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Scholarships for Single Mothers

Scholarships for Single Mothers

Single mothers in the USA are among the lowest income of any population in the United States. They are prone to low paying jobs while trying to provide all the necessities for their children to ensure their children maintain a good quality of life. It can be very tough for single mothers to maintain an adequate income to help pay for all of their expenses. This increases the chance of the mother and her children living in a state of poverty. Fortunately there are many scholarships available to single mothers in the United States to help get a better education which will lead to higher income jobs.

It can be a good idea for single mothers to pursue further college or university education to increase their potential for higher paying jobs to care for their children. Although it can be a challenge for the costs associated with going back to school, there are many scholarship opportunities to assist with these costs.

What is a Scholarship?

Scholarships are gifts of money awarded to students to use towards their college or university education. This can be strictly for tuition costs however, it can also be used for all costs associated with college such as dormitory stays, textbooks etc. Scholarships payments are  made toward a student’s education based on academic achievement or other achievements and talents such as athletic ability. Scholarships are paid in money and do not need to be paid back.

As you can see by the definition of a scholarship as a gift of money that does not need to be paid back, it makes it the ideal solution for a single mother looking to get back into school. A single mother will have a good chance of being awarded a scholarship based on their circumstances. It is important for a single mother to be fully aware of all the scholarship opportunities that are available to them. Many women don’t even consider going back to school as they know they cannot afford the high costs, this is where a scholarship would allow the mother to go back to school, get an education and improve the quality of life for both her and her children. There are many sources and scholarships that single mothers can apply for which will be discussed in this article.

Scholarships, Grants and Student Loans

The holy trinity of financial aid for school comes in three parts:

  • scholarships
  • grants,
  • student loans

The following section will discuss the differences between scholarships, grants and school loans, and how they pertain to single mothers including what the best options are based on the situation.

Difference between Scholarships, Grants, and Loans

The main difference between a scholarship and a grant is scholarships are more focused on receiving money based on academic excellence while grants are focused on funding money that aid an individual or group for a specific purpose.

For example, if there is a low income family they may receive a grant to help pay for food. There are many grants that are awarded to individuals in need of funds to attend school but they are based on different circumstances then scholarships. To receive a scholarship most of the time it is merit based meaning it is geared towards the student having a high GPA. They have to meet and maintain a specific GPA to receive the scholarship. Not all scholarships are merit based, as many take financial need into consideration especially scholarships offered by businesses and non profit organizations. Fortunately, there are even scholarships in existence that are awarded to people based on specific circumstances such as single mothers if you look in the right places.

School loans on the other hand are quite different then scholarships and grants. The loans are not gifts of money that do not have to be repaid, instead they are loans of money that have to be repaid once the individual has completed their college or university program.The school loans still give financial aid to the individual, except the funds have to be repaid with interest, although the interest rates are usually rather low. If you have applied for other scholarships and grants and were not awarded any, then a school loan is your next avenue to pursue.

There are scholarships, grants and school loans all designed for situations including single mothers. Many single mothers usually fall under a low income category which can make them a prime candidate to receive a wide variety of scholarships, grants and school loans for them to choose from. It is best to start with scholarships, apply to as many as possible, if that does not work out move on to grants such as Pell Grants, and as a last resort explore the options of student loans.

Scholarship Sources

There are many different sources of scholarships for single mothers to explore and find the right one for them. Some of these sources include institutional aid, federal grants, business offering scholarships, and non profit scholarships. Furthermore, there are many scholarships for women awarded by each state individually.

Exploring online databases that allow you to search for scholarships by your location can be a good way to discover scholarship opportunities. The internet is the best place to look for an existing scholarships and follow up from there by contacting the administration of that scholarship program directly.

Some great internet resources include:

Institutional Aid

An institutional aid is financial aid provided by college or universities to help students with school expenses. These funds are sometimes very limited depending on the school so it is best to apply as early as possible. The funds are usually awarded to students who demonstrate the most financial need. Single mothers would definitely fall under the category of demonstrating a large financial need. Applicants need to fill out a CSS Profile form instead of the FAFSA form that is usually needed to apply.

The CSS Profile form is a form required by colleges and universities to determine the individuals eligibility for non government financial aid. To fill out this form all is needed is to contact the college or university you plant on attending and explain to them your situation and they will guide you in the right direction. Institutional grants make up a large portion of all available funding sources so this is the ideal source to receive financial aid.

Business Scholarships

These are simply scholarships offered by businesses to people in financial need to cover school expenses. Many large and reputable businesses award many scholarships each year as a way of giving back to the community. Some of the scholarships are merit based, while there are a fair amount that are need based. Also some of the scholarships will be for students in the same industry that the business is in. For example, Apple awards scholarships to students who are going into the programming industry. A wide variety of businesses such as Burger King, and Bank of America all have scholarships that a single mother could apply for. Actually, almost every major company has a scholarship or grant program that they offer to the public. While not all of the scholarships will be targeted specifically for single mothers, they are still appealing and worth applying for as single mothers seem to be put into high consideration.

Another terrific example of a useful scholarship sponsored by a large company is the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, which is offered strictly to women who are interested in a career in computers or technology. You do not have to work for Google to apply for this scholarship.

The mega company Johnson & Johnson have a very large nursing scholarship program available which can be seen by visiting their website.As of now, they have over 370 nursing scholarship programs available nationwide. The website has a map of the USA as you can browse through the options by clicking on the state you reside in. If nursing is something you are interested in,then this is the perfect opportunity to pursue.

Dell, another reputable company also features a large scholarship program that is available mainly to individuals who are in financial need. The amount per each scholarship is a massive $20 000 scholarship and several are awarded per year.

Non Profit Scholarships

There are numerous non profit scholarships available which are awarded to individuals with a wide range of needs. Many non profit organizations set up special scholarship funds to be awarded to individuals for many reasons such as; victims who have experienced a family disaster, students with single parents, parents with disabled children etc. They receive funding from a variety of sources and use those funds to assist people for things like scholarships. There are literally thousands of non profit organizations in existence with many of them having scholarship programs to help those most in need. A great thing about non profit scholarships is they are more need based scholarships for those in financial need rather then being merit based like many other scholarships.

There are actually numerous non profit scholarships designed just for single mothers. Furthermore, there are many memorial scholarships awarded by non profit organizations. Most of the time you have to be located in the same area or city the organization is located,so it is best to explore all the different memorial scholarships options that are available in your area. Your best odds on being awarded a scholarship are on the local level,as many of these scholarships are easier to win as there is a smaller pool of individuals who apply as compared to national level scholarships where thousands of individuals apply.

Top Scholarships for Single Mothers /Women

Below is a list of the top scholarships available to single mothers with a brief explanation of each one. Read over them carefully and chose the ones you feel you are a good fit for you and apply to as many as possible to better increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship. Some of the scholarships are designed for single mothers who live in a specific location or industry. More then likely there are a few scholarships in every major city available to single mothers.

Support a Student Scholarship

This is the ideal scholarship for a single mother as this scholarship awards single parents a

$10 000 dollar scholarship to financially disadvantaged single parents. To be eligible you must be enrolled to a accredited online post secondary education in the United States.

This funds received from this scholarship are designed to be used for non tuition related expenses. The type of expenses it is designed for are expenses such as; rent costs, text book expenses, day care expenses and every day expenses such as groceries and paying bills etc. To apply visit

Woman’s Independence Scholarship Program

This is a scholarship designed for survivors of partner abuse. If you are a single mother who is a victim of abuse then this scholarship is ideal for you.There are no deadlines to apply, however it does take 2 months for the application to be reviewed and to receive an answer. To apply for this scholarship visit

Deana Kendrick Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship program is available to women over the age of 30 who would like to continue their education. To apply you must be already enrolled in a college or university. The scholarship amounts range up to $500 dollars per semester. The scholarship is best suited for a community college student however any college or university is still welcome. To apply visit

The Jennifer Carlson Scholarship

This scholarship is available to any single mother interested in going back to school. The application process for this scholarship requires you to submit an application letter stating why you are going back to school, your goals, and information about you and your children.

To apply simply mail the letter to: Jennifer Carlson Scholarship, PO. Box 83 Belvidere , 61008

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship awards up to $2000 per year for low income women with children. To apply the women must display a large financial need, and be 17 years of age or older. Single mothers have a good chance for this award as priority is given to single mothers with young children. To find more information on how and when to apply visit

P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education

This program offers a variety of scholarships with some being merit based and some need based. It provides up to $3000 to women who display a need for financial assistance to continue their education in order to better support their families. The funds can be used for tuition costs, textbooks, or any school related expenses. In order to apply, applicants must be sponsored by a local chapter of the P.E.O. sisterhood. To learn more about this program visit

Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship Program

This program isn’t solely intended for single mothers however they would have a good chance of being awarded a scholarship, as the program aims to award any women who have children and have no other means to attend college or university .The program awards recipients all over the United States.

To be eligible the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • must be 35 years of age or older
  • be in a low income bracket
  • pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree

For more information and to apply for this scholarship visit

The Single Parent Association Resource

This resource offers two different scholarship programs: the scholarship for continuing education, and the child of a single parent for women scholarship. The latter scholarship is specifically designed for single women who would like to attend college but have not been able to because of low funds.For more information, and to apply for the scholarship please visit

Talbot Woman’s Scholarship Fund

This fund awards woman who have shown perseverance and ingenuity with 10 scholarships of $15 000,and one scholarship of $30 000. To be eligible you have to be seeking a bachelor’s degree, and must be for undergraduate study. To learn more visit

Emerge Scholarships

Every year Emerge Scholarships Inc awards women including single mothers between $2000 to $5000 scholarships. In 2014 Emerge awarded 15 $5000 scholarships. To apply you must be at least 25 years of age. The application process is very deep as an essay is needed when applying. To find out more information and to apply please visit

E.O. Program For Continuing Education

This program is ideal for single mothers aiming to go back to college, as you can earn up to $3000 in scholarships. The money received can be used for tuition or to support your children as you attend college. To learn more and to apply you can visit

The Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund

This scholarship intended for young single mothers as the age requirement is 25 years or younger. However it is available nation wide and you only need a G.P.A. of at least 2.0 to apply. This scholarship seems to focus on single parents as 79% of their applicants  last year were single parents. It is a very flexible when it comes to eligibility requirements as you do not have to be currently enrolled in a school to apply. To apply visit

Soroptimist Opportunity Awards

This program awards scholarships to women who are in the most financial need and are the prime income earner in their household. This makes single mothers prime candidates for this scholarship. It is a large program as last year they awarded scholarships to over 1200 women. To be eligible you must be the primary earner in your household, have a financial need, and must already be enrolled into a vocational/skills program or an undergraduate degree program. To apply visit

The Jackie Robinson Foundation

This scholarship program isn’t specifically designed for single mothers, however they are also encouraged to apply. This program awards four year scholarships with a value of $7500 per year. However this program is for young single mothers as you must be a high school senior to apply. There are many senior high school senior mothers who are put in a very difficult situation when it comes to attending college or university. The applicant must exemplify financial need and have a good grades as it is merit based.To apply and for more information please visit

Xcel Energy Single Parents Scholarship

This scholarship is sponsored by Xcel Energy and it awards any single parent who have at least one dependent children $1000 scholarships. To apply you must be 25 years of age. This program is designed specifically for single parents to make their college dreams a reality. This scholarship is only available to students enrolled at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. It was included in this article to exemplify the fact that scholarships are based on location and a specific school.To apply visit

Corella & Bertram F.Bonner Scholars Program

This program offers scholarships in over 74 different colleges across the United States. There are some specific eligibility requirements such as a minimum G.P.A. of at least 2.5. Also applicants must complete 8 hours of community service per week. The amount of the scholarships are a whopping $17 500 over a 4 year period.To apply visit

Capture the Dream Single Parent Scholarship

This scholarship program is for single parents who are from the state of California.The applicants can either be graduated from high school or be full time graduate students from at least a 2 year university. Applicants must include a 1000 word essay. To apply visit

For a very large list of available scholarships for single mothers please visit this 50+ Scholarships for Single Moms article in which has the most comprehensive list of scholarships for women / mom we’ve found so far.

The Final Word on Getting a Scholarship

Remember to also browse through all major companies as most have a scholarship program that you could also apply to. Furthermore if you have no luck in securing a scholarship keep in mind there are still many options available such as grants, including Pell Grants, federal student loans, private student loans etc.

We recommend you read our Complete Guide to Getting a Scholarship and Complete Guide to Getting a Grant articles for more information about getting some legit financial a

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. ' He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could. And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created to help others do likewise!

1 Comment


    Is the Jennifer Carlson scholarship still available? I have clients who’ve tried to mail their essays to the listed address, but they’ve all come back saying the address is invalid.

    Thank you!


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