NOTE: This article contains time-sensitive, financial aid opportunities, so read this carefully…
As a single mother who hasn’t earned a college degree yet, going back to school seems impossible. You can’t imagine how you can juggle providing for your child while returning to college. Yet you have to realize that getting your college degree is a well-driven road to a better life.
You don’t consider just your future alone but you have a young one who you have to feed, provide for and eventually send to school. College degree holders earned as much as $21,900 more annually in 2008 than those who didn’t have a bachelor’s degree according to Yahoo.
Unsure which career is right for you? Worried that when you graduate, you won’t easily find a job? Start with your dream job. Will it get you hired when you graduate? If not, reconsider your career choice. You can look at the upcoming in-demand careers too and see if any of it suits you then pursue it.
One career field experiencing exponential growth and unlikely to slow near term are in the tech industry. With the world’s growing dependency on technology, choosing a tech career could likely last a lifetime.
In fact, according to LinkedIn the most popular skill is social media marketing. Video game designers, software engineers and web programming are also in-demand IT careers. Getting a degree in any of these disciplines will more likely get you hired as soon as you graduate not to mention an annual income of around $90,000.
How will you pay for the rising tide cost of today’s college education? Fortunately, you have scholarship programs to turn to. Some are targeted grants for single mothers like you who have a dream of pursuing a good career.
WARNING: The deadline is fast approaching. So, get over there now!
2. The Federal Pell Grant is not specifically for single mothers but for everyone else who can’t afford to pay for college. It does not require to be repaid unlike a loan and the amount awarded depends on the individual’s needs. Taken into consideration is the enrolment status, whether full-time or part-time, how long the course is, how much the entire course is and the student’s expected family contribution. For the school year 2011-2012, the maximum amount given out was $5550. One of the requirements for this grant is the student’s FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
3. A scholarship awarded only to women is the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship fund (http://www.rankinfoundation.org/) where only women who are 35 years old or older are eligible. Other requirements are that the applicant must have a low-income, either a citizen of the United States or a Permanent Resident, already enrolled in or have been accepted at an ACICS accredited school and must be aiming for a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or technical or vocational education.
4. For single moms who are at least 17 years old, the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation (http://patsyminkfoundation.org) can grant you up to $3,000 for school or living expenses as long as you are enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, postgraduate program, technical or vocational degree or an associate’s degree. If you have a family of 2, your annual income must not exceed $18,000 or $24,000 for a family of three.
5. For women aged 25 years old or older, a single mom or not, whose education has been interrupted but see the importance of a college degree, there’s the Emerge Scholarship (http://emergescholarships.org/). It awards around ten women with visions of success with $2,000 to $5,000 every year. You must submit an essay along with referral letters and other requirements to qualify.
6. If you live either in Canada or the US, a woman who is 25 years old or older, is already enrolled in a continuing education course, the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships (http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/) might be for you. An essay is required to qualify. It grants up to $1,000 to ten awardees who can use it for child care services and other expenses not directly related to school.
7. If you are looking into an Accounting course then the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (http://www.efwa.org/) might help you with your school fees. You have to maintain a GPA of 3.0 to keep the scholarship for all four years of the program. A FAFSA might also be required to show proof of your financial situation.
8. Every year, one student is awarded the $30,000 scholarship and up to thirty women receive the $5,000 scholarship of the Talbots Scholarship Program (http://www.talbots.com/). Among the requirements of this program is a high school diploma, must have entrepreneurial interest and must be at least two semesters short of earning an undergraduate degree.
9. Two single mothers are awarded the Curiel and Runion Single Mother Scholarship (http://www.curielandrunion.com/) every year. Five finalists are chosen through the 500 word essay and the top two are voted by the readers of the Curiel & Runion. Throughout the college program, the awardees must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to keep the scholarship until graduation.
10. Women who are the primary provider to dependents, are in financial need and enrolled in either a skill program or an undergraduate degree can apply for the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity (http://www.soroptimist.org/) . Scholarship amounts are $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the woman’s needs and college degree program of choice.
11. Capture The Dream Single Parent Scholarship (http://www.capturethedream.org/) is for single parents in California who are going to college for a four year or two year course. Among the requirements is a need financially, must have recommendations and must show leadership skills. They award $1,000 to every recipient.
12. The American Association of University Women (http://www.aauw.org) has a long list of different scholarship programs for women. Depending on your need and location, you can apply for one where you are most likely to be an awarded the prize. Requirements differ from program to program just be sure that you have a clear goal in your career path since this is what the committee will ask for. Scholarship programs range from Career Development to International grants.
13. The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund (http://www.mmmf-grants.org/) is funded by the World Bank to give out up to $12,000 to women who are 25 years old or older and who are enrolled in college. These women must have a previous record of service to women and children. An essay is also required to determine that the recipient of the award will work toward helping other women.
14. For women who are survivors of domestic abuse and wish to earn a bachelor’s degree, there’s the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (http://www.wispinc.org/). The program prioritizes those enrolled in state universities as well as technical and vocational schools. It will pay for all educational expenses including books.
15. If you excel in math or science or if your dream job is in the field of engineering then the Society for Women Engineers (http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/) has the scholarship program for you. The scholarship is not only awarded to those who show financial need but also to those who excel in math or science. The organization has several scholarship programs listed where award money ranges from $1,400 to $7,000.