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AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program

How to Apply

The AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program is helping win back opportunity for low-income, 50-plus women by funding education, training, and skills upgrades that can lead to better employment and increased financial security for women and their families.


The application period for the 2012-2013 academic year has closed. We are reviewing the applications and will notify scholarship winners in June.



Eligibility Requirements

An applicant for the AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program must be:

  • A woman, age 50-plus by March 30, 2012
  • Low-income
  • Pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associates degree, or a bachelor's degree
  • Enrolled in a U.S. Department of Education accredited school or techinical program within 6 months of the scholarship award date 


An applicant, when taking into account income and family size, must be at 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or less to qualify for a scholarship. If an applicant does not meet this criteria they will not have access to the application, because they are not eligible for the scholarship.


Selection Factors

Scholarship winners are chosen by an independent selection committee established by the AARP Foundation.


Priority is given to women in these categories:

  • Those who have been unemployed for more than one year
  • Those in low-paying jobs with no career opportunities
  • Those who are raising the children of another family member
  • Those who are women veterans

In addition, the following factors are considered for each applicant:

  • Financial need
  • Personal circumstances and achievements
  • Educational and career goals
  • Challenges faced in life
  • Impact of scholarship



Scholarships may be used for any course of study at a U.S. Department of Education-accredited public or private post-secondary school, including community colleges, technical schools, and four-year universitities. Applicants should check with their schools enrollment or financial aid office to confirm U.S. Department of Education accreditation.


Scholarship funds are paid directly to the institution and are used for tuition, fees, and books.


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.


Mentoring Program

The AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program provides mentors for one year. The mentors are trained retention professionals who help the women:

  • Set academic and career goals
  • Work through time-management issues
  • Improve study skills
  • Understand and navigate the “hidden curriculum”/social mores of colleges and universities
  • By providing sustained, effective encouragement and guidance to ensure academic progress
  • Face challenges facing low-income, high risk adult learners, including addressing basic needs and identification of other sources of financial aid for school
  • Build and maintain confidence
  • By providing general career planning guidance

The mentors achieve these goals through online and telephone mentoring but there could be cases where the mentor and student live close enough to provide opportunity for face-to-face meetings over the course of the year. Learn more about the Mentoring Program.


Important Dates


Date Action

Feb. 1, 2012


Application period opens at 9:00 a.m. CT


March 30, 2012


Application period closes at 5:00 p.m. CT


June 2012


Awards are announced via email


August 2012


Scholarships available for disbursement to institutions


December 2012


Deadline to be enrolled in an accredited institution



The scholarship program is made possible by AARP Foundation with generous support from AARP.


Frequently Asked

Find answers to your questions about the AARP Foundation Women's Scholarship Program, including:


  • What information does the application require?
  • How large are the scholarships?
  • Where can I get help with the online application tool?


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