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AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Select the drop-down arrow to view questions and answers regarding your specific area of interest.



Which accredited colleges are eligible to receive a Women's Scholarship?

Any institution that is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

Why is it important that my college is accredited?

Accreditation ensures that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. To earn accreditation, schools are evaluated on factors like professor-to-student ratios, student support services, and quality of educational programs.

How do I know if my college is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education?

Please visit the database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs provided by the U.S. Department of Education to see if your school is accredited.

Is on-line coursework eligible?

Yes, on-line coursework is eligible for a scholarship.

Do I have to be enrolled by the time I apply for the scholarship?

No, you do not have to be enrolled before applying for the scholarship program. When you receive notification that you will receive a scholarship award, you are required to be enrolled within six months.

Completing the Application

What information does the application require?

Along with contact information and education, employment and/or community service history, the application includes short essay questions about educational goals and significant obstacles that applicants may have faced and overcome. You will be required to provide proof of education, income, and verification of age.


Returning applicants are required to provide transcripts of their work to discuss the impact the scholarship has had on their lives.

Will the information I provide on my application be kept confidential?

Yes, information will be shared with only the independent scholarship selection committee established by AARP Foundation and the scholarship administrator, ACT, Inc.

When and where do I apply?

Complete your application online Feb. 1 - March 30, 2012.

Can I apply for the Women's Scholarship Program if I'm not yet enrolled in a college?

Yes. You may apply if you have not yet enrolled in a college. However, you have six months from your award notification to be accepted into a U.S. Department of Education accredited institution.

Do I have to be an AARP member to apply?

No, you do not have to be an AARP member to apply for the scholarship.

Do I need a high school diploma or GED to apply?

No, you do not need a high school diploma or GED to apply for the scholarship by the deadline. If awarded a scholarship, you will need to have your high school diploma or GED by that time and you have 6 months to be accepted into an institution.

When is the application deadline?

March 30, 2012, by 5:00 p.m. Central Time.


Are scholarship funds taxable?

Generally, scholarship funds used exclusively for the payment of tuition, fees, or textbooks are not taxable. Because there may be some exceptions to this rule, AARP Foundation recommends that you contact your tax asvisor or visit the U.S. Internal Revenue Services website to find more information. The scholarship recipient is responsible for any taxes that may be assessed against the scholarship award.

If I am receiving public benefits, how will the scholarship affect those benefits?

The scholarship is not considered to be income for public benefit purposes because the funds are used to pay for tuition, fees and books.

Does AARP offer other scholarships?

Yes, there are other opportunities to access scholarships. Please visit AARP WorkSearch for more information.

Scholarship Awards

How large are the scholarships?

Scholarship awards range from $500 to $5,000, depending on financial need and the cost of the education or training program.

How many scholarships will be awarded?

The number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year, depending on the availability of funds and the number of applicants. In 2011, the Women's Scholarship Program awarded over 350 scholarships.

What is expected of me as a scholarship recipient?

Scholarship recipients must be enrolled in an approved educational program within six months of receiving their scholarship award and barring illness, family emergency or military service, must continue their education program for the complete term of the scholarship.

What if I do not enroll in a college within six months of my award date?

If you have not enrolled in a U.S. Department of Education accredited institution within six months of your award notification, you are not eligible to receive an award.

How can awards be used?

Funds pay partially or in full for tuition, fees, and books and may be used for part-time as well as full-time study and are distributed directly to the institution.

Can the awards be used towards college debt?

No, the award may not be used towards the payment of student loans or credit card debt used to pay for school.

When will the scholarship be awarded?

The Women's Scholarship Programs scholarships will be distributed directly through the Financial Aid offices in the Fall of 2012.

Scholarship Recipient Selection

How are scholarship recipients selected?

Qualified applications are reviewed by two independent panels established by AARP Foundation. Recipients are selected on the basis of financial need, personal circumstances and achievements, educational goals, and the likely impact of the scholarship on their lives. Decisions made by the panels are final and cannot be appealed.

When will the scholarship recipients be notified?

Scholarship recipients will be notified in June 2012 via email.

If an applicant is not selected as a scholarship recipient, how is she notified?

By email, which may include information about other resources that might be helpful.

Online Application Troubleshooting

I am locked out of my account. What do I do now?

I forgot my User ID or password.

On the log in page, select the "Forgot User ID or Password?" link.


To retrieve your password, enter your User ID where requested. If you selected a security question and provided an answer when you first created your account, you will be asked to provide the answer to that question. If your answer matches the response recorded in your account, your password will be emailed to the email address in your account. If you did not select a security question when you created your account, use the Contact Us form to request that information.


To retrieve your User ID, enter the email address you provided when you created your account. You should receive an email containing your User ID at that email address.


If you have forgotten both your User ID and your password, please use the Contact Us form to request that information.

How do I change my password or User ID?

To change your password, log in and select the Change Password tab on the left side of the screen. In the "Old Password" field, enter your current password. In the "New Password" and "Reenter New Password" fields, enter the new password you wish to use.

Your User ID cannot be changed.

While creating my profile, I was told that the account already exists. I have never tried to log in before, so how can that be?

I can't find my school in the application's drop down box(es).

Check both the City and the School Name drop down lists for alternative spellings or abbreviations of either the city or the school name. For instance, look for St. as well as Saint. Also, schools are located by their official mailing address, so make sure you are looking in the correct city. If you are attending an institution that has multiple campuses, be sure you choose the correct campus.


If you still cannot find your school, please return to the Contact Us form to request assistance. In the Comments section, please include the following information:


  • Full school name
  • School's complete mailing address
  • For high schools, please include the CEEB code (you can get this from your Guidance/College Counseling Office or visit the ACT wesbite)


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