Tag: single mothers grants

financial aid for collegeWhat do you want to know about financial aid for college? Considering the country’s economic turmoil in 2009, EducationGrant.com certainly picked a good year to launch a college financing blog. Not surprisingly, the posts that attracted the most readers were those that focused on how to get scholarships and grants.

Here are the top 5 EducationGrant blog posts of 2009:

1. Single Mom Scholarships

2. 10 Scholarships for Women

3. Pell Grant Application Process

4. Financial Aid for Single Mothers: Grants

5. Student Loan Forgiveness

With the latest numbers on average student loan debt rising to $23,000, the demand for scholarships and grants and a better financial aid system will surely be intense in 2010. No one has all the answers to the question of paying for college, so EducationGrant.com invites readers to share their personal experience, ideas, and suggestions with each other and the entire EducationGrant community next year.

We’ll be back on Monday, January 4th. Best wishes for a safe and happy New Year holiday.

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After a year of daunting news about student loan debt and broken state financial aid budgets, EducationGrant.com is happy to share this positive assessment of Santa Claus’s readiness for his big night, from his personal physician at University of North Carolina School of Medicine:

Although a bit conservative (they would like him to lose weight), the rest of Santa’s UNC medical team nevertheless appears optimistic about his continued employment. (Santa’s endocrinologist needs a little gender sensitivity training, however.)

For students in need of financial aid to attend college, North Carolina has a substantial collection of scholarship programs and sources. The Carolina Covenant program, for example, provides a debt-free education to qualified low-income students.

UNC Chapel Hill was the nation’s first state university (1795) and the only public university to award degrees in the 18th century. If you are or plan to be a UNC student, check the university’s Office of Scholarships and Student Aid for instructions on how to get started. The UNC Office of Adult Services and Evening Services has scholarship resources for single moms and other nontraditional students, and for North Carolina residents, the College Foundation of North Carolina has a long list of providers of both need-based and merit-based scholarships.

And check back here next week for information on the 2010 FAFSA. January 1, 2010 is the first day you can start filling out a FAFSA for a college program that starts after June 30th. The first step: applying for a FAFSA PIN (Personal Identification Number) and filling out a FAFSA practice worksheet to familiarize yourself with the official form.

Until then, EducationGrant wishes all its readers, and college students everywhere, safe and happy holidays!

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iStock_000005608156XSM_momgirlEducationGrant often hears from single moms who are looking for ideas about going back to school and the financial aid that can help them accomplish this goal. It’s inspiring to see how many single moms are determined to get the higher education they need to create a better quality of life for their families!

Single moms have many factors to balance when it comes to going back to school: scheduling, child care, transportation, time management, college tuition and fees, money for schoolbooks, and keeping children fed, clean, and rested while mothers work, study, or both. (Not sure how they do it all!) It won’t come as a surprise to any single mother that money, or the lack of it, is the biggest worry that most single moms deal with every day. So going back to school can feel like a Catch-22. To earn more money and make your family financially stable, it helps to have a quality college degree. But to get the college degree, you need money.

Even still, finding financial aid isn’t always the first necessity in ideas for single moms going back to school. Another important goal, especially in this bleak economy, is to NOT end up with a lifelong mountain of student loan debt after you’ve graduated.

Are you determined to get your college degree? Here are some ideas on how to get started:

1) Choose a realistic education goal. Are you going back to school so you can qualify for a particular job or change your career? What’s the average pay for the new career? (How about the pay for an entry-level worker?!) Will this industry still need workers once you’ve graduated?

2) Comparison-shop for the best accredited school and program for your needs. When considering schools, keep these factors in mind:

  • Where is the school? Can you get to its campus easily by public transportation if you don’t have a car? How long is your commute?
  • How much time on campus will the program require? Will you be able to get child care to cover the time you want to devote to your classes and schoolwork? (Besides federal financial aid, look for grants and scholarships that provide funding for child care and other living expenses.)
  • Would an accredited online program work better for you?
  • Is there an admissions representative at the school that can tell you about the program and what it will require from you?
  • How much does the program cost? What fees are there in addition to tuition?
  • Is there a financial aid officer who can walk you through the financial aid process? Does the school have education grants for single moms? (If not, maybe consider a different school.)

3) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • This application opens the door to all federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and low-cost student loans, as well as single mom education grants from individual schools and states.
  • Federal and state financial aid can be used for any accredited higher education program registered with the U.S. Department of Education as a “Title IV” school. These include community colleges, state universities, and online programs in addition to traditional 4-year schools.
  • You don’t need to be accepted or enrolled in a school before you submit your FAFSA. All you have to do is list the school(s) you’ve applied to. You’ll get a report back that tells you how much money you’ll be expected to contribute to your degree costs, and the school(s) will use that number to determine how much financial aid they can offer you. If you qualify for a Pell Grant, you’ll get one automatically.

4) Consider choosing the school that will allow you to graduate with the least amount of debt.

Single mothers do it all, and both the news and personal family histories are filled with countless stories of single moms whose children remember and honor them as role models and heroes. A college degree may be your ticket to the quality of life you want your children to have, but only if it doesn’t leave you worse off financially than you were before.

For more college planning details, see the earlier blog-post, How to Prepare for the FAFSA: 3 Pre-FAFSA Steps. You can also find more information about the FAFSA, scholarships for single moms, scholarships for women, adult learning scholarships, and low-cost student loans in earlier blog posts and the grants, loans, and scholarship pages in this site.

And if you have other tips and ideas for single moms going back to school, please share them here in the comments. The very best advisors for single moms are… other single moms!

Check out Grants for Single Mothers too!

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Single Mom Scholarships

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Even with just a quick look at the news it’s easy to see that college classes are filling up with record numbers of students this fall, and single moms are among them. Both campus and online colleges from coast to coast are bursting with enrollment, despite an increased need for financial aid.

Fortunately, the large number of older, “non-traditional” college students is beginning to get more attention these days, and student aid providers are creating more financial aid opportunities tailored to students in special circumstances. Single mom scholarships fall into this category of financial aid.

Before applying for scholarships, however, be sure to thoroughly read our section on scholarships for moms scams. Unfortunately, the business of scholarships is peppered with a couple organizations who use deceit and false promises to take money from vulnerable or unsuspecting moms.

leisure activitySingle Mom Scholarships Start with Federal Education Grants

If you’re a single mom returning to school to pursue your first college degree or career certification, and you’re within a certain income range, you’ll almost certainly qualify for need-based federal education grants such as the Pell Grant. Grants, unlike student loans, do not need to be repaid, and they’re not age-restricted. The money you’ll qualify for will depend on what year you’re in in your program and how many dependents you’re supporting, along with meeting other basic eligibility requirements.

There are federal education grants for single mothers also. To apply for these grants, you must go to the federal Student Aid on the Web site and file a FAFSA:

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

State Financial Aid Agencies Also Offer Single Mom Scholarships

Most, if not all, states also offer scholarships reserved for women and single parents. Different states have financial aid programs customized with their own eligibility requirements, grant amounts, and application procedures. Find your state higher education agency at this site and see what single mom scholarship programs they offer.

Keep in mind that single mom scholarships (and single dad scholarships) are going to be need-based. All scholarships of this type will ask for proof of financial need and may also ask for proof of your being the custodial parent. Many will require you to file a FAFSA (see above).

In many cases, state single mom scholarships will actually be offered through a college or university system in the state. In addition to contacting your state higher education agency, you should contact the financial aid office of the school you want to enroll in and ask if the school offers single mom scholarships or grants.

A few examples of state and school financial aid programs for single parents include:

Single Mom Scholarships from Private Foundations & Organizations

A wide range of philanthropic and corporate foundations provide scholarships for single parents. Like the state and school scholarships above, these programs may be getting ready to open their new application season. Check their websites to see when their 2010-2011 scholarship applications will be available:

Single Mom Scholarships are a Win-Win Investment

Officials from the federal level all the way down to your town council know that helping you get valuable higher education now is a way of “paying it forward”: If your college degree or career training helps you ensure financial stability and a better life for you and your family, everyone benefits – your community, our larger society, and you.

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
  • Some characteristics of successful applications for state and private grants and scholarships
  • Websites and addresses for more than 80 scholarships, so you can contact them

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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

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