In my experience, as a single mother, it can seem almost impossible to go back to school. If you’re considering that big step, and are wondering how to pay for it, the first thing to do is to to apply for any financial aid that you even think you might be eligible for. Scholarships and grants are both free money that will help you go to college, even on a part time basis.
To begin the process, you should first fill out the FFSA. This can be done online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, but can also be done on a paper form. You will need identifying information for all the members of your household, like social security numbers, as well as your tax records for the last two years. Since the FAFSA determines your eligibility for grants based on your income and family size, it’s important to have accurate information.
Even a minor mistake can result in a higher processing time, and you should always fill out application forms as soon as possible. The Pell grant and the SEOG grant are commonly given as a result of filling out the FAFSA on time and in full. Although not necessarily nursing grants, you can use them to go to nursing school. Depending on your own financial need and if you are Pell eligible in the 2010/2011 school year, you would receive at least 555.00, but no more than 5,550 per year. If you are eligible for a SEOG grant, and funds are available, you could receive as little as 100.00 a year, or as much as 4000.00 a year.
You will absolutely need to apply as early as possible. Early consideration is vital to getting any grant, but even more so with the SEOG grant. I was in school part time for several years to get my degree, but never got around to applying as early as I could have. My last semester was the only one that I got a SEOG grant for, and it was a very nice change to see an extra eight hundred dollars in my account on registration day.
The Jeannette Rankin Scholarship Fund
The Jeannette Rankin Scholarship was established in 1976, and since then has given out 1.3 million dollars in scholarships to low-income women. To qualify, a woman must be at least 35 years old and enrolled in an accredited program to earn her first Bachelor’s degree or a lesser degree or certificate. The successful candidate will also have a clear understanding of how their education will benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.
To apply for the free aid through this program, you can apply online at http://www.rankinfoundation.org/students/applications. If you prefer to submit a paper application, you can send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Jeannette Rankin Foundation, 1 Huntington Road, Suite 701, Athens, GA 30606 to request that form.
PEO, or Philanthropic Educational Organization, is compromised of educated women who want to help other women further their education as well. They do not give out their grants solely to single moms, but they do attempt to give single mothers first consideration for available funds. Qualified recipients are given a one time grant of $2000, and have to be within two years of graduation. Their funds are not specifically for nursing, but can be used to pursue your nursing dream.
They handle five different programs that include grants, loans and scholarships. This organization has been helping women help themselves since 1869, and started with only seven members. Since then, they have helped more than 80,000 women. To apply for their help, you should look to http://www.peointernational.org/information-students to see which of their financial aid programs is going to be the most appropriate for your needs.
As the” baby-boomers” in this country age, the shortage of nursing staff will continue to grow. In an effort to prevent that, more hospitals are offering assistance for nursing training. To take advantage of their grant money, you may have to be en employee of the hospital prior to your training, AND to agree to work for for the hospital after you graduate. Of course, that will guarantee you a job after graduation, which is often a good thing to have immediately after graduation anyway.
These are sources of grant money, but they are not, by any stretch of the imagination the only sources. There are often scholarships and grants that are only available in particular areas, and at times there have been scholarships that could only be used by left-handled individuals. When you are searching for grants, you would certainly benefit from consulting the financial aid office at your school , since they will have access to the lesser known grants as well. You can also search http://www.scholarships.com/scholarship-search.aspx for scholarships by state.
Grants To Forgive Student Loans
If you have chosen to get federally guaranteed student loans to compete your nursing education, you might be interested to know that there is a forgiveness program for them if you go to work in certain non-profit clinics and are a Registered Nurse. If you qualify, and agree to spend two years in that facility, you would have 60% of your existing debt forgiven. If you choose to stay an additional year, you’ll have another 25% forgiven. For details on applying, particularly if you are planning on using this program as part of your financial aid plan, refer to the guidelines here: http://www.hrsa.gov/loanscholarships/repayment/nursing/.
Applying for grants from any source is something that could take quite a bit of time, and you should apply for as many grants as you might be eligible for. After-all, when you graduate and your kids are watching you cross the stage, do you have any reason to imagine that you’ll look back and think “I really wish I had spent more of my own money to get this degree”? Somehow, I don’t think that you will be thinking of that on that wonderful day in your not so distant future.