Two-thirds of all college students receive some type of financial aid, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), but most aid is focused on full-time traditional-age students. Adult students — a population NCES expects will grow 20 percent by 2020 — have fewer financial aid options, because often they are enrolled part time. To help adult students achieve their education goal, Penn State is creating scholarships and other financial aid options for these students.
Benjamin Hamby of Boalsburg, Pa., appreciates Penn State’s efforts to make education more affordable. He is one of 28 adult students at eight Penn State campuses recently chosen to receive a 2013 Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship. “I work full time, but my pay only allows me to live paycheck to paycheck, so scholarships are of great value,” said Hamby, who majors in Agroecology and attends classes through Penn State Continuing Education at University Park campus. Hamby also receives Penn State’s Fund for Adult Continuing Education Scholarship (FACES).
Penn State defines adult students as 24 years old or older; a veteran of the armed services; an active-duty service member; returning to school after four or more years of employment, homemaking or other activity; or having multiple adult roles, such as a parent, spouse/partner, employee and student.
Adult students enrolled on Penn State campuses and online through the World Campus can apply for more than a dozen scholarships and other financial aid options, including the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for laid-off workers who want to retrain for new careers and a military grant in aid for undergraduate programs.
The Osher Scholarship helps students returning to school to complete their first bachelor degree, after a gap in enrollment or educational pursuits of five years or more, who are 25 to 50 years old. The FACES award provides supplemental financial support for books, tuition or other emergency needs.
FACES recipient Kim Clayborn of Lewistown, Pa., used her award to buy a computer and other class-related supplies. “The scholarship has taken some stress off me. I was worried about how I was going to get things done for classes,” said Clayborn, who is majoring in rehabilitation and human services at the Penn State Learning Center in Lewistown.
For more financial aid information, adult students enrolled on a Penn State campus can visit http://www.outreach.psu.edu/adult-learners/108.htm, adult students enrolled online in the World Campus can visit http://student.worldcampus.psu.edu/paying-for-your-education/scholarships-available-for-penn-state-world-campus-students?status=undergraduate, and military and veteran students can visit http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/paying-for-your-education/military-education-benefits.
Penn State Continuing Education and Penn State World Campus are part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.