Going back to school as a single mom can be worth it as it will open the gateway to numerous career opportunities and enable you to earn a higher salary. Pursuing higher education is worth the investment if you are using education to switch to a good-paying industry. Single moms can go back to school by applying for grants, scholarships, and assistance programs. You can also take student loans that come at affordable interest and help you to cover your educational expenses. Attending school at a community college or part-time will further help you in lowering the costs. Grants and scholarships are free money for single moms to go back to school and are designed to reduce their financial burden. Single moms are recommended to contact their school’s financial aid office and learn about financial assistance programs and scholarships that are available to them.
How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom?
In today’s era, it can be challenging for single mothers to stay on top of their responsibilities. Single moms keep struggling to make ends meet and have a lot on their plate. Unfortunately, research states around 27.5% of single moms in the United States remain unemployed due to several reasons. Working as a single mom in today’s competitive world can be daunting. However, being a responsible single mom you need to have the determination to make the most out of your career and set a bright example for your children. If you are a single mom going back to school then you are at the right place and this guide will help you to know how to further your education and succeed as a single mom.
1. Find Reliable Childcare
Going back to school as a single mom is a big commitment. You need to invest your money, community, and time if you’re taking your studies seriously. You need to consider the fact that when you are going to school or working on your homework you cannot give adequate attention to your children. No matter whether you are opting for a degree program online or in-person you need to have proper childcare to have the peace of mind that your children are taken care of in your absence. Having a strong support system in front of family members and close friends will help you to reach your educational goals easily. You can rely on your friends and families if you need time to focus on your studies. There are also professional childcare services that you can hire for your children. Financial aid for single moms going back to school is provided in the United States which will help you to cover the childcare expenses if you’re going through financial difficulty.
2. Make Realistic Career Goals
It is normal to be intimidated by going back to school as a single mom. Around 40 million adults in the USA have low literacy and find it difficult to handle the educational system due to different reasons. If you are ready to go back to school and fulfill your educational goals then you need serious commitment to succeed. Setting realistic expectations will help you to accomplish your career goals faster. You need to have a basic idea about what you want from your future career, which is the quickest and easiest way to achieve it, and how to succeed.
3. Consider Different Academic Options
Having a clear direction for your future career will make it easy for you to choose an academic program that suits your needs and desires. Being a single mom you have to consider your schedule availability and financial responsibilities before making a decision. Take time and research what you want from your academic program. Then start researching about options available at your disposal. You need to focus on whether you want to focus your time and energy on a full-time career education program or specialized certificate programs. Do not settle for less no matter what benefits or interests you the most. Look around to find the right academic option which meets the standards of your academic goals. You can also seek professional advice and guidance to choose the best academic option.
4. Do Not Lose Hope If You Struggle Through Your Semester
It is important to stay committed and dedicated if you want to fulfill your academic goals. By investing in your career you invest in a bright future for yourself and your children. There may be times when you feel that you’re struggling throughout your semester. The responsibilities and obstacles of a single mom are more in contrast to an average student. This is the reason why single moms in the USA are not graduating as much as normal average students. Staying focused and positive will help you to address your ultimate career goals.
5. Pay Attention To Your Physical And Mental Health
While investing in your education and family’s future you tend to neglect your care routine. As a single mom going back to school, it is important to consider your physical and mental health. Single mothers go through a lot of anxiety and stress therefore you should balance out your mental and physical health and prioritize healthy habits. Take a balanced diet, exercise, have good sleep, and take breaks in between. Do not feel discouraged if you’re struggling in your academics since single moms go back to school and have to face a tough time. You can take the help of resources like grants for single moms going back to school to get through your financial difficulties.
Assistance For Single Moms Going Back To School
Higher education is a huge expense and for single mothers, this challenge seems to be an impossible feat. Single mothers usually suspend their educational pursuits to take better care of their children and manage household work. Many have to take up multiple jobs and settle at low wages to provide for their families. So how can a single man go back to school? This is possible by availing assistance for single moms through numerous scholarships and grants. These assistance programs will enable single moms who are living in poverty to climb higher ladders of educational success and get a good job. Following is the list of assistance programs for single moms who wish to go back to school.
1. Federal Pell Grant
This is a need-based grant program funded by the federal government and is available to undergraduate students including single moms students who belong to the low or moderate-income categories. You can be eligible for the federal Pell Grant by completing forms or within the deadline. The maximum financial assistance in the academic year 2022 to 2023 is $6895. Whether you’re a single mom returning to college after taking a break from studies or a first time student, this financial need-based grant program will help you to cover your tuition and college expenses. The eligibility criteria of the Pell Grant program depend on your status such as whether you have enrolled in an accredited college as a part-time or full-time student, enrollment status for an academic year, total cost of attending school, and financial need which goes beyond your EFC.
2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Grants provide free money and need not be paid back. Single mothers apply for grants to fulfill their dream of going back to school and covering their educational expenses. The only difference between a grant and a scholarship is that while a scholarship is based on the merit of the student, grants are need-based. One popular federal grant apart from the federal Pell Grant is the FSEOG which can be available by filling out FAFSA. Single moms should make sure their school is a participating institution in this program before applying. The amount of financial assistance received through this program is somewhere between $100 to $4000 every year.
3. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
Single moms who want to afford college can get financial assistance through this program. The TEACH grant requires a service commitment as essential eligibility criteria. Single mothers who are pursuing teacher-related majors can cover their tuition fees by applying for the grant and are required to apply their teaching skills at certain schools after graduation. This grant initiative addresses the shortage of qualified teachers in areas serving low-income families. Eligible single-mom applicants can receive financial assistance up to $4000 annually provided they agree to commit to teaching in a high-need school for a minimum of four years. Candidates who accept TEACH funds however fail to honor their application to the grant program have to repay the financial assistance with interest.
4. Ford Opportunity Scholarship
Scholarships and financial assistance are provided to single mothers by the Ford Family Foundation which helps them to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The head of the household who is struggling without the support of a spouse can apply for this scholarship program. Single mothers who are facing significant challenges in life and wish to further their education can apply for a Ford Opportunities Scholarship. Applicants are required to belong to the state of Oregon or Siskiyou County California and have dependent children to take care of. Around 50 students every year receive this scholarship that covers 90% of their educational costs. The scholarship amount may vary between $1000 to $25,000 depending on the eligibility criteria and other factors.
5. Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
The federal government encourages students including single mom students to maintain high standards in their academics during the high school year by designing the Academic Competitiveness Grant Program. The eligibility criterion of the program will be depending on your financial need, high school GPA and other important factors as determined by FAFSA. The program distributes financial assistance of up to $750 for first-year college students while for second-year students the financial assistance received is up to $1300.
Other Grant Opportunities
Private advocacy groups and corporations sponsor grants and financial assistance programs for single moms who are going through financial hardship. There are many women’s organizations that help single moms go back to school such as the following:
- Capture The Dream organization in the California Bay Area helps single moms to overcome economic hardship and help them to pursue higher education. Both performance and need-based scholarships are provided to deserving single moms end the scholarship award of $1000 is given to eligible candidates.
- Arkansas Single Parents Scholarship Fund for single parents is a private funding source that helps single moms and dads to cover their educational expenses. Interested single moms who want to further their education can apply directly to the agency.
- The Sunshine Lady Foundation offers assistance to single moms who are going through abusive relationships or domestic violence. Access to education is the mission of the organization and so it helps victimized women by providing them with scholarships and financial assistance.
- Emerge Foundation empowers single mothers and other low-income women through education such as scholarship programs for mothers. The group has been operating for over a decade and has provided around $300,000 to single-mom students.
Single moms should keep an eye out for good-paying financial assistance programs that are available for them. These programs will not only help them to cover their educational expenses but also you can help them pay for their child care expenses. A good place to start looking for an assistance program is to consider the areas of your study. All the disciplines have a better scholarship and grants program available. Single moms pursuing a field that has been traditionally underrepresented by women like STEM fields will find many scholarship programs. These assistance and scholarship programs are competitive and hundreds or thousands of people apply for them every year therefore apply to multiple programs to qualify for at least one.