Student Loans for Single Mothers

As of 2007, there were 10.4 million single mothers living with children under age 18 in the USStudent loans for single mothers are a type of financial aid that can make earning a degree possible for women who are looking to brighten their futures. Single mothers have their work cut out for them since in addition to working a full-time job, they are responsible for raising their child or children, which is more than a full-time job in itself. Such exceptional women can improve their overall circumstances by earning a college degree and open the door to the possibility of increased earnings, advancement opportunities and benefits.

Types of Students Loans for Single Mothers

Federal student loans offer students relatively low-interest, and in some cases, no-interest loans with flexibility regarding repayment terms and are a good way to pay for school once efforts to get grants and scholarships have been exhausted. Federal student loans for single mothers include the Perkins Loan, Stafford Loans (both subsidized or unsubsidized) and PLUS Loans for Graduate Students.

Federal Perkins Loan

The Federal Perkins Loan awards a maximum of $5350 per academic year starting July 1st of 2009. For the upcoming school year (2010-2011) the Perkins Loan maximum award amount will increase to $5500. The Perkins Loan is available to undergraduate students and in most cases, the school disburses the money twice an academic year; students make payments directly to the school, when the time comes to repay the loan. Loans are offered on a first-come, first served basis and preference is shown for students with high financial need.

Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)

The Federal Stafford Loan is a low-interest loan available to undergraduate and graduate students. Loan amounts offer students between $3500 and $5500 per academic year with a fixed interest rate. 

Subsidized loans are loans where the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest during certain specified times, for instance while the student is in school. To receive a subsidized loan, students must demonstrate financial need. Unsubsidized loans are loans where the student pays the interest.

Federal Stafford Loans are available through different loan programs. The William D. Ford Direct Loan (Direct Loan) program offers students the loan directly through the U.S Department of Education. Students make payments directly to the US Department of Education as well. The Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) is guaranteed by the US government but the funds are provided by private lenders and repaid to the same lenders.

PLUS Loans for Graduate Students

The PLUS Loan for Graduate students requires eligible applicants to file a FAFSA and determine their maximum annual Stafford loan amount by their school before being awarded the PLUS loan. There is a fixed interest rate and students must begin repayment on the loan on the date of the last disbursement. Applicants must provide a credit history prior to approval.  


The first step of the federal student loan for single mothers’ process is to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Filing a FAFSA will give students a clear idea of how much financial aid they are eligible for, including grant money which is important because it does not have to be paid back.  When it comes to paying for the significant cost of higher education, financial aid is a benefit most single mothers cannot afford to miss.

Student Loans for Single Mothers: An Investment in the Future of the Family

Single mothers with the desire to earn a degree can take advantage of federal financial aid by applying for student loans. Student loans for single mothers can provide the much needed funding that can make a woman’s education pursuits possible, leading to a better life for her and her family.