Single mothers have some of the hardest and yet most fulfilling jobs in the world. Without any assistance or support from a partner, they have to not only be there for their children as they grow but also provide for them all on their own. If you’re a single mother, trying to make ends meet, you’ve probably thought about going back to school, but it just seems impossible.
If you’re already spending every penny you make on keeping yourself and your child under a roof and well fed, you’re certainly not going to be taking any time off of work to go to school. You’re also probably not going to be able to afford the high cost of college tuition. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
You and other single moms around the United States may feel like going back and getting your degree is a pipe dream, but you’re wrong. With special government and private grants for single mothers, you can afford to get a better education and give yourself and your kids a better life.
Grants vs. Scholarships
First of all, let’s talk about what you’re applying for. You may be thinking that you can’t possibly compete for college funding opportunities against high school students who have all of their subjects fresh in their minds and have no other job but to get into college and apply for scholarships. Well, that’s why it’s so important to look at grants.
Grants are awarded based on financial need, whereas scholarships are awarded based on merit, achievements, and/or leadership. We’re not telling you not to apply for scholarships, but we are telling you that you’ll be much more eligible for grants for single mothers than any of those high school kids. Why not apply for both grants and scholarships and see how much assistance you can get in funding your college education? Our advice – get started by applying for grants for single mothers – just doing this could provide funding for all or part of your education.
Getting Government Education Grants for Single Moms
Before you do anything else, you’ll need to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This will determine your level of financial need. As a single mother who is providing for yourself and your kids, you are very likely going to qualify for aid through a federal Pell grant and/or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
These grants are aimed at anyone in financial need get the aid necessary to complete an undergraduate college degree. Just by filling out and submitting your FAFSA, you’ll automatically be considered for these grants, but they are not the only college grants for single mothers available to you. You can find others by reaching out to local non-profit organizations and by searching online for national funds that help single mothers get better educations to further their careers and their lives.
Reaching Out in Your Community
Does your community have a local non-profit organization that assists women in need? Do they have a scholarship or grant program for mothers? Even if they don’t have an established program, you may be able to convince them to allot some of their budget to educational funds for women in your community.
While you’re speaking with non-profits, you should also keep in mind that corporations and other for-profit institutions have also been known to donate to scholarships and grants for single mothers. Talk with the company you work for and/or other corporations in your area. They may have a program that you can apply for.
Applying for Scholarships and Education Grants for Single Moms Online
And, of course, there’s always the Internet. You can find a lot of fantastic grant opportunities for single mothers online when you search through the US Department of Labor’s scholarship search site. Just click on “Search by Keyword” and enter keywords that apply to you, like “single mother” or “women”.
You can do similar searches at ScholarshipChart.com, as well. If you’re specifically interested in grants over scholarships, you can just add the word “grants” to your keyword search to come up with the best results for your needs. When you search these sites, you’ll find a number of grants, including but by far not limited to:
The Women’s Opportunity Award – A $2000 cash award, this grant is given to women who are their families’ primary wage earners.
The Jeannette Rankin Foundation – The Jeannette Rankin Foundation offers grants to women who are 35 or older and can demonstrate financial need.
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation – This foundation awards a $3000 grant every year to lower-income single mothers pursuing education in vocational schools or four-year colleges.
How to Apply
Once you’ve found a few grants for single mothers, take a moment to read carefully through the requirements for each. If you don’t meet the requirements for any reason – whether your income is too great etc. – just skip it and replace it with a grant application that you do qualify for. While you’re working on this step, you should also check the deadlines. If they’ve passed or they’re too close to complete the application properly, don’t waste your time on them either.
Next, get organized. As a single mom, you know what it’s like to juggle obligations and keep your ducks in a row. With a dedicated binder for your grant applications, gather and keep everything together. This way you’ll be able to work on your applications whenever you get a spare moment. For example, you could work on them on your lunch break from work or while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office with your kids.
A lot of grant applications – like scholarships – will have an essay or personal statement requirement. Don’t be afraid of this, even if you don’t enjoy writing. Just take this opportunity to tell your story and to describe why you should receive this grant. You’ll be back to school in no time!
Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com
ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.