Financial Aid for Single Mothers: Grants

Single mothers are hard-working women who manage to provide their children with everything from emotional support to financial support— a challenging feat even when there are 2 parents, especially in the current economic climate.

Single Mom graduates from collegeMotivated by the changing U.S. economy, many adults, including single mothers, are heading back to school for degrees that will help them improve their future.

If you’re a single mom thinking about getting a college degree, the thought of adding this expense to your budget may feel overwhelming, but there are single mothers’ grants and scholarships out there to help you. The question is how to find them and which ones to trust.

For single mothers, grants are an excellent financial aid option, since grants are generally need-based and, unlike student loans, do not have to be repaid. The federal government, private companies, and nonprofit women’s organizations all offer financially strapped single mothers grants and scholarships for college and career school programs.

Single Mothers’ Grants: U.S. Government

Most single mothers will qualify for these grants from the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Academic Competitiveness Grant
  • National SMART Grant
  • TEACH Grant

To apply for federal grants, you must file a FAFSA. (See our Grants section for more eligibility details.) Pell Grant eligibility and award amounts may soon increase dramatically due to federal legislation now in negotiation in Washington. Stay tuned.

Single Mothers’ Grants: State & Private

State higher education departments, colleges and universities, and private institutions such as nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses also offer grants for single moms.

Individual states have separate financial aid programs with their own set of eligibility requirements, application processes, and award amounts. Find the contact information for your state’s higher education department on the State Higher Education Agencies website. The Internet can also help you find institutions that offer education grants for women, and for working single mothers, grants from your employer are another possibility worth investigating.

The FAFSA and Federal Grants Are Your First Source

So, single mothers, grants are your first stop on your path toward receiving financial aid so that you can achieve your dreams of earning a college degree and improving your quality of life for you and your children!

Still not sure how to get started with finding Financial Aid? Start here:

1) 4 Ideas for Single Moms Going Back to School offers a basic back-to-college plan.

2) How to Prepare for the FAFSA: 3 Pre-FAFSA Steps provides a basic introduction to the Federal Application for Pell Grants and other federal financial aid.

3) The EducationGrant Guide to Grants & Scholarships has tips and information on:

  • Understanding the difference between grants and scholarships
  • How to apply for Pell Grants and other federal financial aid
  • Searching for state and private grants and scholarships appropriate for you
  • Successfully applying for state and private grants and scholarships
  • More than 80 scholarships that you may be interested in applying for

26 comments to “Financial Aid for Single Mothers: Grants”

  1. The current recession and my recent divorce has dramatically affected our lives. I’ve had to apply for the Temporary Assistance for needy Families and Food Stamps to be able to pay our rent and have food to eat. Until this time in my life I have been a full time stay at home mother and home maker. Now that I am a single mother I have reconsidered what will be best for our futures. I believe that going back to school to earn a degree along with my eight certificates and one with honors for the best attendance that I received in 2003 in the Intro to Office course at Whatcom Community college will greatly improve my future career goals. My goal is to obtain my Associate In Applied Science Degree in the Administrative Assistant course at the Bellingham Technical College starting this fall quarter as a full time student, all while still maintaining my life as a single mother. Without financial assistance with my living expenses, tuition, books and supplies, transportation and maintenance. I will not be able to continue with my educational goals. Getting my degree will allow me to sustain a very good living and future for us. Thank You
    Sincerely Ms. Lisa Yonally

  2. I am a single mother and am enrolled in Kaskaskia College in Cetralia, Illinois. I have been excepted into the Respiratory Therapy program. I am recieving financial aid and a pell grant.However, the map i normally get for school it is too late for. I have over an hour drive one way to school and without the map i will not have money to attend without help from another grant or scolorship. What can I apply for to help with housing and transportation?

  3. Lora, congratulations on getting into your respiratory therapy program. The need for medical and allied health therapists will only increase over the next decade. If the MAP you would normally get is unavailable, it sounds like your best bet is to call the college financial aid office and ask what they can do to help you. With the start of the school-year only a month away, the school itself is probably more likely than anyone else to know of sources of last-minute aid for you. They may even have a small fund put aside for emergencies just such as yours, especially if you are already enrolled. Good luck with everything!

  4. I am a single mother with a 1 year old baby from india. I am a graduate in engineering(IT) with 76%. I would like to do my Master in Computer science at US.
    I hav to take my baby also with me as i dont hav anybody to lookafter my child.Kindly give me details of finiancial aid that i may get for building up my future.

  5. Hi Leeba — Most grants, scholarships, and loans from public and private sources are restricted to US citizens, so you may have some difficulty. eduPASS offers a lot of helpful information for students in your situation. I’d encourage you to visit their website: eduPASS recommend researching organizations in your home country that may sponsor your education in the US, or contact international organizations such as the United Nations or OAS, which offer funding for graduate students to study in the US.

    Additionally, have you been accepted into a Masters program in the US yet? Contact the financial aid office at the school you will be attending. They will most certainly be able to point you in the right direction.

    Best of luck!
    Community Manager

  6. I am a single mom with 3 children- my youngest is home with me and will be leaving the nest egg in a year, bound for the Air Force. I’ve always worked and I must say, I had a great income without the help of child support and no degree. Well we all know the economy took a substantial dip due to the mortgage bubble. Needless to say I, along with millions of others in the mortgage/banking arena was affected by this horrible situation. I have the experience but no one is hiring, well they’re not hiring me. I have a college education, but no degree. I’m a tentative non-traditional student of Clayton State University of GA and I have the pell grant to cover the 1 semester, books and maybe a some left over for the 2nd semester. I’m in need of additional grants/scholarships for other cost. What are the other resources?

  7. To whom it may concern:
    I am looking for a grant source so I can go back to college. I recently lost everything with the downturn in the economy. I owned a home care agency. I owned an apartment building and my personal residence. I lost it all. My bankruptcy closed up on November 9, 2009. I lost absolutely everything but my children. I am now on DSHS assistance with medical, and a tiny amount of food aid.
    While I owned the home care agency, I went to school and got my Certified Nursing Certificate. There is a program at Edmonds Community College for CNA’s, where one can get an LPN certified in six quarters. That is a little misleading as there are several prerequisites that need to be met before one an enter into the course. Those would probably take me three quarters.
    I am a single mother of two 12 year olds.
    I want to further educate myself so I can be a self-sufficient human being and mother once again.
    I would appreciate being pointed in any helpful direction.
    Sincerely, Susan Sather

  8. Hi Susan,
    What a terrible situation your huge loss has been for you. It’s admirable that you’re picking yourself up and already working on starting over. The most important thing to do is talk to your college’s financial aid office right away. If they want you to apply for and qualify to enroll in their LPN program, they’ll do everything they can to help you find with financial aid. (Don’t let them talk you into a private student loan right off the bat, though.) Figure out where you’re going to take those prereqs and file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) ASAP.

    You can also find federal and private sources of financial aid for nursing students in our EducationGrant Guide to Grants & Scholarships, which has tips and information on understanding the difference between grants and scholarships; how to apply for Pell Grants and other federal financial aid; searching for state and private grants and scholarships appropriate for you; what successful applications for state and private grants and scholarships often contain; and addresses and websites of more than 80 federal and private scholarships, so you can contact them. You can download a copy of the Guide at the link above. Best wishes, the EducationGrant Editor

  9. Hi Contessa,
    I can’t tell you how many inspiring stories about super-moms like you we found when researching our EducationGrant Guide to Grants & Scholarships. Your children must be very proud of you. Unfortunately, an economic crash can affect even super-moms. Let’s hope there are better times ahead in 2010! In the meantime, please feel free to download the grant and scholarship guide, which has tips and information on understanding the difference between grants and scholarships; how to apply for Pell Grants and other federal financial aid; searching for state and private grants and scholarships appropriate for you; some characteristics of successful applications for state and private grants and scholarships; and addresses and websites of more than 80 federal and private scholarships, so you can contact them. Best wishes, the EducationGrant Editor

  10. I am currently attending LIfe University and will be in the chiropractic program in the spring. I live in the apartments on campus. My daughter is 2 years old and will be attending the daycare on campus when she moves here in February. The daycare is expensive and because I already have a bachelor’s degree, I am not eligible for much aid because I am pre-dc. Is there any way/help/additional aid for me? If not, I may have to work and worse case scenario, drop out and put my dreams on hold again.

  11. Hello Reader,

    Thank you for reading the EducationGrant Blog. We strive to provide financial aid information, news, and research resources. For advice regarding your personal situation, you should always speak directly with a counselor in your school’s financial aid office. It is the financial aid office’s job and responsibility to explain and help you understand all your college costs and financial aid options. Best wishes for your college success, the EducationGrant Editors

  12. Hello to all my single moms out there doing what we have to do and holding down the fort with friends,family,lovers and most importantly our most precious resource the children and doing it all while trying to bounce back from an economy that tried to literally take a lot of us already living from pay check 2 paycheck out! My comment to the editor is thank you for providing another online resource for women who are trying to either start for the first time, continue, finish or seek graduate level Degrees. I am a single mother from Chicago, IL in pursuit of an Undergraduate Degree to increase my earning potential and am looking for ANY plus ALL free financial assistance I can get to assist me in my goals, because I to need to keep my household running while going after my dreams of a higher education while also working a 9 to 5 and selling crafts on the side, but in reading your advice to others about additional grants out there and where to seek them will also be beneficial to me so THANK YOU AGAIN!

  13. Hi Taisha,
    Thanks for reading the blog. Keep up the good work raising your family and going back to school! I would advise filling out a FAFSA form (financial aid application) to apply for financial aid and federal student grants. Visit our grant section for more information: Since you are a single mother, I would also do some research to search for any single mother scholarships that are out there in your community. Also, are there any scholarships available from the school you are interested in? What about any scholarships offered in your town or state, from any groups, organizations, or religious establishments you are involved in? When applying for financial aid or for scholarships, you must make sure you keep an eye on the deadline, so you don’t miss an opportunity to receive extra money for your schooling. If you have any other questions you should consult your financial aid advisor, or someone in the financial or guidance department of the school you are (interested in) attending.

    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  14. Hello, I am very confused on how to get my GED. I have a wonderful little boy who is only 1 and unfortunately I did not graduate from high school. I have 9 1/2 credits and I am willing to do the work I need but I dont even know where to start. I would like to be a veterinary technician someday, not only do I have a love for children but a great love for animals as well. I know the first step is to get my GED, but Im not sure what programs to apply for or how to do it. Ive looked around and talked to so many people but its so confusing. If you could I would greatly appreciate it, I want my son to be proud of me and I want to give him the life and future he deserves. Thank you!

  15. Hi,

    Thanks for reading! Just so you know, you cannot earn your GED online – no matter what any websites say! There are many websites out there regarding GEDs, but most of them are not legit. You physically have to go to a GED testing center and take the test there.

    I would first go to the website of department of education for the state that you live in. For example, the Massachusetts’ Department of Education’s website provides this information on GEDs: Or, go to the American Counsel of Education’s website: You should be able to find information, and the contact information of someone who you can talk to about your specific situation.

    Hope this helps, best of luck!
    EducationGrant Editor

  16. I am a single mother of a six year old son and I have recently been laid off from my job. This is the second time I have been laid off in 2 years and so I have decided to pursue a career in chiropractic medicine. I already have a bachelors degree in science and am wondering what avenues I can take to help me fund my schooling. I am barely making ends meet because of my recent job status so I need all the help I can possibly get with grants and scholarships. It’s been over 9 years since I’ve been in school so this is a huge adjustment I will have to make on all ends. Thanks in advanced for any help. Be blessed.

  17. Hi,
    Congrats on going back to school! I would apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA form. Make sure you don’t miss the deadlines! Also apply for federal grants. Apply to any and all scholarships you are eligible for!
    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  18. Hi! I am a 38-year-old single mother of a lovely 4-year-old girl. I recently was accepted to radiography school at a hospital nearby. I attended a junior college for prerequisites and was fortunate enough to receive financial aid. However, the school of radiography does not have a school code. Therefore, I cannot fill out a FAFSA for aid. I have been working as a waitress 5 nights per week to pay the bills but will have to go down to two nights when my program starts. Any suggestions on how I might make up for this lack of work? I made ~$22,000 last year, have a 2.96 overall GPA, (3.4 since returning to school 2 years ago), and am a kidney cancer survivor. My life was saved by an ultrasound tech and I plan to continue on to ultrasound.
    Thank you for your consideration,

  19. Hi,
    I have a 14 month old daughter and I have a year and half (hopefully) to complete my PhD. I live in Boston, MA and my relationship is heading towards divorce. My legal status is permanent resident in US. The day care costs about 1700/month but my stipend is barely enough to sustain day to day expenses. The only alternative that I see is sending my daughter to India to live with her grandparents until I finish up. Right now thou logic defines this as the best step in my situation, it absolutely tears me up. I keep reading information about how toddlers cope in divorce and I am sure its going to be hard on my innocent child. Careerwise, i know I have to do something to secure our financial future. So there are two question; what would ladies out there do in such circumstances and second, are there any grants that I can supplement my current stipend to pay for day care.
    Thank you for your consideration

  20. Hi, Thanks for reading!
    In addition to your stipend, I would apply for other means of financial aid. You may qualify for a Pell Grant, and to apply you must fill out the FAFSA form. Read more about Pell Grants here:
    Also, I would apply for any scholarships that you may apply for. Look at businesses or corporations in Boston that sponsor scholarships. Are there ones offered through the school you are attending? Scholarships for women?
    Although researching available financial aid is time consuming, every penny can help!
    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  21. I’m 24 yrs old I have a three year old son and I plan on going b ack to school in the fall. My situations is do I go to a communitty college in milwaukee to start with getting a two yr degree first and then transfer into a university to get my bachlors degree? The ultimate goal is to be an anatheselogist nurse. My concern is finanacial which I have filed out the fasa already but I can’t find anymore grants and or scholarships. Also I would like to change carreers soon so would me choosing to get my lpn or any two yr degree benifit me more in job placement now or going the four years striaght the best way. Also I am trying not to take out another student loan for a two year school I’m looking at the stafford loan as my last resort but if I had to would the money be better spent at the four yr college, or should I use it in the two year college and get the degree and pay it back as I go back to school. That would be my second stafford loan and this time. In school I don’t want to make the wrong choice nor do I want to miss out due to dead lines

  22. Hi,

    It may be in your best interest to talk with a financial advisor, who can access your situation, and help you make the best decision for your money and education.

    Community colleges are great, and are just as legitimate as universities. You may even be able to earn your bachelor’s degree at the community college – make sure you check out their nursing programs! See if you are able to complete your degree there. AND make sure that you are able to transfer credits easily BEFORE starting at a college.

    Talk to someone at the community college you are interested in – a guidance counselor or someone in the admissions office!

    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  23. Single mom financial help is out there, but you are going to have to get out there and find it yourself. In my years as councilor, I encouraged hundreds of single moms who needed financial assistance. However, most of the women I knew failed to actively look for a way to get that help. Most simply endured their situation without seeking to actually change it. You don’t want to do this. If you are in a bad situation as a single mother, get out there and see if you can get the help that you need to make a difference.


  24. I am a 25 year old single mother of a 4 year old. In 07 I went to a trade school for broadcasting. It was a wide array of knowledge which is why I went to school for it in the first place. I thought there was no way I could go without a job because I was being trained in several fields. I was so wrong. I qualified for a few grants but in the end feel I was screwed (to be frank). I now owe over 14,000 that I have yet to be able to pay. I want so badly to finish my education and get my bachelors but I am afraid. I can’t afford any more student loans, at this point I’m concerned if they’d even LET me go back to school because I owe so much already. I feel I was lied to with the gov’t assistance. They told me I’d be paid to go to school and I was, however I now am left having to pay it all back. They said I received the highest grant they had ever seen, last I heard a grant was free money…NOT. I have had many jobs in marketing which was one of the fields I was trained in, however they continue to be dead ends. One of which refused to even pay me for my work!!! What do I do? I want to get my bachelors but I can’t afford anymore debt, I feel too young to file for bankruptcy. Please help

  25. I would like you to know I saved your article to my bookmarks.

  26. I am a 19 year old single mom of a 3 year little boy! I want to take online classes to become a Vet Tech!! I have found a online school that is perfect for me but I can’t afford it…I was wondering if there was a grant or something that i could get to help!! Please let me know!! Thank you

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