Single mothers are responsible for all the duties of both household and finance. It is easy to begin to get bogged down in a rut and put your dreams of furthering your education on hold. According to some sources nearly 38% of single moms live at or below poverty level. In today’s society it is imperative that you have some sort of degree in order to gain employment of any significance.
The problem seems to be finding the funding that will enable moms to continue the onward progress of their dreams. The ability to pay for an education will, for most people, determine whether they can get education in the first place! Now as a single mom, it’s TOUGH to make ends meet. Something like college can seem quite impossible. But if you are willing to work hard, there are some ways to make ends meet that will allow single moms (and single dads) to attend college or some sort of training program to better their career prospects.
The best hope is to get scholarships funding. Now there are numerous scholarships and grants available to aid in such moms and dads who want to head back to school. The trick seems to be knowing where and when to look for them. This article is dedicated to the plight of women who are trying to make a decision to continue their education. Many colleges offer scholarships and grants that have been specifically designed to help with post secondary education. The powers that be has seen the needs of single moms and responded in kind.
Single mothers are shouldering the full responsibility of their households are not looking for a hand out they want, need a helping hand. Scholarships and grants offer these mothers the advantage of being able to get the funds for college without the burden of having to repay a loan at exorbitant interest rates. The grants are for any woman of low income their backgrounds and ages are not a factor for most of them.
Scholarships are harder to get because of the numerous applicants for each single one. Like grants once it is awarded there is no need to worry about repayment. It is important that you get organized and have all the necessary information gathered before starting your application process. Most scholarships and grants have application deadlines, so when you are considering one you must adhere to these deadlines in order to be considered.
So lets look at the scholarship options out there.
Online Scholarship Giveaways
There are a number of online “sweepstake scholarships” as you might call them. You fill out a quick application and get entered into a 10k Scholarships for Moms. If you manage to win the scholarship, the money can be used towards any education expense. There are a number of these programs out there that are worth applying for, since it’s free to do so. For another such program, look at 10k Scholarships for Working Adults for another scholarship sweepstake you can apply for.
Listings of Some Available Scholarships
Now that you know what to look for in a scam here are a few programs that are above board. They will each contain a link to provide you with detailed information.
• If you live in the State of Arkansas you could apply at http://www.aspsf.org/, for the Single Parent Scholarship Fund awards a scholarship to residents of over 70 counties in the state of Arkansas. Once you go to the website you can look up your county on the locator map.
• In 1978, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation has been awarding scholarship to eligible women. You may apply from November thru February. Only 500 women will be granted awards so the earlier you apply the better. http://www.rankinfoundation.org/, click on this link for more information.
• Congresswoman Patsy Mink made a huge step to see the realization of one of the causes she was most passionate about. She started the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation to aid low income, especially single mothers to further their education. Click for more information.
• It is a horrible commentary on society but the fact is that a lot of single mothers are also a domestic abuse survivor. The R.O.S.E scholarship is for women who have already completed one full year of undergraduate classes in the New England area. For more information go here.
Government Sponsored Grants
The government also has several grants that you can apply for. The Pell grant is open to all residents but you have to apply for it by starting with the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which can be applied for here. This one application will open other doors of possible funding.
Government Financial Aid Requirements (FAFSA requirements)
• Be a U.S Citizen or an eligible non citizen
• A social Security Card
• Registered with the selective service program
• Have a high school diploma, GED or pass an entrance examination
• Be enrolled in a school that participates in the program
• Not have any drug convictions while you were receiving federal grant monies
• Not be in default on a student loan
• You must be able to show that you have financial need
Most of the single mothers in America can show financial need easily. If you are living at or below the poverty level your need is apparent. Even if for some reason you are denied Federal Aid you may still be accepted for some of the State and Local grant programs.
As a single parent you should also be aware that there are some local churches and civic organizations that also offer grants at various times during the year. These are a little harder to find and will require that you be diligent in your search. Start calling local groups or Googling them to see if they have a information about grants on their websites.
Another overlooked source of funding is the colleges themselves. Some have scholarships and grants for various groups and degree programs. Women going into typically male dominated fields qualify for a wide range of scholarships. With the high need for teachers in the United States there are several Grants that are aimed at getting more people to enter that field. They come with a few strings attached but hey what doesn’t. The TEACH grant for example requires that you contract to teach in an elementary or high school in a low income high need area for a number of years post graduation. If you do not then the grant is treated as a loan and interest will be attached. You will have to pay it all back. The following link takes you directly to the website for more information. It is worth at least reading the offer.
Child Care Assistance
Going back to school or continuing your education brings with it all new set of concerns including that of childcare. Even if your kids are older and spending a full day in school there is the after school care that is needed sometimes while you are in transit. Childcare cost have skyrocketed in the past few years and single mothers are having it harder than most. There is also funding available for that if you know where to look. One source of funding can be through the Department of Children and Families. If you follow this link, it will take you directly to the landing page for their childcare program. You will find all the information you need to know to apply in your state.
How to Avoid Scholarship Scams
There are a number of phony scholarship programs out there that rip people off. Don’t fall victim to these programs. Here are a few things to look for to avoid getting scammed:
1. Scholarships are not won or are a part of some type of drawing. You apply for all of the legitimate scholarships. So if you get something by email, snail mail or a phone call saying you won a scholarship, do not believe it.
2. If you get a correspondence of any kind and its from a company or other concern offering to apply for scholarships on your behalf do not give out your personal information. These are usually identity theft scams.
3. Any offer of a scholarship that claims everyone is eligible cannot be legit as most scholarships set applicant criteria.
4. If the program is asking for any type of up front fee you can bet it’s a scam. Oh, they may have given out a thousand or two to some people, but this was only to make them look legitimate. They make more on the ones who get bamboozled into sending them the fee than they ever give away.
5. Never pay a consulting or matching service. Any information they would give you can be found by you, if you only take the time to do a few Internet searches.
These are just a few of the most popular scams to look out for. The main thing is to be vigilant and to research any organization before giving them your personal information.
The Final Word on Scholarships for Single Moms
It does not matter if you are returning to finish a long put off career choice, enhancing a degree you already possess or are looking for vocational training on a short term basis, there are grants and scholarships available to help with all of these. Knowing that you are not alone in this struggle can give you comfort and courage you need to proceed in the face of adversity. There are several websites that provide a place for mothers to chat with others, not unlike themselves to share their knowledge, strength and hope. Websites like singlemoms.org are valuable Internet resource that was started in an effort to consolidate the information out there into a easy format and provide assistance to single mothers who are in need of help in all areas. Not only do they provide valuable links to other sites they have pages that cover everything from parenting to finance and housing. It is worth it to bookmark this site for your personal use in the future. They have also started their own scholarship program. It is advisable for you to take the time and give the site the once over, as a single mom you are sure to find topics that interest you. They offer an extensive list of links to various grant and scholarship applications as well.
Another font of valuable site to bookmark for future reference is the government student website. This link will take you directly to a page listing various scholarships and grants with information about where and how to apply. It is important that you check for reputable sites such as the ones listed here. A sad but true fact is that there are scholarship scams on the web. In order to help you recognize these scams here are a few tips describing what you should be on the look out for.