In the modern day world, it has become important to have some financial stability to live a good life. This is because with globalization everything is getting economized, and the need to pay for your expenses is a must, to live a comfortable life.
Some may think it might be really difficult or in some cases even feel that being a single mother pushes you to the bottom of this hierarchy making it impossible to stand up on your feet if you are left jobless taking care of your child.
But do not worry, what you should know is that it is possible to study, earn a living and take care of your family at the same time.
This can be done by bringing up a simple balance to your life and save for the future. Your children are everything to you, so it is a good idea to save up for him/her as you want them to have the best of everything. So to provide support and give your kids access to a better future, it is necessary to take a step forward and bring financial stability to your family.
And you do this by seeking out a (better) education either at a college, university, or trade vocation. More qualifications can lead to more, higher paying job opportunities and better career advancement.
And this leads to a more stable future for your kids.
In this article, we will cover some of the major financial aid options that will help you afford school, even when you can’t afford it right now.
Financial Aid Options
There’s a few different sources that can help you pay for college (or vocational school): grants, loans, scholarships, and a job. Likely to pay for your school, you will need a combination of all of these as one source is usually not enough on it’s own to fund your entire school costs.
Start with the FAFSA
If you want to go back to school and you don’t have enough money out of pocket to pay, the very first thing you need to fill out is the FAFSA application. This stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and how you apply for basic federal student aid, which includes access to student loans, grants, and scholarships.
The good news is the application process is not difficult You can send all your information to this site through an application and get a chance to be qualified to government grants and loans. The schools will use this information provided to award the scholarships, loans and grants available at that time.
Financial aid that’s based (usually) on NEED. This is money you don’t have to pay back. A grant is basically a gift of free money to be used towards something specific. In this case, that something specific is your education costs.
Are the grants for single mothers specifically? Yes and no. There are no official government grants, but you may be able to find special grants given out by non profits and other organizations to moms who go back to school, provided you meet the right criteria.
- Applying for the FAFSA provided educational grants (Pell Grant)
- Getting institutional grants from your school itself
- 3rd party grants (you must search for these and directly apply for them)
This is money you don’t have to pay pack AND is a type of financial aid (usually) based on merit — that is, your achievements. There may or may not also be financial need requirements as well, though scholarships are mostly about your abilities and qualificaitons, not so much how much need you have.
There are many scholarship programs that are widely available that you can check out. Our best recommendation here is to visit your local college financial aid office which should will have a current list of active scholarships (and the requirements) that you can apply for.
There are a number of specific scholarships just for women that you can apply for. These, unlike the more general scholarships, have the stipulation of being only for women:
- Emerge scholarships (for 25 years and older women)
- Jeanette Rankin Foundation (for 35 years and older women)
- SR Education group
- Linda Miller Scholarships
- org scholarship for single parents
- Educational Foundation for women in Accounting
- Patsy Takemoto Mink education foundation
- Soroptimist women’s opportunity organization
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- AAUW, the American Association of University Women
- Curiel and Runion Single Mother Scholarship
- Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Single Mother Scholarship
The different scholarships have different eligibility criteria which I suggest you check before applying.
Note, take a look at this 50+ Legit Scholarships for Single Moms guide. There’s a comprehensive list of scholarships given and details about how good each scholarship is for mom types.
Here are a few tips to win a scholarship
1. Make sure you send out an impressive application
There’s a chance for you to get these scholarships IF you meet the eligibility criteria, though remember, many other people are applying for the scholarship as well, so some of them can have fierce competition. You may often be required by the scholarship to fill out an application which may include an essay and other writings that state your intentions. Needless to say, you need to spend some real time mastering scholarship applications. If you expect to win a scholarship, you need to do a good job with the scholarship application so you can impress.
2. Apply for as many scholarships as you can
Scholarships are also a numbers game. Your chance (unless you have amazing grades and are the perfect candidate) of getting a scholarship may be low. But by applying for as many scholarships as you can, you increase your chances. So applying for scholarships on a regular basis should be something you make a point of doing. Don’t apply for one or two and leave it at that. Apply for 10, 20, or 50 and you are far more likely of getting money.
3. Do extra community work such as volunteering
One of the criteria scholarship committees look at is how active you may have been in the community. That is, what are your contributions to society. If you’ve spent a lot of time helping out the community in some way and can list this on your application, this may go a long way to making you stand out over your competitors.
This is another form of student financial aid — and for many people a significant contributor. There are two types of loans for school: federal and private. If you apply with the FAFSA application and get approval, you will be given student loans backed by the government up to a certain amount. Outside of this, you can seek out private student loans from lenders and banks directly (though these often have higher interest rates attached than do the federal loans).
Loans must be repaid — this is the difference between a loan and a scholarship / grant
4 Federal Work Study (FWS)
This is another interesting form of student assistance offered by the government. It’s basically a part time work program backed by the government that gives out Word Study position to students with financial need. The government offers money to the school itself which is used to hire students for part time work. This is a good way to work at the school and make some extra money to be used towards your education. You must apply with the FAFSA to gain access to this.
See more about this program here.
5 Other Financial Aid Sources
Additionally, there are some other ways also that you can get the financial aid you and your family require. These might or might not be specific to single mothers, but they are worth having a look at.
Some such suggestions:
Employee Scholarships: some corporations and big businesses offer scholarships and financial assistance if their employees go back to school. You should check on this if you work for such
Web Sweepstakes: you can find some websites that do offer sweepstake scholarship programs. You fill out a survey of some sort and get entered into a random scholarship draw
Website Scholarships: this is a new class of scholarship. Some websites do offer scholarships or free money programs to student going back to school. Applying might simply be to fill out an application or to submit some creative submission of sorts. You can find these if you search online.
Family: often family can offer some sort of financial assistance. It’s worth asking.
Specialized grants/scholarships: Apart from the federal grants and the social grants; grants for minorities in the country, popular student-specific grants, grants for graduate and doctoral students and undergraduate grants are some of the other available options.
The Final Word
If you want to go to school and are motivated enough to do so, then there is financial aid that can make this happen.
As a mom, possibly a single mom, it can be a real challenge to go back to school. Unlike other students, moms are required to have a good understanding on balancing work life with school.
The reason being your children, your studies, and your work will all need attention not to mention your daily chores. This would mean if you focus on one thing more it will make you lose track of the other aspects.
Here’s a list of resources we found that you should check out for student financial aid
- FAFSA (start here for financial assistance)
- Government Student Aid
- FinAid.org (a site full of good financial aid advice)
- Emergency School Grant Assistance for Single Mothers (a comprehensive article on the topic of grants and financial aid)
- Article about Loans on Forbs (worth reading about some good loan options on forbs.com)
- The US Department of Education has the university grants mentioned out in their site.