You’re getting closer! Gather these important documents to review with your advisor.
  • Apply for federal and state grants and scholarships
  • Request transcripts from all previously attended schools
  • Consider what program mode best fits your needs – online, in-person, accelerated, etc.
  • Bring all of your questions to the meeting with your advisor

Grants (Free Money) For College

Many adults are eligible for federal and state grants. To determine your eligibility, apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as your taxes are filled. Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so act fast! If your finances remain unchanged from the previous year, you can use prior tax returns to apply. Remember, you have to apply for the FAFSA every year so keep your FSA ID in a safe place where you can access it.

Once your taxes are complete, follow the steps below:

  • Apply for FAFSA (the application is open from January 1st to June 30th) to determine your eligibility

State specific: grants are also offered through your state!

Still Want Help?

  • The Benefit Bank is a secure and FREE website for filing taxes, FAFSA and other public benefits. If your family earns less than $65,000 a year, you are eligible for their services. Enter your information and The Benefit Bank will file your taxes and FAFSA and identify more benefits for which you may be eligible. All this will take far less time than you’d expect.
  • To learn more about the ins and outs of student aid, such as learning about your Student Aid Report (SAR), which provides information on your eligibility for federal financial aid, and your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount of aid you will be expected to pay for your education, check out


You can and should apply for any scholarships you can to help offset the cost of your college education.  There are scholarships available in many interest areas.  Check out the websites below to explore scholarship opportunities. There are millions of scholarship dollars that go unclaimed every year;  the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to get one.  Remember, not all scholarships are need-based.

Check out opportunities at community and religious organizations, local businesses, and your place of employment. The Philadelphia Foundation also has scholarships for adult students.

Transcripts and Recommendations

  • Gather all transcripts from colleges you have attended in the past—no matter when and how long you attended. Sometimes colleges do not place time limits on transcripts. It’s best to collect them from all of your previous schools. Do NOT open official copies! You will need at get an official transcript to give to the school you decide to attend, but you should ask for an unofficial copy (which should be provided for free) to be used to determine how many credits will be accepted at your new college.
  • Request letters of recommendation that can be used for admissions and/or scholarship applications

Know your Options

There are lots of options for getting your degree:

  • Online, in-class, hybrid (a mix of online and in-person) where you will be in a classroom or a virtual classroom) with classmates and the instructor.
  • Accelerated programs offer courses that last about eight weeks (or less) instead of fourteen, but deliver the same amount of learning. Accelerated programs often have courses that start every five or seven weeks, so your courses may not run concurrently.
  • Adult online courses rely on engaged interaction with classmates and the instructor, either in real time (synchronous) or at a time that is convenient to the student (asynchronous.)
  • MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) do not translate easily into college credit.
  • Not sure about online or accelerated courses? Ask your advisor about workshops that help ease adults into online learning.