Where Can I Find Scholarships for Single Moms?
The financial challenges of raising a family can make it especially difficult for single moms to go back to school. However, there are many grants and scholarships available to help single parents fund their education. Read on to learn where single moms can find financial assistance for school.
Difficult, But Not Impossible
Being a single mother raising children and managing household maintenance and finances on her own is difficult enough; add in term papers, group study sessions and exams, and she is presented with many barriers to college success. Fortunately, there is help, both financial and emotional, to assist single mothers in completing their education while providing for their family. However difficult it may seem, being a single mom and getting a college education is possible.
Federal Student Aid
The first, and easiest, step a single mother can take towards financing college is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By submitting a FAFSA, students can qualify for need-based grants, loans and work-study from Federal Student Aid (an office of the Department of Education). Also, eligibility for a variety of scholarships and grants offered by schools and private organizations is based on FAFSA results.
Institutional Scholarships or Grants
Many colleges and universities throughout the country offer their own scholarships or grants to admitted students. Some of this financial aid is slated for single moms. For example, Kirkwood Community College in Iowa offers the Carl and Doris McClain Family Endowed Scholarship for single parents who demonstrate financial need.
Most often, a school will list its financial aid opportunities on its financial aid website. It is also wise to make a trip to the school's financial aid office to speak with an academic advisor
Regional and Organizational Scholarships
Single moms can find additional scholarships or grants through third parties. These may be awarded by special interest groups, private companies or regional organizations. The following list, while not exhaustive, gives students an idea of what to look for in their area.
Regional Scholarships for Single Moms
- The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarships Fund is a scholarship fund set aside for low-income single parents attending postsecondary institutions.
- Helping Hands for Single Moms provides a monthly scholarship/stipend as well as other benefits such as medical and dental assistance, holiday gifts, home maintenance and counseling services. Applicants must be residents of Maricopa County in Arizona.
- The GFWC Women's Club of South County Scholarship is for residents of Washington County, RI. Applications are accepted for women over 21, but preference is given to single mothers.
Organizational Scholarships for Single Moms
- The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation offers an award for low-income women with children.
- The Soroptimist Club offers the Women's Opportunity Award, which is an educational award program for women who provide the primary financial support for their families. These awards are grants rather than scholarships.
- The Women's Independence Scholarship Program is a scholarship for women who have survived domestic abuse. Preference is given to single mothers.
Other Sources of Financial Aid
In addition to scholarships and grants reserved for single moms or single parents, there is a host of financial aid available based solely on need, academic merit or one of many other demographic factors. Some demographic areas that might also apply to single moms include the following: being a first-generation college student, being a military veteran, being a working student, and/or being an older student returning to college.
Also, there are professional organizations, such as the Society of Women Engineers, that offer special scholarships for women entering into a related field. For those who know what they would like to study, time spent researching these opportunities is likely to pay off.
Last, but not least, a simple web search could provide a list of useful resources. Use the search terms 'scholarships for single mothers' or 'scholarships for single parents.' Whatever the result, students should always be cautious when searching for scholarships online. Never pay someone to complete a FAFSA, and always be wary of any organization asking for money to qualify for a scholarship.
If you want to find out more about scholarship opportunities, read about scholarships for non-traditional students.