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Sites for older students

Here are some aid sites worth checking out if you are a "nontraditional student" -- meaning an older person heading back to the classroom.

*At Finaid.com, there's a page of links and tips for nontraditionals. Many state colleges allow older residents to audit courses for free when classroom space is available. Income is also key to winning financial aid, so even older students need to fill out the Department of Education's FAFSA form.

*Finding grants for adults in college "takes research," notes Collegescholarships.org. It says to look for grants under the headings of nontraditional or "special populations" programs, and lists several that are designated for adult women.

*Older students who can demonstrate financial need can qualify for federal Pell Grants, which provide up to $5,500 per year that students don't need to pay back. If you already have a bachelor's degree, you can't get a Pell Grant. But the U.S. Department of Education site (studentaid.ed.gov/) describes the program and links to descriptions of other programs for adults.

*Geteducated.com helps adult students find and compare accredited online degree programs.

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