Can a college limit financial aid options based on age?

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Question:

I applied to attend a local college, and when I was discussing my financial aid options with the counselor,  there were some scholarships and stuff that had maximum age limits for candidates. Is that legal or is that age discrimination?

 

Answer:

The answer to your question depends on who is administering the scholarships. If the college itself is administering the scholarship and providing the funding, the answer is that the college probably cannot set a maximum age for applying for the scholarships. Most colleges receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. As an organization that receives federal funding, colleges are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of age, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1975. A scholarship with a maximum age limit would probably be considered discrimination on the basis of age. However, if the scholarship is a private scholarship, administered and provided by a private individual, the private individual may be able to restrict the scholarship based on any factors they choose.

Your best option would be to discover more about who is administering this scholarship, and then to speak with an attorney who specializes in age discrimination about potentially pursuing a claim against the college, if the college is in fact providing the funding. 

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