and personal essay.  Essays should expand on the student’s academic experiences, and explain their reasoning for pursuing a degree completion program.

All application materials must be received by March 31, 2017.

*Note: These scholarships are not sponsored by the School of Professional Studies.

Outside Scholarships

Scholarships designated for non-traditional students are offered by a variety of individuals and organizations.  Athough some provide opportunities for the general adult student population , frequently these scholarships are established to assist a specific subset of the population.  Students will find that many of these scholarships are targeted toward women, with scholarships also aimed toward minorities, single parents, domestic violence suvivors, veterans, and those living below the poverty line.   Additionally, several corporations offer scholarships which are only available to current employees.

The Rankin Foundation and the AARP are among the respected organizations currently offering scholarships for non-traditional students: The Jeanette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund was established to assist low-income women over the age of 35, and the AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship is awarded to female students over 40 years of age.

Additional opportunities may be found through online scholarship resources, such as Fastweb, or by speaking with your academic advisor.  The Office of Financial Assistance and Veterans Affairs also maintains a small catalog of outside scholarships (accessible in the office lobby), and  provides a detailed list of outside scholarship resources on their website. 


*Note: The CofC is not affiliated with the sponsors of outside scholarships. Please direct inquiries to the respective organizations.

 

 


The School of Professional Studies is dedicated to helping students eliminate the obstacles that may be prohibiting degree completion.  

For more information about the SPS Scholarship Fund, the Sue Sommer-Kress Scholarship Fund or CofC Adult Student Scholarship opportunities, please see our website, or contact the SPS.

Interested in enrolling in our degree-completion or other undergraduate programs?  Additional information may be found by visiting our website, or by contacting the SPS.

Topics: Student, News

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