As a single mother, you’ve got more on your plate (and on your mind) than most. Dividing your time between caring for your children, yourself, the household, and any mishaps of the day can leave you without a spare moment to research the possibility of furthering your education.
Even if you’ve searched online for educational scholarship programs, you may have run into more than a few dead ends. Some scholarship listings are nothing more than advertisements, while other lists are outdated.
We know how frustrating this can be, so we’ve compiled an up-to-date, clear list of legitimate scholarship programs that will get you on the right track to a new, rewarding career.
What Are Scholarships for Single Mothers?
Scholarships, like grants, are awarded as a gift toward an individual’s education. A scholarship, unlike a student loan, does not need to be paid back.
This fact makes a scholarship similar to a grant, although a grant generally is based on circumstances only, such as low income, while a scholarship may have a variety of requirements, such as grade point average, community involvement, excellence or potential in a certain area of study, or age requirements.
Classifications of scholarships include need based, merit based, location based, career specific scholarships, and college specific scholarships.
How to Find Scholarship Programs
Community and State Scholarships – The first step of your search should be to contact the local community and state colleges in your area. Ask to speak to a counselor or any individual in the admissions department who is knowledgeable about scholarships.
Some of the major state scholarships include the following:
National Scholarships – National scholarships are offered to any single mother who qualifies, according to the requirements. National scholarships are not based on location. A single mom who lives anywhere in the United States can be eligible. Below is a list of reputable scholarship programs.
Please be wary of any scholarship program that asks for an application fee:
- Women’s Opportunity Awards Scholarship (http://www.soroptimist.org) – Only accepting applications from July 1 to December 1 each year.
- The Assistance League (http://www.assistanceleague.org) – Applications are accepted through local chapters. The Assistance League is a community based organization.
- The Jeannette Rankin Foundation (http://www.rankinfoundation.org) – Available for women in financial need, over the age of 35.
- National Science and Mathematics Access to Retail Talent (SMART) – Single mom’s can be awarded up to $4,000.
Career Based Scholarships for Single Mothers
Some scholarships are career driven. Single mothers who choose a field such as nursing or teaching have a good chance of receiving a scholarship.
- The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Scholarship
- Bright Horizons Family Solutions, for those pursuing a degree in early childhood education
- Project Working Mom – a scholarship program offering working mothers the opportunity to return to school with full scholarships.
- Chances Scholarship Program – Up to $16,000 awarded annually toward nursing careers.
Basic Requirements of Scholarship Programs
Every scholarship will have its own, unique set of requirements. This is due to the fact that many scholarships are set up by individuals or foundations. Some may be in memory of a loved one who has passed away or an important cause.
Others may be solely based on a certain subject matter, such as a creative writer’s scholarship or a math excellence scholarship. Depending on the career path you are taking and the strengths you possess, you may be able to find a scholarship tailored to your skills.
What Expense Do Scholarships Cover?
Again, scholarships can vary greatly. For example, California’s Bobbe Browning Memorial Scholarship provides $1,000 toward college education, while the New Hampshire Cap and Gown Scholarship covers a portion of the cost of textbooks only. Don’t let these details discourage you.
The good news about scholarships is that there is no limit to the number of different scholarships you can receive during a given college semester. Example: If you receive a $300 scholarship toward textbooks, you are still able to receive another scholarship toward books, tuition, supplies, or even housing and transportation.
As a single mom, making the decision to return to college, or to enroll for the first time, can literally change the outcome of your life. With scholarships, grants, and student loans available for single mothers, there’s nothing standing in the way of your success.