Financial Aid Resources for Adult Learners

Many types of financial aid are available to adult students.


A grant is money given to students to help pay for their education. Often based on a student's financial need, grants may come from federal or state programs, or sometimes from private charitable organizations. Grants do not have to be repaid.

Federal grants

  • Pell Grants are awarded to students on the basis of financial need and do not have to be repaid. These grants are considered to be the foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and non-federal sources might be added.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate a strong financial need. The grant doesn't need to be repaid. It can help students pay for education expenses, including tuition, books, and room and board.

State grants


An education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest.

Federally-Sponsored Student Loans

  • Direct loans are designed to help students cover the costs of their school expenses. These loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized and students can use them to pay for education expenses. Students apply for these loans by filling out the FAFSA.

Private or Alternative Student Loans

These private student loans from banks or other lending institutions are not federally supported or guaranteed. Students must be enrolled to apply for these loans.


Scholarships aren't just for students graduating from high school - there are many available for adult learners. Check out the scholarship finder for more information.

Federal Work-Study

The federal work-study program allows students to cover part of their tuition and school expenses by working part-time on campus.

Off-Campus Employment

Visit your institution's career services office for more information about internships, cooperative education opportunities, and other job postings. This office usually has a network of employers who are willing to work around an employee's school schedule.

Applying for Student Financial Aid

  • Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the first step in the financial aid process. To be eligible to participate in federal financial aid and some state financial aid programs, a student must complete a FAFSA. Submit your FAFSA online at New Window icon.
  • Complete any supplemental institutional specific applications such as the West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-time Student Program Application. Talk to your RBA Coordinator or the financial aid office at your institution for more information.
  • Review your financial aid package with your RBA Coordinator or someone in the financial aid office at your institution.

General Student Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for financial aid, a student must:

  • Be pursuing a degree or certificate in an eligible program (included on the institution's program participation agreement);
  • Make satisfactory academic progress as established by institutional policy;
  • Meet minimum enrollment requirements (i.e., half-time for student loans); and
  • Not be in default on a student loan.

Looking for more information?

Check out the Financial Aid 101 guide or the Financial Aid Glossary.