One of the most important things you can do as a single mother to increase your income and better take care of your family is to earn a college degree. However, with tuition on the rise and federal loans becoming more expensive, many single moms don’t think they can do it. The good news is that there are numerous scholarships and education grants that can make school affordable.
First Things First – FAFSA
The first step you’ll take will be to fill out your FAFSA. After filling it out in its entirety and submitting it, the government will tell you what your EFC is – otherwise known as Estimated Family Contribution. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid through the government, you’ll still need to fill out the form and get your EFC. Many of the scholarships and grants you may be eligible for will require it.
Speaking With Your Financial Aid Advisor
Your college or university will have a Financial Aid office, and they can be your first line of defense when searching for the right grants and scholarships. While we will cover some of the more readily available single mom scholarships across the country, your Financial Aid office can help you find local options. For example, most schools have specific scholarships and grants for residents who attend them, or there may be grants available exclusively to people from your home state.
Inquire About Tuition Reimbursement From Your Employer
Many single moms are surprised to learn that their employer offers tuition reimbursement. Ask your manager or boss if your company does. The downside to this option is that you will typically have to pay upfront, and will only be reimbursed if you earn a certain letter grade or above.
Single mother grants and scholarships You May Be Eligible For
If you are a part of specific minority group or belong to a church, then make sure you let your Financial Aid advisor know. There are frequently scholarships available to groups like Native Americans, African-Americans, or people of a certain religion.
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund
The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund is available only to women over the age of 35. As of today, over 1 million dollars have been given out to adult women who are trying to attend school but are financially unable to do so. The eligibility requirements are as follows:
– 35 and older
– U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident of the U.S.
– Enrolled in or accepted into an accredited school
– Pursuing one of the following: technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree
– Low income
The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund specifies the income eligibility requirements as well. For example, a household of 3 with an income of $31,900 will qualify. For a household of 2, the income cap is $23,243. Visit their website for more details on income requirements.
When awarding the scholarships, the foundation takes several additional factors into consideration, including: your goals, how you plan to achieve those goals, and specific challenges you’ve faced.
Talbots Charitable Foundation Scholarship
If it’s been 10 years since you received either your GED or high school diploma, then you may be eligible for the Talbots Charitable Foundation Scholarship. These scholarships are given based on need, so you’ll need the information from your FAFSA to apply.
Each year the organization gives out 6, $10,000 scholarships and 60, $1,000 scholarship. The $1,000 scholarships can be awarded to women who are attending either a 2 year or 4 year college. However, the $10,000 scholarships are only available to students attending 4 year colleges.
EMERGE, which stands for: Empowering Women Through Education, has given out more than $200,000 in scholarships over the last decade. Typically they award 10 scholarships per year, and each one is worth $5,000. The eligibility requirements are as follows:
– Applicants must provide an acceptance letter or official school transcript from the college they are attending / plan to attend
– Applicants must be at least 25
– Applicants must submit an essay
The criteria used to decide who gets the scholarships includes:
– Financial need
– Funding received from other places
– Career and life goals
– Essay contest
– Leadership and community activities
– Honors and awards received
Women In Transition Scholarship
One of the most popular degrees for women is an Accounting Degree. If you’re planning to pursue accounting, then the Women in Transition Scholarship may be available to you. The scholarship provides up to $16,000 over a course of 4 years. These scholarships are available specifically to adult women who’ve taken at least 2 years off of school and plan to return.
Help At the End of Your Education
Much of the focus is put on women who are just getting back to school, but there are plenty of women who have made it through 2 or more years and simply can’t make it the last year or two. There are scholarships and grants available specifically to you, if you’re in this situation. For example, the Women In Need Scholarship is for Juniors and Seniors who are having trouble getting the financing to finish their degrees.
College can seem expensive, but the truth is that not getting an education will cost you potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income over the course of your lifetime. The scholarships and grants on this page are a great starting point for single moms who want to return to school.