Picture the typical college or university student. You probably envisioned a teenage or twenty-ish kid who’s living it up at college, Animal House-style. Well, it may be time to rethink that. The average age of the college students has been rising, mostly due to adults returning to school. What are called “non-traditional” or “mature” students are becoming more the norm now.

There are various reasons this is happening. When the economy tanked, many newly-unemployed adults headed back to the classrooms to reinvent themselves career-wise. There also are some adults who have completed their careers and have made the decision to return to school to learn what they’re really interested in, versus what made money for them over the last few decades. Still other adults never got the chance to attend college or university earlier in their lives, or didn’t finish, and are taking the opportunity now.

As an older student, you have many advantages. You can qualify for government education grants, plus there are some scholarships that are reserved exclusively for mature students. In some cases, there are government grants for women who are pursuing math, science, or engineering. Some schools even permit retirement-age students to attend for free.

These government college grants are just an added benefit on top of the inherent advantages you already have, of real-world experience, discipline to study hard, and knowing what you want. It’s never too late to learn, especially when there are government grants for education to help you along!