Scholarships and Grants for Single Moms They Shouldn’t Miss!


Going to college can be expensive, and the cost of education is a top obstacle for prospective students, especially single mothers. In 2015, only 31% of single moms aged 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, 54% of married moms had the same level of education. Data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that the number of single moms in college doubled between 2000 and 2012, but only a small percentage of those mothers graduated. How can single mothers with limited incomes afford to pursue a degree? Scholarships for single moms are a helpful way to lessen the financial burden of higher education. 




Scholarships and Grants for Single Moms


Let’s take a look at some of the best scholarships and grants specifically designed for single moms. 



1. Answer Scholarship Endowment


Started in 2006, the Answer Scholarship Endowment program provides funding and mentoring programs for single moms in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. These scholarships for single mothers are available to  women over 25 who are the primary caregivers for school-aged children. 


Potential applicants must be enrolled in a 4-year undergraduate degree program, a 2-year nursing school, or a 2-year degree in CPCC’s Health Careers Program. The minimum awards are $4,000 for a 4-year undergrad program and $2,000 for the nursing and CPCC programs. 



2. Capture the Dream


Capture the Dream provides scholarships for single mothers and minority students who are residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its mission is to help low-income students realize their long-term education goals through scholarships, grants, mentorships, and connections with community resources.


The $1,000 scholarship is available to low-income single parents seeking a 2- or 4-year degree at a not-for-profit accredited college. The scholarship board considers an applicant’s income, leadership experiences, academic records, and professional recommendations. The application period is open from April 1 to June 30.



2. The Sunshine Lady Foundation


Philanthropist Doris Buffett (sister to Warren Buffet) started The Sunshine Lady Foundation in 1996 by recruiting friends and family to help identify needs in their communities. It evolved into also providing scholarships for low-income students struggling to finance their education. Today Buffett’s Foundation invests in programs that help people across all walks of life. One of those programs is the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP).


WISP provides scholarship amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000 per semester or quarter to women survivors of domestic violence seeking to improve their lives through getting an education. Applicants have to have applied or been accepted into an accredited college or trade school and can be part or full-time students. First-time applicants can apply between January 1- and March 1 and September 1 – and November 1. Renewal applications are accepted once a year between January 1-March 1. 



3. Emerge


Emerge has been awarding scholarships to single mothers and other women in need for a decade. They believe that when you help an individual, you start a positive ripple effect. Georgia women who are considered non-traditional students and whose education journeys were interrupted for one reason or another are encouraged to apply. 


Women must be 25 years or older, accepted into an accredited institution, prove financial need, and write an application essay. The renewable scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000. The deadline for applications is mid-February.



Source: Pexels 



4. Mom to Scholar Scholarship


The Mom to Scholar Scholarship program is the brainchild of a mom who began her B.A. studies at the same time her oldest son started college. The program is open to mothers who are either starting their studies at an accredited college or trade school or who are continuing them after an interruption. 


Applicants must be 35 or older, demonstrate financial need, have proof of enrollment at a technical, community, or 4-year college/university, and write an essay on the reasons for going to school. The scholarship amount is $1,000, and the application deadline is June 1.



5. Law Family Single Parent Scholarship


The Law Family Single Parent Scholarship was created to assist single parents wanting to pursue a degree and create better lives for themselves and their families. 


This scholarship opportunity is open to anyone, with preference given to those who live in Kentucky. The application process includes a short essay on how being a single parent influenced the decision to go to school and how obtaining a degree will help the community. There are two $4,000 scholarships available, and the application deadline is April 11.



6. Ford Opportunity Program


The Ford Opportunity Program started by providing scholarships for single moms and dads pursuing a college degree. Today the program helps single parents of any age and adult learners who are older than 25. The scholarships cover 90% of the unmet costs which include tuition, books, room, board, etc. 


Residents of Oregon or Siskiyou County, CA pursuing their first bachelor’s degree at an accredited OR or CA public or private university are eligible to apply. This is a renewable scholarship for up to 4 years, and the deadline is March 1.



7. Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA)


There are several scholarships offered by EFWA for women pursuing undergraduate degrees in accounting. In particular, the Women in Transition and Women in Need scholarships are offered to moms who are the primary source of support for their families. 


The EFWA renewable scholarship amounts range from $2,000 to $4,000, and the application period closes on April 30.




Pell Grants and FAFSA


Financing an education is a challenge for every student, but single moms face additional obstacles. In addition to the basics of tuition, books, and housing, single mothers must also juggle daycare costs, their children’s interests, and the time demands of caring for a family. Grants for single mothers are designed to alleviate some of these struggles. 


The Pell Grant is a great resource because it is based entirely on need. Women searching for hardship grants for single mothers can qualify by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). 


The maximum amount of the grant varies from year to year, and the money a student receives is based on the financial information provided in the FAFSA. Pell Grants do not have to be paid back, helping to reduce the student debt load. The deadline for FAFSA is June 30, but each school has different deadlines so it’s important to keep on top of that. 



Source: Pexels 



Ways to Afford College


It can take a bit of work and some creativity to finance a college education. Scholarships and hardship grants for single mothers are two great avenues of funding but there are also other sources. 


  • Tuition-free: There are colleges, like the University of the People, for example, that offer tuition-free degree programs. By offering tuition-free courses, these colleges have removed one of the most significant barriers to higher education.
  • Employer Sponsorship: Employers have discovered that paying for education not only improves the lives of their employees, but the benefits for companies include higher retention rates, attracting better-qualified candidates, and improved morale. 


It doesn’t hurt to approach your Human Resources manager to discuss opportunities for scholarships for single mothers or grants for single moms. 



  • Online College: Most colleges have transitioned to offering degree programs both in-person and online. An online education tends to be less expensive because students aren’t paying for the additional overhead costs associated with traditional on-campus classes. 



Studying online also offers flexibility for students who have busy schedules filled with work and family commitments. 


  • Work-Study: Federal Work-Study is a program that must be applied for when filling out the financial aid forms. Most work-study jobs will be related to your field of study, and it is understood that hours need to be flexible around your class schedule. The amount of money that you earn in work-study does not count against you when filling out your FAFSA form the following year. 




Final Thoughts 


If you’re a single mom who has erased getting a degree off your list because it’s seemingly impossible, grab your pen and write it down again. From scholarships for single moms to hardship grants for single mothers and everything in between, higher education is entirely within your grasp. It will take a bit of research and organization, completion of some applications, and you will be on your way to seeing a dream come true!



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