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Competitive Advantage

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How Adults Can Find Back-to-School Grants


If you haven’t gone to college in a few years, today’s tuition rates could give you serious sticker shock. According to the Education Data Initiative, the cost of tuition at public four-year colleges increased by 31.4% between 2010 and 2020. Prices have skyrocketed for other education-related costs like textbooks and distance learning fees. If you want to return to school, you may wonder how anyone can afford to finish a degree. Luckily, back-to-school grants for adults can help you pay for your education.

You may qualify for grant programs that give adult students free money to go back to school. But where can you find these grants, and how do you apply? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about grants for adult students and the best places to find them.

What Is a Back-to-School Grant?

Going-back-to-school grants give financial assistance to adult students who have already earned some college credits. These grants help cover the costs of finishing your degree, saving you money and time.

School grants for adults can pay for many educational expenses, including:

  • Tuition
  • Textbooks
  • Room and board
  • Laboratory supplies
  • Online learning fees

Grant programs usually award money based on financial need. Also, some grants support people from specific demographics, college majors, or regions. For example, grants exist for women, Mississippi students, and business majors. Other programs offer age-based aid, like going-back-to-school-at-50 grants.

Unlike student loans, you typically don’t have to repay grants. They’re totally free awards, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many as possible to cut down on your college costs.

Where To Look To Find Grants for Adults Going Back to School

If you want free money for college, you’re probably wondering how to get a back-to-school grant. Here are the top five places to start your search.

1. Complete 2 Compete’s Grant

If you live in Mississippi, you may qualify for the C2C Grant. This grant provides financial support for adults going back to school to complete their degrees. To qualify, you must be a Complete 2 Compete (C2C) program participant. C2C offer grants for students aged 21 to 59. The grant has no degree restrictions, and you can qualify even if you last attended college many years ago. As of 2022, C2C has paid over $3.4 million for tuition.

C2C also offers support services to help you return to school. An expert C2C Coach can help you plan your degree path and review your transcripts to find the quickest path to finishing your degree. They’ll also stay in contact with you throughout your enrollment to ensure that you succeed and connect you with any support you need. Also, C2C’s blog has many free resources to help you succeed at college.

2. Pell Grants and Other Federal Grant Programs

The federal government provides several types of financial aid for adults going back to school. Many lower-income students qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, which gives need-based grants to students who haven’t finished a bachelor’s degree yet.

The government offers other grants to students who meet specific eligibility requirements. For example, the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant gives aid to surviving children of military members who died in the line of service.

You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and consult with your C2C Coach to figure out if you’re eligible for federal grants.

3. School-Specific Grants

Your community college or university may have school-based grants for adults going back to school. Generally, these awards are only available to students who attend the institution. For example, many colleges offer grants for out-of-state students and non-traditional students like parents.

The C2C program will assign you a C2C Coach who can help you find school-specific grants.

4. State-Specific Grants

Many state governments provide college grants for adults going back to school. Typically, you must live in the state and attend an in-state institution to qualify for this financial assistance.

Mississippi offers grants and scholarships for college students who meet specific eligibility criteria. Students can receive support for up to eight semesters. To apply, you’ll need to prove Mississippi residency, complete the FAFSA, and fill out an additional application for state aid programs.

5. Grants From Private Organizations

Private organizations are another excellent resource for free grants to go back to school. Many kinds of groups award money to students in need, including:

  • Corporations. Your current employer and other businesses may offer grants for adults who are going back to school.
  • Community Organizations. Some community groups and nonprofit organizations give out grants to college students. For example, several charities offer grants and scholarships for mothers and students over 40.
  • Professional Associations. Groups for working professionals often have grants available for adults going back to school. For example, a national association for engineers could offer financial assistance for engineering majors.

Applying for private grants for going back to school can be time-consuming, but this financial aid could substantially reduce your tuition costs.

How To Get a Back-to-School Grant With C2C

College is more expensive than ever, but don’t let that prevent you from finishing your degree. There are many grants for older adults going back to school that can make college affordable and low-stress.

C2C offers a convenient go-back-to-school grant to support your educational journey. Complete a quick survey to see if you qualify for the C2C program, and schedule an appointment with a C2C representative to learn more. Fill out the application today to get started.


C2C is a state program that helps Mississippi adults who previously attended college earn a degree and create a brighter future.