2024 Best Financial Aid for Single Moms [Guide]

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If you’re on a limited budget, financial aid for single moms could help provide the support you’d need for going back to school.

Best Financial Aid for Single Moms

Single mothers can assemble a financial aid package with contributions from multiple sources. Let’s take a look at the following resources that may be of benefit to you.

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The more you learn about financial assistance for single mothers going back to school, the more options you may have for reducing your tuition bill and making your dreams of college a reality.

Financial Aid for Single Moms for College

Money is often tight for single-income households, especially when you’re raising kids.

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You don’t need to let that stop you from pursuing an education, though. A variety of financial aid programs for single mothers can help you earn your degree.


Single mom applying for scholarships for college

Earning a scholarship is like getting free money for college. These tuition gifts are often given by local or national organizations.

There are many single mom grants for college. These scholarship awards are intended especially for single parents, often ones who are returning to the classroom after an extended break. As you look for scholarship programs, you may want to focus on awards such as these.

To earn a scholarship, you’ll likely be required to fill out an application or write an essay. Most scholarship programs select only a few winners.

State and Federal Grants

Single mom applying for State & Federal Grant for college

Students earning their first bachelor’s degrees sometimes qualify for Pell Grants from the federal government. There is limited funding available for this federal program, so your eligibility will depend on your income and financial resources.

Some students also qualify for additional federal grants, such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. You might be able to pair federal grant money with grants from your state. The programs and eligibility requirements vary from state to state. Yours might even offer a program with exclusive college grants for single mothers and fathers.

Institutional Aid

Single mom applying for Institutional Aid for college

Colleges often provide financial aid directly to their students, often in the form of scholarships. Often, this funding is based solely on financial need. In some cases, though, special circumstances may be taken into account, such as whether you are a single parent. There may be an element of merit to the awards as well.

If you’re interested in this type of aid, then you’ll likely be asked to fill out the CSS Profile. You’ll do that in addition to submitting the FAFSA. The CSS Profile requires more in-depth information than the FAFSA.

Employer Tuition Assistance

Single mom applying for Employer Tuition Assistance for college

Some workplaces chip in to help their employees pay for college. This isn’t a guarantee by any means, but you may be one of the lucky ones who can take advantage of such an offer.

In some cases, a company will contribute to college costs for all of its employees. In other cases, this benefit may be extended to people whose classes will directly enhance their job performance. Your employer can contribute several thousand dollars to your education each year before the funds start being counted as taxable income.

Federal Work Study Program

Single mom applying for Work Study Program for college

If your school participates in Federal Work Study, you may be able to secure a qualifying part-time job to help pay for school.

The employment opportunities are often on-campus jobs with flexible hours. This is different from other employment because the money you earn won’t be counted toward your household income during future FAFSA calculations.

As a single parent, you may want to consider whether Federal Work Study will fit into your life. A part-time job will take time, of course, and it may also require you to line up childcare.

Federal Loans

Single mom applying for Federal Loan for college

The government runs student loan programs to help people afford college. Eligibility is based on financial need. If you qualify, you will be able to borrow money from the government to pay your tuition. You will then repay it after you finish school.

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In addition to paying the principal on the loan, you’ll also be required to pay interest. Often, the interest on government loans is lower than it is for private loans. To supplement your federal loans, you may be able to get loan money from your state as well.

Private Loans

Single mom applying for Private Loan for college

If scholarships, grants, government loans, and other programs don’t fully cover all of your funding needs, you can look into private loans. Most experts recommend using government loans first because the terms are usually more favorable for students.

To cover your financial need gap, though, you may find yourself turning to private lenders, such as banks. As with government loans, you’ll be required to repay the money with interest. Qualifying for private loans depends on your credit score. If you don’t have good credit, securing a loan may require having a co-signer.

Is FAFSA for Single Moms Available?

FAFSA for Single Moms

Yes, all single moms who are returning to the classroom can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). College students of all ages and walks of life, even those applying to college after a gap year, are encouraged to submit this form.

The FAFSA is the key to unlocking federal financial assistance for single moms. Based on your FAFSA data, you may be eligible for grants, loans, and Federal Work-Study. Your state may also use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for state funding programs. Even some need-based scholarship programs will rely on this data to determine your eligibility.

Best College Financial Aid for Single Mothers

For single moms who want to go back to school, here are 10 financial aid options to consider.

  1. Answer Scholarship – $2,750 to $5,500 per year
  2. Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund – Up to $3,600
  3. Asherah Foundation Second Chance Scholarships for Women Around the World – $2,500 per year
  4. Beatrice F. Kroesche Memorial Scholarship – Up to $1,000 to $2,000/year
  5. Capture the Dream, Inc. Single Parent Scholarship – Up to $1,000
  6. Jeannette Rankin Foundation – Two Unrestricted Non-Tuition Grants
  7. Multiple of Illinois Scholarship – $150 to $250
  8. Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation – Up to $5,000
  9. RoseMarie Lipinski Foundation – Up to $10,000
  10. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, Inc. – $1,000 to $6,000

Each financial aid opportunity will have its own qualifications and application process. You can also research any local scholarships that may be available near you.

Getting Financial Help for Single Moms for College

Single mom looking for financial aid opportunities for college

You don’t have to let financial worries get in the way of going back to school as a single mom. You may be able to take advantage of multiple financial aid opportunities to help with your tuition costs.

For example, you might receive single mother grants for college or grants to go back to school. There are loans, work programs, scholarships, and additional resources as well. To get started with the financial aid process, you can submit the FAFSA and explore scholarship programs for single moms.

If you were near the completion of your degree, you may explore accredited colleges that provide a substantial number of transfer credits. You’ll likely find some colleges that accept 120 transfer credits with financial assistance programs.

If you’re a single mom hoping to go back to school to earn a master’s degree, you’ll likely wonder, “is there financial aid for grad school?” Your college’s financial aid department can be an invaluable resource as you navigate school funding. With support, you can fulfill your dream of earning an accredited college degree.

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Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.