Juggling work, family and budget is difficult enough for married couples. For a single mother, it can be a daring feat of frugality and scrambling to make sure you meet commitments.
When there is a moment to reflect, you may wonder about how to get the time and money to begin or return to college. It may feel like you are stepping into the dark. Yet a college financial aid office can help you to turn on the lights to see where you are going.
Lending a Helping Hand
Financial aid counselors provide crucial support, including information about scholarships, grants, loans, deadlines and how to fill out important paperwork, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When it comes to financial aid for single moms, they can speed up the search. It’s their job to lend a helping hand.
Aside from informing you about grants and scholarships particular to their schools, these counselors can point you toward excellent financial aid portals online, including sources focused on single mothers. They can get you thinking about sources of student aid you may not have considered, including faith organizations, employers and local foundations.
Investing Faith in Your Future
You aren’t the only one interested in investing in your future. Scholarship and grant programs are based on the idea that by helping individuals to succeed, everyone — schools, communities, organizations and society — succeeds.
One major investor in your future is the federal government, which offers a variety of needs-based grants for students. Hundreds to thousands of dollars of support is available for qualifying students annually. These include:
Finding Financial Aid for Women
Many private organizations offer scholarships and grants for women and single mothers. Here are some examples of organizations that want to invest in you:
The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation focuses on women returning to school or changing careers and awards scholarships averaging about $2,500 each.
The Jeanette Rankin Foundation offers a fund for the technical or vocational education of low-income women, ages 35 and older.
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation provides “education support” awards of up to $3,000 for low-income women in need of education or training.
P.E.O. International awards one-time-only grants up to $3,000 for the continuing education of women whose education has been interrupted.
The Soroptimists give “opportunity awards” to mothers who are the primary financial support for their dependents and who are in or accepted to an undergraduate program or vocational training.
WISP, the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program aids “survivors of intimate partner abuse” in gaining an education and self sufficiency.
Believing in Yourself
As a single parent, it is particularly important to avoid debt. Seeking scholarships and grants can help you to minimize student loans. You need to believe in your worthiness and start filling out applications.
As educator Patrick Overton says in his poem “Faith,” when you step into the unknown “you must believe…/ There will be something solid for you to stand upon,/ or, you will be taught how to fly.” Your financial aid counselor can help you learn how to fly to the right resources.