According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the number of single mothers in college more than doubled between 1999 and 2012. Between the costs of child care and time caring for their children, single moms face unique obstacles to getting their college degree. Luckily, there are a number of scholarships for single moms and moms in general to pay for college.
These scholarships for single mothers include awards that support students who are attending both two year and four year institutions. These types of scholarships are so important because they will transform the lives of moms and their children.
How to win scholarships for moms and single moms
Just as with any scholarship, scholarships for moms and single moms receive a lot of applications. They can only choose the most compelling applications to award their money to, so it’s important to stand out in yours. One great way to do this is to research the organization and read the scholarship carefully to figure out what values they are looking for in a candidate.
Once you have this figured out, try to emphasize these values in your essays and application materials. In order to craft an effective essay, we recommend checking out some of our guides, like how to write a winning scholarship essay, how to write an essay about yourself, and how to tailor your writing to 250 or 500 word limits. We can also walk you through some common scholarship essay prompts and help you write a scholarship resume.
Finally, don’t forget to apply to local scholarships! Local scholarships typically receive far less applications than nationwide or international ones. This means that each applicant has a better chance of winning. Look for some local community organizations, whether it is a church or community college or community center, and see if there are any opportunities offered.
Other ways to save
College scholarships aren’t the only way for women returning to school to save as they further their education! There are many other ways you can help pay for qualifications to advance your career. Here are a few other things to consider, including college alternatives:
An increasing number of employers offer tuition reimbursement. Some of the best-known tuition reimbursement programs in the country are at Starbucks, Chipotle, and Amazon. Try asking your HR department to see whether this is a benefit your employer offers.
Certificate programs require significantly less time and money than a regular college education. They are typically more flexible time-wise as well. All of these make for a perfect solution for moms returning to school! There are a wide variety of certificate programs out there, including an especially inexpensive one from Google.
Related: Top certificates to earn this year
Computer science is one of the fastest-growing industries out there, so there’s no surprise that more and more people are getting computer science degrees. Coding bootcamps are a great college alternative to help you start a coding career.
Bootcamps often require no college education or prior knowledge. Additionally, they often offer income-share agreements or suspended tuition. Some won’t make you begin to pay off your tuition until you’ve landed a job after graduation. When they first began, coding bootcamps were very intensive experiences that would be difficult to maintain while raising a child. However, many opportunities now are flexible and doable for moms. One example is Flatiron School.
Also see: Top coding bootcamp scholarships
Online college is another burgeoning alternative to traditional four-year colleges. Many schools are offering courses through sites like Coursera. This is an especially popular option for certificates, but also for advanced degrees. They are less expensive, more flexible, and less time-intensive than four-year colleges. This makes them all the more feasible for single parents.
Although their prestige is still forming because it is a relatively new concept, the effects of COVID have helped to make more of the population accept online college as a college alternative.
Also see: Top scholarships for online students
Frequently asked questions about scholarships for moms and single moms
Do single moms qualify for Pell Grants?
There are four main factors that determine Pell Grant eligibility:
- Students must demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA
- Students must be US citizens or eligible non-citizens
- Students must be attending college as an undergraduate student
- Eligible students may only use their Pell Grant for 12 semesters (this is total semesters and not necessarily consecutive semesters).
As long as you check off the above eligibility boxes, you will be eligible for a Pell Grant! There is no maximum age for eligibility. Remember, applying for the FAFSA will also qualify you for other types of financial aid including federal student loans and work study.
Do parents qualify for the FAFSA?
Yes – parents do qualify for the FAFSA! The FAFSA will allow you to unlock need-based financial aid to pay for college. This can include need-based grants, like the Pell Grant, which do not need to be paid back and federal student loans which can have more favorable interest rates and more flexible repayment plans available to you.
We recommend that every single mother who is contemplating going back to college or finishing their degree applies for financial aid with the FAFSA. The other benefit to the FAFSA is that you can typically combine need-based financial assistance with merit scholarships.
Where else can moms find scholarships?
We recommend that you start by looking at scholarships offered to your community. Chances are that your local community offers some great scholarship opportunities. We are a big fan of local scholarships, because students have a better chance of winning due to the smaller applicant pool. You can check out our guide to local scholarships to learn more about how to find, apply for, and win local scholarships.
You can also check out the websites of any college you are interested in. Some hold scholarships specifically for moms and single moms, like this scholarship at Wilson College. We also recommend that you try out our scholarship search tool! This will custom-match you with vetted scholarships and update as deadlines pass and new opportunities open.
What educational grants do moms qualify for?
One of the most useful educational grants for moms in school is the Pell Grant. This is only an option for those pursuing an undergraduate education, but it provides a substantial amount of money based on financial need. The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship is another amazing grant for moms over 35.
Do single dads qualify for scholarships too?
Single dads also qualify for a wide range of scholarships. The best way to start off the search is to fill out the FAFSA and to look into scholarships from your employer and from local organizations. You should also check out our scholarship search tool!
Can I get a scholarship for being a mom?
Yes – there are many scholarships out there reserved specifically for moms to pursue a higher education! One great example is the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Scholarship. This annual scholarship program offers low-income women with children up to $5,000 to put towards education or professional training. Applicants must have already finished high school and children who are currently a minor.
Explore these other scholarship categories:
- Scholarships for nontraditional students
- Top scholarships for adults
- Scholarships for online college
- Easy scholarships to apply to
- Top no essay scholarships
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