Being a single mother is a difficult task. Single mothers juggle the challenges of spending quality time with their children, earning a living, and managing their household. The stress of attending college, irrespective of whether part-time or full time makes many single moms feel overwhelmed. It is no secret that throughout the United States, single-parent families have risen over a few decades. It is also no secret that education costs in the United States are increasing dramatically. Financial assistance for single moms in college is the only way through which financially challenged single moms can offset the education cost and can attain financial stability by pursuing higher education.
Can Single Mothers Acquire Higher Education?
Going back to college was once considered to be a privilege in the past, but in recent days acquiring an education and completing a college degree is a necessity that helps individuals to gain suitable employment. As per a report from the National Center For Children In Poverty, the poverty rates among single-parent families are higher than those of two-parent families. Lack of education is a significant factor that leads to unemployment and low wages. Single mothers have more difficulty accessing higher education and returning to college than two-parent households. Financially challenged single mothers can acquire higher education by applying for financial assistance programs and educational grants.
What Are The Different Resources That Enable Single Moms To Afford College?
With the steep rise in college costs and low income, single mothers with limited resources cannot attend college. Students who are solo moms trying to juggle parenthood and attending college can get massive help by availing of financial assistance programs. These programs are funded by the government as well as nonprofit organizations and private institutions. Paying for college and tuition can be a significant hindrance for single moms. With assistance programs, they can reduce their financial burden and finance their education quickly. Some of the resources that single moms can avail to fund higher education and go back to college are as follows:
1. Institutional Aid
Institutional aid, also known as college aid, is provided by universities and colleges throughout the United States. Institutional aid opportunities are minimal and are often reserved for students who have the highest financial need. Single mothers can sponsor their education by opting for institutional aid. The first and foremost step is to apply for the FAFSA form, through which colleges can calculate the amount you can contribute to a college education. Students who require financial assistance beyond what their respective institutions offer can consider subsidized loans, scholarships, and federal student grants.
2. Federal Grants
Low-income students, including single mothers, can demonstrate a high financial need and qualify for federal grants. Eligible candidates will be getting federally subsidized money which would not be repaid; therefore, it is an attractive option for struggling single moms compared to a loan. The most common federal grant is the Pell Grant which offers financial assistance so undergraduate students can afford college.
Another resource for single mothers and low-income students to fund their college education is scholarships which are free money awarded based on financial need or merit. Scholarship programs are similar to grants and are considered gifts that need not be repaid. Scholarships on the national level are pretty generous but competitive. Scholarships at the local level are easier to grab as it contains a smaller pool of applicants. For instance, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation provides scholarships to women with educational goals and financial needs.
4. Employer Tuition Assistance
Single mothers who are currently employed can be eligible to receive employer tuition assistance. You can contact the human resource office of your employer and seek whether any tuition assistance is available for you. This assistance reimburses tuition fees, course-related supplies, equipment, and books. As a condition of eligibility, employers may require applicants to work for the company for years after graduation or keep working.
5. Federal Work-Study Program
Single mothers with minimal living expenses and who must support their children while working consider federal work-study programs. This program enables students to get part-time work on and off campus up to a particular amount, and around 35% of their wages will be reimbursed by the federal government. Qualified single mothers will get a salary at the prevailing federal minimum wage, and the aid amount can vary depending on your skill, experience, and job requirements.
List Of Financial Assistance Programs For Single Moms In College
There are a lot of federal and state-funded aid programs available for low-income students, including single parents, that help them to keep up with the rising cost of higher education and attend college. If you are willing to acquire higher education to improve your finances and your family’s future, then the following programs and resources will help you to get started.
1. Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is one of the most effective educational grants that are awarded to low-income undergraduate students who can demonstrate a genuine and robust financial need. To be eligible for this program, you need to complete filing FAFSA to showcase your financial need and must not hold a graduate, bachelor’s, or professional degree. The grant award can reach up to $6895 to students who can showcase their highest financial need and can fulfill all the eligibility requirements as well. The exact award amount may vary depending on the cost of attending school, the financial need of the applicants, and whether you intend to attend part-time or full-time college.
2. PCE, P.E.O. Program For Continuing Education
This need-based grant program is designed for needy women who wish to complete a certification program or a college degree. The main objective of this program is to enable low-income students, primarily single mothers, to acquire higher education and advance their careers. The program understands the importance of higher education, which helps gain suitable employment and is the only way through which people can support their families financially. The grant award received through this program can be used by single moms towards tuition, supplies, books, transportation, fees, childcare expenses while studying or in class, equipment, and uniform.
3. ANSWER Scholarship
This scholarship program enables single moms to go back to college. The ANSWER organization strives to educate single mothers so that they can set a good example for their children. Single mothers must be nontraditional students, be 25 years or older, and be the primary providers for one school-age child. Eligible participants must participate in the Mentors For Mom Program to seek this scholarship. Single mothers must be accepted or enrolled as full-time students at a recognized institution to be eligible for this program. Before applying for this program, single mothers must ensure that the organization is serving the towns and counties where they are residing.
4. Scholarships 4 Moms
The Scholarships 4 Moms organization believes that higher education is critical to get an excellent job and provides security to one’s family. This organization was formed exclusively for mothers so that they can acquire higher education and can fund their studies. Single mothers of dependent children and expectant mothers can apply for this program, and to be eligible for the grant away; they must be a citizen of the United States and be more than 18 years of age. They must also be enrolled in an accredited college or institution in the United States or a college within three months of applying for this program. The grant award that you can receive once you qualify for the program is $10,000. This scholarship award is given five times throughout the year.
5. Soroptimist Live Your Dreams Award
Live Your Dream Awards provide financial assistance of up to $16,000 so that single mothers and low-income women can cover the cost of books, childcare, and transportation. The grant award enables mothers to focus on acquiring higher education and worry less about how they can fund their studies. To be eligible for this program, applicants are required to be the primary caregiver of their dependence and also showcase a genuine and robust financial need. Applicants must enroll in a skill/ vocational training program or an undergraduate degree program.
6. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program
The main objective of this scholarship program is to end the cycle of domestic abuse and violence by providing women, including single mothers, an excellent opportunity to pursue higher education and attend financial independence. To be eligible for this program, single moms must showcase that they are survivors of intimate partner abuse or domestic violence. They must be separated from their abusive manner for at least one year.
7. Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation
The foundation primarily aims to provide education access, good educational opportunities, and equity for needy women, primarily single mothers. The Patsy TakeMoto Mink Education Foundation provides grants of up to $5000 to eligible candidates who wish to afford college and continue their education. Applicants must be a citizen of the United States, be 17 years of age, be mothers of dependent children, and get admission in a nonprofit, accredited institution or certification program in the United States to qualify. This program targets low-income mothers and needy women and gives them a chance for self-sufficiency.
8. FSEOG, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
This program is provided to low-income undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs who cannot continue their education due to limited financial resources. To be eligible for these educational grants, single mothers must complete filing FAFSA or free application for federal student aid form. Based on your proposal form and eligibility criteria, the financial aid department of your college will grant an FSEOG award to you.
9. Capture The Dream Single Parent Scholarship
The Single Parent Scholarship Award is a grant of $1000 given to eligible low-income students so they can attend college and cover the cost of tuition. Single mothers residing in the Bay Area can apply for this program if they intend to attend a nonprofit, accredited college. The beneficiaries of these programs are given grant awards based on many factors like leadership qualities, financial need, community service experience, academic performance, and professional recommendation.
10. Elevate-A-Life Scholarship
This scholarship program provides a $20,000 grant per academic year to single parents that they can pay towards their tuition or childcare expenses. This scholarship award is given for four years or whenever candidates receive a degree. To be eligible for this program, single mothers must have one child below 14 years of age and have a strong financial need. Single mothers whose college major is in the area associated with human resources can apply for this program.
For single moms acquiring higher education may appear to be a far-fetched idea; however, there are plenty of options, from work study, federal loans, grants, and scholarship programs that enable them to continue their education. There are grants and scholarship programs that are designed for single mothers to fill the gap. An excellent place to locate financial resources is by contacting the financial aid office of the particular college or university you have enrolled in or are interested in taking admission. Apart from the state and federal government, many colleges and universities offer financial assistance to single parents.