The plight of the single mother is one that should never be taken for granted. Single moms provide food, clothing, shelter, and tons of other life necessities to their families. Sadly, as hard as they work to care for others, they sometimes forget about themselves. This applies not only to their personal care but to their own personal and professional development, especially in terms of education.
The good news is that there are plenty of grants available for single mothers, for both young mothers who haven’t started college yet and for older mothers who put their educations on hold and now want to go back to school.
How to Look for Educational Grants for Single Mothers
Start by searching for the different types of grants afforded to single mothers. While the process may seem a bit tedious and overwhelming, it isn’t a process you should rush through. Take some time to sit down and think about your unique qualities. While government grants for education are readily available, there are other types of grants to think about as well. Some are designed specifically for single mothers and others are designed for women with other special characteristics, such as the wife of a deceased military veteran, members of a specific ethnic group, or a woman interested in entering a specific career field. Make sure you consider both public and private sources of funding as you begin your search.
Where to Look for Grants for Single Moms
Start your search with the easiest grants to find, the ones offered publicly, usually by the federal or state government. Here are some you should look into right away:
- Pell Grants – Pell grants are offered through the federal government and are based on financial need. Many single mothers find it difficult to handle daily expenses, let alone the cost of college classes. The most you can get from this grant is $5,500. You need to fill out the FAFSA form found on www.fafsa.ed.gov before you can apply.
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant – This grant is specifically designed for those who have great financial need and will pay as little as $100 or as much as $4,000 towards the cost of your education.
- AARP – Even though you have to be over 50 to join the organization, if you are over the age of 40, you may be eligible for financial assistance from AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons.
- The Jeanette Rankin Foundation– This foundation is a non-profit that awards educational grants and scholarships to low-income women at least 35 years of age.
- Your Employer – Talk to your human resource department to find out if there are any educational assistance programs. Some companies offer grants and scholarships while others offer tuition assistance programs, reimbursing your out-of-pocket costs if you maintain a good grade point average. The federal government gives employers the ability to offer you up to $5,250 per year in educational assistance (though many don’t give this much).
- College Financial Aid Office – Make sure you visit your college financial aid office as well. Many schools have grants available for students who have already received acceptance letters and while they may not always pay for classes they may help you with the cost of books and other necessary materials.
Grants and scholarships for single mothers do exist but you won’t find them unless you look for them – and you will have to think out of the box. Other examples of great scholarships include the Afghan Service Grant (for child survivors of veterans who have parents who died after 9/11/01); the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant; the Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant; and the Association for Women in Science. Even major corporations offer grants to college students entering their fields of interest. You have to make inquiries and know where to look.
As a single mother, your goal will be to finish your education so that you can get a better job and support your family. While they may not be specific to your unique living situation, grants for single mothers DO exist. Do your homework and you’ll be well on your way to financing your education without taking food off the table at home!