Financial Aid for Older Students

Financial aid is available for older students from many different sources, as most don’t have age restrictions on their eligibility.

Federal Financial Aid and the Nontraditional Student

Federal aid does not have age restrictions, with exception to the Coverdell Education Savings Account. It requires that the funds be used by the time you are 30. Restrictions do apply to those with a bachelor’s degree, as they are no longer considered an undergraduate and would not be eligible for the Pell Grant. However, the student is still eligible for work-study and federal loans.

Students over the age of 24, whose parents can’t borrow using the PLUS loan, are considered independent, and as undergraduate students, would be eligible for higher unsubsidized Stafford loans—$4,000 per year for their freshman and sophomore years, and $5,000 per year for their junior and senior years. However, this student can also apply for a Grad PLUS loan.

If you plan to quit your job in order to go back to school, you should speak with a financial aid advisor at the school you plan to attend. They can offer you a “professional judgment” review to help prepare you for the income adjustment you will experience.

Some employers offer a tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance program. You should check with your company’s human resources office about this program and its availability. They may require you to keep a certain GPA, usually a C average.

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