Single parent financial grants for college help many find a way to begin or complete their degree.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, single parent households are more than twice as likely to live in a state of poverty. How, then, can single parents afford college? With tuition costs soaring nationwide, attaining an associates or bachelor's degree seems impossible. Grants are the gateway to college, however, starting men and women down the path to the economic opportunities of a college education.
Grants vs. Scholarships
Many people use the terms grants and scholarships interchangeably, but the two types of funding are different. Grants are typically based on need. In the context of college, they're given by the government, a non profit organization, or a higher education institution for the purpose of providing a needy student with the funds for tuition or other expenses. Scholarships based on selective criteria are the norm. Criteria may include academic excellence, membership to a group, club or church, or many other factors. Single parents should seek both grants and scholarships to fund their education.
Finding Single Parent Financial Grants for College
All that's needed to find grants for single parents is time, persistence, and access to the Internet at home or through your local public library.
- Start by making a list of the colleges or universities you're thinking of attending. Visit their websites and look under the financial aid category. Champlain College in Vermont, Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio and many other fine institutions offer grants for single parents. Baldwin-Wallace College created a special program called SPROUT for single mothers age 18-21 that includes a special residence hall for parents and kids! You'll need to complete the typical financial aid paperwork, including the FAFSA forms and other documents to prove need.
- Explore the Government Grants website. This comprehensive listing includes multiple search functions to find grant money for education. Search for grants that fit your circumstances and needs.
- Examine your state's website for information on financial aid for single parents. Some states like Arkansas have special grants and scholarship for single parents. The State Higher Education commission is a great starting place where you can research opportunities within your home state.
- Find need-based funding through the federal Pell Grant program. Pell Grants base the amount of aid on the family's expected contribution to the cost of tuition. Over 5,400 universities participate in the Pell Grant program. If you're not sure if the institution you're interested in participates, contact their Financial Aid office. Be sure to explore the new National Smart Grants, which can supply up to $4,000 per year for third and fourth year Pell Grant recipients studying computer science, technology, engineering or a foreign language deemed critical for national security.
- Visit Raise the Nation, a resource for single parents that's chock full of grant and scholarship information! While they do charge a nominal fee to get started, all monies go to support single parents who need their services. You can find and apply for many single parent financial grants for college through their auspices.
- Visit Single Mom to read about financial aid resources for single moms. The site includes resources for budgeting and saving money in general, too.
- Review the information on Back2College. This site contains a wealth of information on how single parents, especially single moms, can fund their college education.
It's Never Too Late
It's never too late to pursue your dreams. You can go to college and attain that degree! Don't let a scary financial situation keep you from your goal. With the right resources, research, persistence and patience, you can do anything.