Being a single parent is hard, and many single-parent families have low family incomes.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that earning additional education increases your average pay overall. Financial aid for single parents can help you earn a college degree and increase your income in the long run.
Whether you’re a part-time student or full-time student, financial aid can help significantly lower the cost of your education. This article explores financial aid programs, scholarships, and grants for single parents earning a degree.
Does FAFSA Help Single Parents?
Yes, the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, offers many different programs in financial aid to help single parents achieve their educational goals. FAFSA is a major source of financial aid and is the application for federal programs like grants, work-study, federal student loans, and some aid for military families.
How to Find Financial Aid for Single Parents
- Research single parent programs. Many schools offer special services to single-parent students like academic advising, career counseling, financial aid guidance, and educational workshops.
- Browse resources from the Student Parent Success Initiative. This website run by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research improves post-secondary education experiences for partnered and single mothers.
- If you have young kids, connect with an Early Head Start program. The Office of Head Start (OHS) offers emotional, social, and mental development support for pregnant women and children from birth to age five. Check your local OHS office for nutritional, social, health, and educational programs.
- Check for an employer tuition reimbursement program. Some employers offer a tuition reimbursement program to help employees earn a degree relevant to their position while working. Check with your employer to see if they will cover some of the cost of the program tuition.
- Look for child care assistance programs. Some non-profit organizations focus on providing child care for single parents. For instance, the Children’s Bureau in Indiana provides child care assistance to low household income single parents.
Financial Aid: The Best Scholarships and Grants for Single Parents
|Scholarship or Grant Name||Provider||Amount|
|Single Parent Scholarship||Arkansas
|Varies by county|
|Armstrong Family Foundation Scholarship||Arizona State University Foundation||Up to $8,000|
|Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects Endowed Scholarship||Austin Community College District||Variable|
|Law Family Single Parent Scholarship||Bold.com||$4,000|
|BYU Marriott School Single Parent Scholarship||Brigham Young University||Variable|
|Cal Grant Program||California Student Aid Commission||$1,094 to $9,220|
|Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS)||US Department of Education||Variable, covers child care|
|Federal Pell Grant||US Department of Education||Up to $6,495|
|Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)||US Department of Health and Human Services||Variable, covers children’s health insurance|
The Best Financial Aid Resources for Single Parents
As a single-parent student, caring for your dependents while educating yourself can be tricky. But, there are financial aid options for eligible families to help with tuition and living expenses. These options include federal grants, federal loans, private grants, and state and federal programs. Below are some financial aid options for single parents earning a college education.
Single Parent Scholarship | Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund
The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to low-income, Arkansas-resident single parents with one or more child dependants. These students must not already have a degree or diploma from a four-year college or university. This program provides assistance to students in vocational school, community college, and four-year college degree programs.
Armstrong Family Foundation Scholarship | Arizona State University Foundation
This scholarship applies to US residents already accepted to Arizona State University as full-time students. It is for students with financial hardship from difficult family circumstances which have prevented them from accessing educational opportunities. This is a need-based grant, meaning applicants must demonstrate a financial need to fulfill the eligibility requirements.
Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects Endowed Scholarship | Austin Community College District
The Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects Endowed Scholarship is for single Hispanic women with dependents who are enrolled in an associate’s degree program at Austin Community College. To be an eligible student, you must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Law Family Single Parent Scholarship | Bold.com
This scholarship was created to help single-parent households overcome financial hardship by providing assistance with college expenses. Any single-parent student can apply, but minority, low-income families from Kentucky are preferred.
BYU Marriott School Single Parent Scholarship | Brigham Young University
The BYU Marriott School Single Parent Scholarship is for single-parent students enrolled in a graduate degree at BYU Marriot. For this scholarship, you must be a full-time student.
Cal Grant Program | California Student Aid Commission
The Cal Grant program is a financial aid program for students attending a University of California, California State University, or a California Community College. This is a needs-based grant program that requires you to submit your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application forms.
Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program | US Department of Education
The Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, through the US Department of Education, is a federal grant program designed to keep single parents in school through graduation by providing safe child care. This federal grant program offers campus-based child care for children of low-income single-parent students enrolled in higher education.
Elevate-A-Life Scholarship | Melita
The Elevate-A-Life Scholarship is an unexpected source of financial assistance for single mothers pursuing a degree in human resources. In addition to access to education, recipients also get mentoring from an employee at Melita with the goal of offering the recipient a job after graduation.
Federal Pell Grant | US Department of Education
The Federal Pell Grant provides financial assistance for college education to low-income undergraduate students and a selected amount of graduate students at more than 5,000 participating colleges and universities in the US. The eligibility criteria evaluate income and expenses. Fill out the FAFSA to apply.
Children’s Health Insurance Program | US Department of Health and Human Services
The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides health insurance to uninsured dependents up to the age of 19 for a single-parent family with an income too high to qualify for Medicaid but who still can’t afford private health care. Each state administers the Children’s Health Insurance Program independently, so check your state’s rules and eligibility requirements.
Schools That Offer Financial Aid for Single Parents
Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, has a four-year Keys to Degrees program. It provides support to single-parent students to help them find a balance between school and personal responsibilities. They also offer 10 scholarships for single-parent students, and college students can bring their children to on-campus study spaces.
Saint Paul College
Saint Paul College in Saint Paul, Minnesota provides child care to single student parents with their on-campus Child Development Center. They have a Single Parent Support System Program that provides tutorial assistance, faculty mentoring, and counseling services, and the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities can help you find more resources.
St. Catherine University
St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, helps single-parent students access local child care, food banks, housing, and transport through their Access and Support program. They are also invested in your success as a student and will provide mentoring and help locating scholarship opportunities and other funding sources.
Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University, located in Denton, Texas, partners with the Student Parents Also Raising Kids organization to support non-traditional students like single-parent students as they earn a college degree. Spark will connect you with financial and social resources you need to complete your degree while caring for your family.
Based in Chambersburg, Philadelphia, Wilson College offers year-round, family-friendly housing with childcare on campus for students with dependents 20 months and older through their Single Parent Scholar Program. They also organize group activities, family park trips, with the 300-acre campus farm being the base for the Wilson College Child Care Center.
Should You Apply for Single Parents Financial Aid?
Yes, if you are a single-parent student, you should apply for financial aid. As many as 15 percent of college and university undergraduates in the US were single parents in 2014. Federal loans, private grants and scholarships, and other financial aid sources can help you complete your educational program and care for your dependent children without financial worry.
Financial Aid for Single Parents FAQ
Yes, you can dial the 2-1-1 service for help with food and social services, and most local communities have accessible food banks. Even if you can’t get help through college financial aid, there are other programs you can use to help with living expenses while you complete your college degree.
Yes, some online schools offer financial aid to help cover college expenses. Another benefit of online education is a flexible schedule that can allow you to keep working and you won’t have any transportation costs.
Yes, there are plenty of bootcamp scholarships and grants. Coding bootcamps provide technical certification for a career in technology fields. These programs are a much faster education path than a traditional college degree.
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