Overview: Scholarships and Assistance for Single Mothers


Single motherhood is becoming more and more common. According to the most recent U.S. census, 41% of all births between 2000 and 2010 were to unmarried women. 

This is a dramatic increase over the last few decades; in the 1950s and 60s, births to unmarried women hovered under 10%. According to the same census, single mothers also struggle financially, and the median adjusted annual household income for unmarried mothers was $26,000

Women without bachelor’s degrees face competitive job markets and can struggle to provide their families with the kind of situations that they desire.

This may cause many single mothers to consider pursuing additional education. However, an expensive endeavor like earning a bachelor’s degree may seem out of reach. Many single mothers could benefit from scholarships and other financial assistance. Some common questions about this include:

  • Where can I find scholarships for single moms?
  • How do scholarships work?
  • What kinds of scholarships for single moms are available?
  • How can a scholarship offer single moms help?

Finding the right financial assistance for single mothers can be a challenge. There are many factors to consider and many different kinds of scholarships to choose from. However, with the best information and a guide to the complicated world of academic scholarships, a degree may seem much more reachable.



Assistance for Single Mothers Is Valuable

Image source: Pixabay.com

Being a single mother is one of the most challenging situations that a woman can face. Single mothers are required to face all of the trials of parenthood without a partner while earning an average of 20% less than their male counterparts.



This can make personal improvements like continuing education next to impossible for some women without scholarships for single moms.

According to the latest census data, most single parents are single mothers. Only 24% of single parent households are headed by single fathers, which means that a whopping 75% of single parents are mothers. Furthermore, 43% of single mothers are living at or below the poverty line, which makes assistance for single moms even more important.

Scholarships for single moms can help them pursue education and improve their lives. Education is something that many single mothers are lacking. According to recent census data, only 18% of single mothers hold bachelor’s degrees or are more highly educated.

Scholarships for single mothers serve an unbelievably important role in modern American society. A college degree can vastly improve the lives of women and can affect the trajectory of their children’s lives.

Scholarships for single moms can open the avenue to education and dramatically affect a person’s earning potential over their lifetime.



According to a report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, people with high school degrees earn an average of $30,000 a year, while those with bachelor’s degrees can expect to earn an average of $50,000, and people with a higher degree like a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree can enjoy an average earning potential of $70,000 a year.

Over the course of a lifetime, these income levels can make a huge difference. They can affect retirement options, educational opportunities for children, and so much more. Opening up education and providing scholarships for single moms is a great way to help alleviate some of these discrepancies.

Along with helping single mothers realize their greater earning potential, scholarships for single moms also help them find better employment opportunities in other ways. A college or master’s degree can offer is stability.

Degrees open up doors for higher-level jobs that come with benefits like health care, retirement options, and dependable working hours. These benefits can offer assistance for single mothers and help them improve their own lives and the lives of their children. These higher-level jobs also tend to have more security.

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How Do Scholarships for Single Moms Work?

Scholarships for moms are intended to help single mothers cover at least some of the expense of furthering their education. Because being a single mother can put a person at an economic disadvantage, assistance for single mothers can make a huge difference as they pursue education. Scholarships for moms offer this assistance, but they can have very specific qualification requirements.

Qualification requirements can be different depending on what kind of financial assistance for single mothers is offered. Grants and scholarships are often distributed based on the need of the recipients. Some are tailored to assist people with very specific needs and backgrounds, while others are much more broad. Some will be available only through certain schools, in certain areas, or in certain states.

Specific scholarships for single moms do exist and can be very helpful in the right circumstances. However, there is a wide range of good options for financial assistance for single mothers that is also available to a broader range of students. It is important to look at the specific requirements of many scholarships and find the best ones for you.

Financial assistance for single mothers can be offered in the form of privately funded scholarships or government grants. Both will provide assistance for single mothers, but some private scholarships are awarded to an individual to use at the school of their choice, while many government grants are distributed to schools to award as they see fit.



Qualification requirements for scholarships for single moms can vary widely. However, it is common for organizations to examine:

  • Whether the applicant is a part-time or full-time student
  • An applicant’s GPA
  • An applicant’s financial needs
  • Other financial aid that the applicant has received
  • Whether an applicant is the guardian of a child under the age of 18 (this is only for scholarships specifically for mothers)
  • Marital status
  • Essay submissions
  • Recommendations

Unfortunately, most scholarships for moms will not cover the entire cost of a four-year degree. If a bachelor’s degree is your goal, you might want to consider applying for multiple kinds of financial help for single mothers.

There is no limit to the number of scholarships or grants an individual can apply for, and it is unlikely that one would somehow negate another. If you are hoping to cover as much of the cost as possible, applying for as many scholarships as possible each academic year is a good strategy.

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Where to Find Assistance for Single Mothers

There are a few excellent places to begin your search for single mother assistance. Since most scholarships for moms cannot be awarded unless you are already enrolled in a school, a good place to look for single mother assistance is your college, university, or school’s financial aid office. They should be able to provide you with an exhaustive list of scholarships available at your institution.

Image source: U.S. Department of Education

Another good place to find scholarships for moms is the United States Department of Education website or scholarships.com. Both websites include databases listing available scholarships, loans, and grants.

They include pertinent information like eligibility requirements and geographic restrictions.

It is a good idea to combine a search through your school’s offices and an independent search, like the kind offered by one of these websites.

This is because many scholarships for moms offered through private organizations can be awarded to an individual instead of going through an educational institution. There may be a number of single mom scholarships that you won’t find through your school and vice versa.



Assistance for Single Moms May Be Geographically Limited

Some scholarships for single moms will be only be offered in specific states or areas. Being a single mother can limit a person’s ability to travel for education, so it is important to consider any scholarships specifically designed for your city or state.

Some single mom scholarships will only be available to residents of an area who are able to provide proof of residence, while others may be more focused on those who intend to study at a school in that particular area.

One example of a scholarship for single moms like this is the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund. This is a scholarship that was designed specifically to help single parents in the state of Arkansas who are working toward education with the potential to improve their earning potential.

This is a fund awarded to educational institutions in Arkansas to provide assistance for single mothers or fathers as they see fit.

Though qualification guidelines may change depending on the county, to qualify for this assistance, applicants must generally meet the following requirments:

  • Single parents living in Arkansas
  • Economically disadvantaged
  • Hold custody of one or more children under the age of 18
  • Have no diploma or degree from a four-year educational institution

Another example of geographically limited scholarships for moms are those offered by the Capture the Dream organization. They offer a Single Parent Scholarship designed to offer assistance for single moms or dads with low-incomes as they enroll in an accredited two- or four-year educational instituition. This scholarship is only available to residents of the San Francisco Bay area.

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Some Good Scholarships for Moms Are Specialized

Some scholarships, like those designed to provide assistance for single mothers, are intended to address very specific needs. Some scholarships may be intended future teachers, for artists, or for bilingual students.

Some scholarships may be designed to help students with disabilities or students with extraordinary circumstances.

A good example of a very specific scholarship is the Beatrice F. Kroesche Fund Scholarship. This fund provides financial assistance for single mothers with visual or hearing impairments. An applicant must be nominated and must be in good academic standing, must be working toward a degree in the humanities or education, and must have a GPA of at least 3.0.

The Ann and Peter Ziegler Scholarship is a scholarship for single mothers offered by the Central New Mexico Community College Foundation.

It is only available to give financial help for single mothers who are currently majoring in liberal arts. Students must also plan to transfer to a four-year university, have at least a 3.0 GPA, have completed at least 12 college credits at the community college, and have a financial need.

Private Assistance for Single Mothers

Emerge is a very interesting scholarship organization. They accept donations from private individuals to help create specific scholarships for single mothers and women. Since 2001, they have helped 100 women and provided $50,000 in academic scholarships.

The organization is based in Georgia and requires that all applicants must currently live in the state to be considered for any scholarships.

Their overall goal is to improve the state’s overall community by helping to empower individuals through education. Emerge encourages those who have already reaped the benefits of education to give back and help provide assistance for single mothers and women who are hoping to improve their lives through education.

In order to be considered, applicants must:

  • Be a current resident of Georgia and provide proof of residency
  • Be enrolled or accepted into a program
  • Be at least 25 years of age
  • Submit completed application and essay by mail
  • Provide letters of recommendation

Some Scholarships for Moms Are More Accessible

Some scholarships that can provide financial help for single mothers are much more universally available. Federal grants and scholarships tend to be much more widely available and have less strict qualification requirements. This makes them great options as single mother scholarships or scholarships for anyone else looking for assistance.

A good example of an accessible option for single mother scholarships is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant.

The program behind this grant was designed to provide education grants to low-income undergraduate students based on their financial needs.  They are offered at nearly 3,800 educational institutions, which makes them easy to access and a great option to provide single moms help.

Students with the most need are prioritized for these grants. This includes students who cannot expect financial assistance from their families. Since being a single mother means that they are usually their own head of household, this is a good option.

Another federal grant that can give single mothers assistance is the Federal Pell Grant. These grant are offered at around 5,400 institutions. They are extremely accessible and a wonderful option for single mom scholarships.

The amount of money for each Pell Grant is awarded based on a student’s financial need, the cost of their institution, whether they are full-time or part-time students, and whether they plan to attend for the full academic year.

The Federal Pell Grant Program was designed to help low-income undergraduate students with the financial burden of postsecondary education based on their financial needs.

This means that they can offer financial help for single mothers who may not be able to afford to continue their education any other way. While a Pell Grant can offer much needed assistance for single mothers, it is important to keep in mind that it may not cover the entire cost. The maximum amount given to any student for the 2015-2016 academic year was $5775.

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Conclusion: What Is Important to Remember About Assistance for Single Mothers?

Scholarships for single moms open up enormous possibilities for them and can help relieve some of the challenges that they face as single parents. The search for useful scholarships for single moms can be a difficult one, but the larger points from our guide can help light the way:

  • Assistance for single mothers is valuable
  • Some options for single mother scholarships will be geographically limited
  • Some good scholarships for moms address very specific needs
  • Private scholarships may offer single moms the help that they need
  • Some scholarships for moms are more universal

A college or master’s degree can offer stability to the family of a single mother.

 Degrees open up doors to higher-level jobs complete with benefits, security, and higher pay. Finding the right financial assistance for single mothers can help make these things much more achievable.

The first step to a better future is gathering the best tools and information about these scholarships and opportunities.

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