Going to college, in and of itself, is a huge undertaking, but add being a single mother to the mix, and it becomes doubly difficult. The good thing is that there are many different avenues by which single moms can receive assistance. The grant and the scholarship are the most cost-effective methods because they do not have to be repaid, but student loans will require repayment.
Both public and private grants are available to give single mothers a leg up as they prepare to enter or re-enter higher education programs. As you begin your search for financial aid, be aware that the terms, scholarships, and grants, may be used broadly. Generally, though, a scholarship is based on how well you have performed scholastically, but grants are based on financial need. Having said that, do not allow the terms to confound you because many scholarships also will be rewarded based on financial need.
The Pell Grant is the most popular for single mothers and first-time students. Criteria for funding is set by the Federal government. You can apply
at any college or university financial aid office.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is a supplement to the Pell Grant. It can be a boost for those extra expenses which may not have been covered with the Pell Grant. Apply early because the funds are exhausted quickly.
State grants for single moms vary by state. Some are need-based, but others set aside funds for the various types of disadvantages. Contact your individual state for specific types of monies that are available for your specific need.
Colleges and universities may offer financial aid to single parents who have a need based on their requirements.
Private support groups and corporations often fund single moms with disadvantages, such as financial need, abusive relationships, and members of certain ethnic groups.
The Academic Competitiveness Grant requires a 3.0-grade point average (GPA. It is offered to those who qualify for the Pell Grant. Single moms who are not coming directly from high school, and who may not have the grades to qualify, can apply after the first year in college if they maintain a 3.0
Raise the Nation Foundation helps single moms with the financial trials they may encounter when they try to better themselves. It provides funds for other expenses, such as childcare, in addition to tuition monies. You can apply online or through financial aid offices on college campuses.
Consider your unique qualities, which may be the means to monies available that you may not have taken into account. Apply for several different grants and/or scholarships because one may not be enough to meet your needs.
Even if you are able to secure a grant or scholarship for tuition and books, there are other expenses that a single parent will have to bear. Applying for a student loan is not the optimum choice, but if you must resort to it, be aware that it has to be repaid, and sometimes the interest rates are high. This will leave you with a large debt when you graduate.
Other expenses, such as child care, rent, and transportation likely will not be included. In addition, making the time necessary to successfully complete your studies is challenging. But if you are determined, do not let anything stand in your way. This may mean completing lessons after children are in bed for the night or looking for free sitters (parents, siblings, or friends) who can help during critical times. You may find help through child care assistance programs offered by your state.
Many philanthropic organizations have united and put programs together to assist those who cannot afford a computer. In today’s education system, it is difficult to function successfully without one. You can research available programs, but some popular ones are Computer with Causes, Craigslist (see free section), Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse, Freecycle, and many others.
Take advantage of as many free resources as you can. This will take effort on your part. Compile a list of possible grants, scholarships, and student loans. Do this well in advance of the start of the school year. Be prepared by organizing and planning your education; it will serve you well when you have achieved your goals and are providing a good living for your family.