Tips on Finding Financial Aid for Single Moms
Raising a child on your own while trying to finance your college education can feel like the most difficult thing in the world. However, there are financial aid options to make the upward journey a little easier. In addition to the usual student loans and college grants, we have compiled a primer on tips for finding financial aid for single moms.
A number of charities exist to provide support and resources for single mothers who are trying to make their way through life. Some of the charities are faith-based, while others are intended for single moms who live in a particular area. Helping Hands for Single Moms, for example, is focused on “providing scholarships, financial assistance and support” to single mothers who want to get a college degree while raising their children.
Not quite college grants, certain scholarships reward women who have made the tough choice of being a mother and a student at the same time. The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship is for women 35 years and older who want to pursue their first bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or technical or vocational degree, and who qualify for the low-income eligibility.
Similarly (and at the other end of the age spectrum), the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation targets low-income single mothers of 17 years or older with scholarships of $2,000. Applicants have to be enrolled in education programs to be considered for the award.
Single mothers who have escaped domestic abuse with their child may be interested in the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, Inc. The program seeks to help victims of abuse by offering scholarships to help them “overcome barriers to the education necessary” to start new lives. The primary focus of the program and its scholarship is helping single moms with young children to become financially stable so they can support their families on their own.
Other scholarship programs target more nuanced niches: single mothers from a minority ethnic group, or even single mothers interested in studying in an under-represented field.
Employer Tuition Assistance Programs
If you are a single mom who currently holds down a job and wants to pursue a degree, asking your employer for help may be another way to get financial aid. There are usually conditions attached to this approach:
- Your degree has to be related to your line of work.
- You agree to continue working for the company for a set period of time after you complete your degree.
- Or, as a variation of the preceding point, you agree to keep working at your company while you pursue your degree (but you can take on fewer hours in return).
Still related to work, indicating on your FAFSA that you are interested in enrolling in the Federal Work-Study program is a way to seek out financial aid to put you through college while you raise your child (or children). If you are approved to join the program, you can apply for approved on-campus or off-campus jobs; and if you are hired, your wages will be credited to your student account, reducing your college tuition.
Be aware, however, that since you cannot actually make a living on a work-study program, you may have to rely on other resources to care for your child while you go to school and participate in the Federal Work-Study program.