Thank you for helping to bring the focus back to the original question! In my particular case, I would be studying towards a personal goal, not for career growth - so I am more interested in the acceptance and financial support aspect.
I appreciate your input about admissions and assistantships being age-blind. It is very welcome and encouraging news! I had assumed there probably would be an age bias, so am happy to see, from multiple responses, that I was wrong! This opens up all kinds of possibilities for the future.
Thank you very much for your thorough response!
Best regards, Beth