Single mothers face unique challenges, often juggling the demands of work and parenting without the help of a partner to shoulder some of the financial and caretaking responsibilities. Earning a college degree can open doors — but it’s also expensive.
Fortunately, many organizations, foundations, colleges and even individuals believe that helping single moms further their education benefits everyone: organizations that employ them, institutions, families and, of course, these women themselves. That’s why there are numerous single mom scholarships available. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the top resources, along with tips for finding other scholarships.
NB: This list includes several scholarships for single parents.
Open to women aged 25 or older who have not earned a four-year degree, the Answer Scholarship offers awards of varying amounts to help pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies. In addition to the previous criteria, recipients must have at least one school-age child who lives with them, be U.S. citizens residing in specific counties in North or South Carolina, be enrolled in or accepted to an accredited institution (again, in specific counties), maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above and demonstrate financial need.
Recipients are also assisted by mentors for the duration of the scholarship. While married and single parents are eligible, preference is given to single mothers.
Low-income single parents residing in Arkansas or Bowie County, Texas, may be eligible for this scholarship, which is awarded in varying amounts depending on the county of residence. Applicants must have at least 50% legal physical custody of one or more dependent children (or a severely disabled adult child), have a high school diploma or GED and a 2.0 cumulative GPA, have never earned a bachelor’s degree, meet the Federal Poverty Guidelines, complete a FAFSA application and attend or plan on attending an ASPSF-approved institution or program.
Along with scholarships, the ASPSF offers career and financial planning, tutoring, mentoring and more.
The Bernice Murray Scholarship Foundation honors the memory of a longtime aide to U.S. Senator James Jeffords through a single-parent scholarship awarded to Vermont residents who demonstrate financial need. The award of $2,000 is meant to assist with child care expenses. Eligible applicants must have at least one child aged 12 or younger and attend an accredited school that is approved for federal Title IV funding.
The scholarship foundation doesn’t have a website, but applicants should complete the Unified Scholarship Application, providing a recommendation letter from a nonrelative, a 250-word essay describing your program of study, financial need and what makes you unique, and childcare information. Contact:
10 East Allen Street
P.O. Box 2000
Winooski, VT 05404
Thanks to this scholarship, single mothers may receive $3,000 awards to help with the cost of tuition, books and supplies. To apply, you must be the head of your household with sole custody of a child under 18 and a U.S. citizen, receive a Pell Grant, not already have an undergraduate degree and pursue a “career-oriented course of study.”
The Custody X Change Giving Fund offers three scholarships per year to single parents: $1,000 each for Spring and Fall terms and $500 for Summer. Interested applicants should send their admissions letter (first-semester students) or college transcript and a 400-500-word essay on the topic "How will you use your education to improve your family?" to [email protected]. To qualify, you must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher (or be a first-semester student), be enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university and have primary physical custody of at least one minor child.
Hallie E. Ford established this program to help single parents looking to earn a degree. Up to 50 students are awarded the scholarship, which covers 90% of unmet college expenses according to the cost of attendance (subtracting other scholarships), each year. Applicants must have custody of dependent children, have a high school diploma or GED (or anticipate graduating soon), intend to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree with at least one year remaining in their program and be a resident and plan to enroll in a program in Oregon or Siskiyou County, California. Recipients also have access to additional career, professional and personal support and guidance.
Helping Hands offers scholarships to single mothers living in Phoenix and the surrounding areas of Phoenix Metro Valley and Maricopa County, Arizona. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen who is registered at college, have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher and have at least one child under the age of 11 who resides with you. If accepted, you must attend all scheduled meetings. Helping Hands offers additional services to scholarship recipients.
This scholarship ranges in $100-5,000. It is open to single moms who lack the resources to pursue post-secondary education (subject to a financial need analysis). You must be accepted to or enrolled in a postsecondary program of study. For more information and application details, contact:
Raise the Nation Foundation
PO Box 8058
Albuquerque, NM 87198
Phone: (505) 265-1201
Email: [email protected]
Sponsored by Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, this $1,000 scholarship is available to single moms who wish to improve their living circumstances through education. To apply, write an essay of at least 500 words about the advantages of returning to school while taking care of your children and describe how parenthood has prepared you for the opportunity and challenges. Two scholarships are available: one for a recipient enrolled in an undergraduate or community college program and the other for a recipient attending an accredited law school.
Email your application and transcript (must be at least 3.0) to [email protected] with “Scholarship” in the subject line.
Looking for more scholarships? Try exploring awards for people in different niches or demographics; for example, there are plenty available for women pursuing different disciplines, people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, working mothers, people of specific age groups and others. You should also consider scholarships offered by your institution. Examples of institutions offering single-mom scholarships include:
Boise State University
Brigham Young University
College of Western Idaho
Holyoke Community College
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College
University of New Mexico
University of Utah
Apply for multiple scholarships. Earning even one can greatly offset the cost of your tuition and expenses — and some cases, you may even end up attending college for free.