If you're pursuing a degree to build a rewarding career caring for senior citizens or studying age-related biological and psychological changes, then gerontology scholarships can help you.
As the large baby boomer population continues to age, the United States is seeing a rising demand for health and human services professionals to focus their careers in gerontology or geriatrics. After all, it's estimated that there will be 72.1 million Americans over age 65 by 2030, which will account for around 19% of the nation's total population. Gerontologists will be in need for the foreseeable future to ensure older adults can continue to lead happy, healthy, and active lives later in life.
Whether you're striving for a career in social work, nursing, psychology, nutrition, therapy, medicine, or any other discipline, the following are 20 great scholarships available to afford a specialization in gerontology.
1. A Place for Mom Senior Care Innovation Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Annually, A Place for Mom offers the Senior Care Innovation Scholarship for $1,000 to five individuals who are intending to pursue a degree in gerontology, nursing, medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sociology, or social work. Eligible candidates must be citizens of the United States or Canada outside of Quebec, be currently taking classes at an accredited university, have a history of volunteer work with seniors, and wish to pursue a career helping the senior population. Applicants must write a 500-900 word essay describing an innovation that could improve the quality of life for seniors.
2. Alzheimer's/Gerontology Scholarship Award
Deadline: February 15th
Since 1984, the Sigma Kappa Foundation has recognized the need for the continued study of aging to meet the unique needs of increasingly critical problems facing older Americans by offering the Alzheimer's/Gerontology Scholarship Award each year. Eligible applicants must be upper-division undergraduate or graduate students, be majoring in gerontology, attend an accredited U.S. institution, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have at least one year's study remaining, and be Sigma Kappa sorority members in good standing. Applications must include official transcripts, enrollment verification, and two letters of recommendation.
3. Aracelis Francis Minority Scholarship
Deadline: June 6th
Through the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW), the Aracelis Francis Minority Scholarship is awarded for $1,000 annually to outstanding American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, African American, and Hispanic students who are presently enrolled full-time in a Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Qualified candidates must attend a school accredited by the CSWE, exhibit financial need, and demonstrate a passion for a career in gerontological social work. Students must be nominated by one or more professors based on their academic achievement, leadership potential, and dedication.
4. Clarence Pearson Internship in Aging
Deadline: June 8th
Offering a $5,000 honorarium, the Clarence Pearson Internship in Aging is available through the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) to graduate students who are pursuing a degree related to gerontology or public health to make contributions to the field of age-related research. Qualified applicants must be currently enrolled in an accredited graduate program in the greater New York City area, have support from an academic mentor, demonstrate financial need, and maintain academic excellence. Selected interns will spend two to three days a week for a full semester gaining deeper knowledge of research in elderly health concerns.
5. Dorothy Fruit Gerontology Student Scholarship
Deadline: February 14th
At Kent State University, the School of Lifespan Development & Educational Sciences has created the Dorothy Fruit Gerontology Student Scholarship to present $500 to outstanding junior students majoring in human development and family studies with a gerontology concentration. For consideration, candidates must be currently enrolled full-time, have completed at least 60 college credit hours, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and display work experience and/or volunteer service related to gerontology. Applications won't be accepted without a current official transcript, an up-to-date resume, and a one-page essay discussing career goals.
Dorothy Fruit Gerontology Student Scholarship
405 White Hall
Kent, OH 44242
6. Dr. Billy Hu Social Gerontology Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
In honor of a beloved professor originally from China who spent 36 years serving as the coordinator of graduate programs in the Department of Sociology, the Dr. Billy Hu Social Gerontology Scholarship is granted annually for $1,000 by the University of Central Missouri. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time, maintain good academic standing, be pursuing the M.A. in Sociology or M.S. in Social Gerontology degree, be international students, and demonstrate a commitment to service with senior populations. Applicants must attach a 300-word career goal statement, a current transcript, and two references.
7. Elderhostel K. Patricia Cross Research Grant
Deadline: March 31st
Sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Elderhostel K. Patricia Cross Research Grant is available to provide $5,000 annually to doctoral students who are focusing their studies in psychology, education, gerontology, neuroscience, leisure studies, aging, or social work. Eligible doctoral candidates must be interested in researching topics relevant to aging or later-life learning, be engaging in dissertation research, attend an accredited U.S. graduate school, and exhibit financial need. Applications should include a current CV or resume, a maximum three-page research proposal, and at least one letter of recommendation.
Elderhostel K. Patricia Cross Research Grant
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
8. Henry Welch Scholarship in Aging
Deadline: November 26th
In honor of his 40-year career in human services, the Henry Welch Scholarship in Aging is offered by the Colorado Gerontological Society to award $1,000 per academic year to full-time students pursuing academic standings in aging, such as gerontology, social work, public policy, nursing, geriatrics, or physical therapy. Applicants must be matriculated at an accredited Colorado college, have need for financial assistance, possess previous experience in gerontology, and be committed to the aging field. Candidates must write a narrative essay describing their leadership qualities and specific career objectives working with seniors.
9. HPGS/ALOH Graduate Scholarships
Deadline: May 31st
In collaboration with Assisted Living Options Hawaii (ALOH), the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society (HPGS) proudly distributes annual scholarships for $1,000 to graduate students at the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, or Chaminade University who are pursuing goals related to careers in gerontology and geriatrics. Eligible candidates must carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have at least two semesters remaining before graduation, reside in Hawaii, and show evidence of financial need. Applicants must demonstrate interest in gerontology by taking aging-related courses, working/volunteering with older adults, or conducting a research project relevant to aging.
10. John Vance Academic Scholarship
Established by the Northwest Ohio Gerontological Association (NOGA), the John Vance Academic Scholarship is distributed for up to $2,000 annually in honor of a long-time member who directed Information Services for the Elderly (ISE) and championed many advocacy groups for senior citizens. Qualified applicants must be NOGA members who are pursuing a graduate degree or CEU certificate program at an accredited Ohio institution with a focus in aging and gerontology. Interested individuals must submit an application with a short personal statement explaining their financial hardship in completing training related to aging adults.
11. Kott Gerontology Institute Scholarship Program
Deadline: April 1st
First founded in 2004 by the Russell and Josephine Kott Memorial Charitable Trust, the Kott Gerontology Institute Scholarship Program is hosted annually to award $10,000 to advanced graduate students enrolled in accredited university programs related to gerontology, social work, psychology, counseling, law, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other professions serving the elderly. Qualified students must be pursuing a degree in the Chicago area, show sincere interest in gerontology, submit a resume, and attach two personal references. Recipients will complete an internship with at least 720 hours of on-site experience in developing community-based projects for senior populations.
12. Leonard and Frances A. Gernant Scholarship
Deadline: December 15th
Within the College of Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University, the Leonard and Frances A. Gernant Scholarship is presented annually for at least $500 to undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in a degree program focused on gerontology and older adults. Qualified candidates must be full-time students carrying a minimum of 12 semester hours at Western Michigan each term, demonstrate high overall academic achievement, exhibit financial need, and be dedicated to pursuing a career in health or human services with aging populations. Recipients who maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 can renew the scholarship for two years.
13. Mary Opal Wolanin Scholarship
Deadline: June 6th
Through the National Gerontological Nursing Association (NGNA), the Mary Opal Wolanin Scholarship is awarded each year for $500 to provide financial support to undergraduate or graduate nursing students who intend to work in a gerontology or geriatric setting after graduation. Qualified applicants must be enrolled in a nationally accredited nursing program in the United States, carry a minimum of six credits per term, possess an overall GPA of 3.0 or above, and wish to improve nursing care for older adults. Before the deadline, applications must be submitted with two letters of recommendation, an official transcript, and a goals statement.
Mary Opal Wolanin Scholarship
3493 Lansdowne Drive Suite 2
Lexington, KY 40517
14. Myrna D. Schlegel Scholarship Fund
Deadline: November 14th
Administered through the Alzheimer's Association (ALZ), the Myrna D. Schlegel Scholarship Fund is designed to provide two $5,000 awards annually to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in a helping profession with a focus on gerontology. Applicants must be enrolled full-time at an accredited Texas institution, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, have completed at least 30 college credits, and wish to build a career in research or treating individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Applications should include proof of enrollment, a faculty reference, and a one-page essay on future aspirations.
Myrna D. Schlegel Scholarship Fund
4144 North Central Expressway Suite 750
Dallas, TX 75204
15. Oregon Retired Educator's Gerontology Scholarship
Deadline: February 21st
Each year, the Oregon Retired Educator's Association (OREA) offers the Gerontology Scholarship to provide $1,000 to two outstanding undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing a degree focused in the field of gerontology at Portland State University, Oregon State University, or Marylhurst University. Interested students must submit a typed letter of introduction, an updated official transcript, and one letter of recommendation from a college faculty member in gerontology. Selection will be based on candidates' academic achievement, employment history, academic honors, extra-curricular activities, volunteer service, and future goals in serving older adults.
16. Patricia G. Archbold Scholar Award
Deadline: January 16th
Granting $50,000 per academic year, the Patricia G. Archbold Scholar Award is given through the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) to students who are enrolled or accepted in a doctoral nursing degree program for gerontological nursing at a participating institution. Eligible applicants must be registered nurses, hold a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, plan an academic or research career, show leadership ability, and demonstrate potential for long-term contributions to geriatric care. Scholars must maintain full-time student status and attend the NHCGNE Annual Leadership Conference.
17. Ruth C. Easley Gerontology Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Established by the North Atlantic Region of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation (AKAEAF), the Ruth C. Easley Gerontology Scholarship is given annually for $1,000 to sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate students who are enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. institution to pursue a career in geriatric health or human services. Applicants must be from Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont. Preference is given to students who hold an overall GPA of 3.0 or above and are committed to community service.
18. Ruth DeHart Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st, June 1st, and October 1st
In honor of her prolific career in promoting the betterment of Houston's aging people, the Ruth DeHart Memorial Scholarship is granted three times each year for $1,000 through the Houston Gerontological Society (HGS). Qualified applicants must be seeking to advance a career in aging, have a history of successful employment or volunteer work in elder care, pass a background check, live within the Greater Houston area, and have earned at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Online applications must be accompanied by a current resume, one letter of support from a current or previous employer, and a personal statement describing candidates' interests in working with seniors.
Ruth DeHart Memorial Scholarship
811 Dallas Street Suite 700
Houston, TX 77002
19. SE4A Annual Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 8th
Through the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A), an annual scholarship program is hosted to deliver $1,000 for junior, senior, or graduate students who are pursuing a career in gerontology or geriatrics. Eligible students must be currently enrolled full-time with good academic standing at an accredited university in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, or South Carolina. Recipients will be chosen based on their financial need, application aptness, demonstrated writing skills, ability to maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, and commitment to a career working with elderly people.
20. Virginia M. Smyth Gerontology Scholarship
Deadline: April 24th
Administered through the Georgia Gerontology Society (GGS), the Virginia M. Smyth Gerontology Scholarship is designed to grant $3,000 annually to one deserving graduate student who is committed to pursuing a career in the field of aging. Qualified candidates must be attending an accredited university in Georgia, showcase strong leadership skills, have a vision for advancing the gerontology field, and be embarking upon professional development in studying age-related issues. In addition to the tuition funding, recipients will be given $600 to cover travel and accommodation expenses for attending the GGS Annual Conference.
Earning formal training in gerontology can lead to numerous career options working with elderly populations in hospitals, nursing homes, counseling centers, hospices, home health services, government agencies, private companies, and more. However, you'll first need to finance your undergraduate or graduate degree concentrated in gerontology and scholarships for geriatric studies can help.
Luckily, these are just 20 of the great gerontology scholarships available to cut tuition costs for caring individuals like you who wish to improve the physical, social, and emotional well-being of people in late adulthood.