One of the easiest ways to get gainful employment is by enrolling for a college degree or some other higher studies, but if you are a single parent, it is difficult to study while trying to support your family. There are many such parents out there who would like to study further and upgrade their skills, but financial constraints do not allow them to do so. Single parent scholarships are way better than taking student loans because the latter needs to be repaid unlike the former. There are organizations and federal programs that allow single parents to pursue higher education. The government also offers single mothers grants for returning to school, which have benefited many.
One of the best resources is the financial aid office of the college you wish to attend. A counselor will help you apply for the scholarships that you qualify for, and also provide you all the necessary information about the documentation required.
Government grants are for a specific purpose and you need to meet the eligibility criteria to apply for them. Some of the programs are:
- TEACH Grant: Under this program, single parents who would like to study to become teachers can apply. It provides up to USD 4,000 a year. This grant is specifically for those who wish to teach in schools which support students from low-income families. A recipient of this grant is required to teach for 4 complete academic years in such a school.
- SMART Grant: The National SMART grant is available for the third, fourth, and fifth year of undergraduate study. The recipient is required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, which is checked before the beginning of each semester when the payments are due. It provides up to USD 4,000 for each year.
- Pell Grants: One of the basic requirements to apply for the Pell grant is filling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This program offers financial assistance ranging from USD 400 to USD 5,000. You can even apply for a SMART grant along with this aid.
Most of the nonprofit organizations offer college grants for single moms, but some do cater to the needs of single dads also.
- Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation: Congresswoman Mink was the first woman of color to be elected to the US House of Representatives. She was known to have worked for women's rights. The foundation offers scholarships for women from the low income group and with minor children. They offer assistance up to USD 3,000 annually.
- Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund (ASPSF): Established in 1990, the fund has helped several single parents to acquire post-secondary education. The ASPSF makes thousands of dollars available as scholarships through their affiliate organizations, and the application process is also quite simple.
- The Women's Independence Scholarship Program (WISP): This program offers assistance to women who are survivors of domestic violence. Other eligibility criteria includes being a US citizen, having been separated from their partner for a minimum of a year, and an accepted application to an accredited college.
- Raise the Nation: They offer funds to single mothers. One unique feature of the foundation is that it also provides scholarships to the children of such moms. There is a one-time USD 20 fee to apply, and the process is completely online. They offer scholarships to low-income families and the eligibility criteria to qualify differs from state to state.
Many single parents think that their learning process has come to a premature end because of their responsibilities, but there are many avenues for availing scholarships, all you need to do is apply!