Being a mother is a difficult job, but being a mother and attending higher education is a daunting task for many. Many mothers, especially single moms, run into the issue of funding their education and being able to support their children at the same time. One thing that makes it slightly easier is scholarships, and specifically, scholarships aimed towards helping mothers.
There’s a world of available scholarships both online and through other means, but taking the steps to find each scholarship, apply for them, and waiting to hear back can be a time-consuming process. With the resources below, the search for mom-specific scholarships and other scholarship resources will hopefully make the process less of a hassle and put you well on your way to earning funds to put towards your education.
Types of Scholarships that Might Be Available to Moms
A run-down on the different types of sources of funds
Depending on the type of higher education you plan on or are currently attending, whether it be for a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, law degree, or any other type, there are certain sources of funding that are common to all and vary based on the kind of degree.
The vast majority of universities and colleges offer state grants if you qualify based on certain eligibility requirements. These eligibility requirements can vary state-by-state but are mostly dependent on your income, your household’s total income, and the number of people enrolled in college in your household. For both undergraduate and graduate programs, it is absolutely essential for every student who anticipates attending a university to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA. This form is the first step towards getting the most funding towards your degree, as it determines your eligibility for state grants, work studies, and loans. Additionally, as a graduate student, you can file as an independent on the FAFSA, which means that your parents’ income will not be factored into your aid package. This can greatly help diminish some of the major costs of attending school, and it’s a must when considering how to pay for school.
For a more in-depth look into what FAFSA is, how to fill it out, and how to make the most out of it, check out this article for some tips and tricks.
The FAFSA can help you acquire grants (which is aid you do not have to pay back), loans (which you do have to pay back, sadly), and work studies which involve working part-time for on and off-campus jobs. If you’ve filled out the FAFSA and are still searching for ways to make paying for school easier, scholarships are the way to go.
Scholarship Resources for Moms
Where to find the most reputable and mom-specific scholarships
It can be overwhelming to type ‘scholarships’ into a search bar on the internet and be bombarded with sponsored and sketchy scholarship opportunities, but there are many reputable sites out there that have a good chance of helping you find the scholarship you’re looking for. For our full guide on navigating scholarships and some of the better resources out there, check out our guide on scholarships.
To summarize that guide, some great places to start your search for free money are through College Board, Niche, and Fastweb. These sites make it easy to search for exactly the type of scholarship you’re looking for, and they filter out scholarships based on your eligibility and merit. From these websites and more, here are some of the best scholarships specifically aimed towards moms pursuing higher education:
These scholarships, both offered through the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting, offer awards of over $2,000 for each year to women who are the primary source of income in their family and maintain a GPA of over 3.0 in their study of Accounting. The Women in Transition Scholarship requires that the recipient is an incoming undergraduate freshman and the Women in Need scholarship requires that the recipient is a sophomore in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.
While a very specific scholarship, this award provides $3,000 to single mothers who reside in either Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb County of southeastern Michigan. Recipients attend either the Columbus College of Law at the Catholic University of America, any campus of the University of Michigan, or any campus of Wayne State University.
With an award of $2,000, this scholarship is offered to non-traditional female students who are at least 23 years old, have experienced challenges in their life and education, and are involved in leadership activities at their university. This scholarship only applies to women living in North San Diego County of San Diego, California.
This scholarship is for mothers supporting at least one child while attending Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania and comes with an award of $1,000. They must be at least a part-time student and stay in good academic standing.
With only a few short answer questions, this scholarship is for women aged 35 and older who are low income and attend a not-for-profit university. The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship fund has been around for over 30 years and has helped to fund over 1,300 women’s educations.
Lastly, Scholarships.com has a great resource that contains multiple different scholarships specifically aimed at mothers and is another helpful place to look for other scholarship opportunities.
Additional Tips + Resources about Scholarships
More ways to take control of financing your education
If you start your scholarship journey and are looking for more ways to make the most of your opportunities, here are some tips and tricks to help you maximize your search.
Some other tips and tricks:
- Don’t be discouraged -- it takes time
Finding scholarships that are reputable, easy to apply to, and have a financial award in the amount that you’re looking for can take a lot of time searching for. Scouring scholarship websites, your school’s website, and looking through other means can be a time-consuming process but is absolutely worthwhile in the long run. And if you apply to multiple scholarships and fail to hear back or receive news that you were not chosen to be a recipient, don’t give up on your search. There are so many new opportunities that pop up every day that could be the next scholarship to help you pay for your education.
- Don’t stray away from little amounts of money -- they add up quick
If you look at the list of opportunities above, the majority of them have smaller rewards that amount to less than $5,000 each. While each of these awards may not total to a lot individually, accruing multiple scholarships can help to make a great dent in your education costs. So, just because one scholarship may not seem worthwhile to apply to because it won’t cover a large portion of your education expenses, any little amount helps, and the more scholarships you apply to, the greater chances you have of accruing more money.
- Look at your university’s scholarships specifically for mothers and non-traditional students
The list above details scholarship awards for certain colleges or areas of the country, and while some may not apply to you because of that specificity, it might be worth your time to see if your university has mother-specific scholarships. Universities love to support their undergraduate and graduate students who are parents, but it’s crucial to go out of your way and look for them in order to make the most of them.
- Consistently check throughout your time in school for new or different scholarships, apply throughout your time in school
There’s a common misconception that you can only apply to scholarships as a new student at a university, but that’s a myth. Students can and should apply for scholarships throughout the entirety of their time at university. By doing so, you open yourself up to a whole new slew of scholarships as new ones become available.
- Always talk to your university’s financial aid office
Lastly, before making any decisions about where you plan to go for higher education, you should reach out to your prospective university’s financial aid office. This will give you a better picture of what the cost, loans, and grants might look like based on your situation. By contacting your school’s financial aid office, you can also ask about scholarship opportunities and whether they have any specifically geared towards mothers and parents.
Paying for college and supporting children is an unimaginably difficult balancing act, but it can be made a little bit easier with the help of scholarships and other financial aid. All it takes is a little effort and perseverance, and you’ll be well on your way to funding your education.