AARP is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of people age 50 and over. AARP offers a variety of services to members including travel discounts, health insurance programs and tax assistance workshops. While it awards no college grants, the organization does provide a scholarship program. Since 2007, AARP has sponsored the Women's Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance for college studies.
The Women's Scholarship Program has specific eligibility requirements. Potential recipients must have a low income and be age 40 or over. You must also be a previous recipient of any scholarship and be ready to use the AARP scholarship to support your second year of higher education. If you are accepted into the program, you must start classes within six months of the award date.
AARP allows you to use your scholarship at technical schools and vocational schools. You can also use the funds while in pursuit of an associate's degree or your bachelor's degree. Check with your school to make sure it is accredited by the Department of Education before applying for the scholarship. Only schools listed in the database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs at the Department of Education website are considered eligible institutions.
After the application deadline for the year has passed, AARP considers applications and awards the scholarships. Points given particular consideration by AARP include financial need, personal accomplishments, circumstances in your life, your future educational and professional goals, and the impact the scholarship could have on your life and the lives of those around you. If you are currently raising a child who belongs to another member of your family, are stuck in a low-paying job without the opportunity for advancement or access to health insurance and retirement benefits, or have been removed from the workforce for five years or more, your application is given extra priority by AARP.
The award amount of an AARP scholarship can vary from between $500 and $5,000 as of 2011, depending on your financial need and the cost of tuition at your chosen educational institution. AARP awards a variable amount of scholarships every year. In 2010 the nonprofit handed out 200 scholarships to deserving women. You must maintain your enrollment in school until the complete award is depleted.