Top Scholarships and Grants for Single Mothers

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For students who are single mothers trying to juggle the pressures of attending college and providing for their children, paying the cost of tuition can be a major hindrance to furthering their education. Whether you are a single mom who never had a chance to attend college or you wish to go back after staying home with your children for a number of years, there are many options available to help you with reducing the financial burden of taking college classes!

Instead of taking out additional debt through student or private loans, single mothers can apply for a number of different scholarships and grant awards offered through federal, state, non-profit, and campus-based programs.

In the sections below, we will go over a few of the scholarships and grants available for mothers looking for alternative ways to finance their education. We will also cover some of the most common questions we receive from single mothers who are motivated to earn their degree!

Top Scholarships for Single Mothers

Over the years, there have been numerous foundations that have started with the purpose of helping women reach their educational and career dreams. Many of the nation’s top universities are also recognizing the financial needs of single parents, and several schools provide unique scholarship opportunities for single moms that plan on enrolling at their institution.

In the table below, we have highlighted a few of our favorite scholarships for adult students, some for single mothers, who want to have an opportunity to earn their college degree:

Scholarship Value Scholarship at a Glance
P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) Up to $15,000 Provides educational financial awards to women who want to pursue their doctorate degree at an accredited university.
Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship $10,000 Scholarship award for female students who are currently enrolled in an academic program majoring in a STEM-related field.
Scholarships 4 Moms $10,000 Scholarship awarded by random drawing that is open to mothers across the country.
Soroptimist Live your Dream Award Up to $10,000 Open to women with financial need who are the primary financial support for themselves and their dependents.
Emerge Scholarship $2,000-$5,000 Offered to women whose education has been interrupted or have dealt with significant obstacles in pursuing their education.
Emporia State University Single Parent with Children Scholarship $2,000 Established to assist single, divorced, or widowed ESU students who are balancing their education with raising children.
Park Foundation Scholarship $2,000 Two annual awards that go to a female and male head of household student who demonstrates financial need.
Women’s Independence Scholarship Program Up to $2,000 Directed toward women who have survived domestic abuse and wish to pursue an education in order to achieve employment and self-sufficiency.
Capture the Dream – The Single Parent Scholarship $1,000 Open to Bay Area residents who are single parents and will be enrolled in an accredited area university.
Katherine A. Ellis Scholarship $1,000 Awarded to female students enrolled in a full-time accounting program at Westminster College, with preference given to financially needy single mothers.
College of DuPage Foundation Single Parent Scholarship $1,000 Specifically for single parents who demonstrate financial need and plan on attending the College of DuPage.
Mary Jane Young Scholarship for Re-Entry Women $1,000 Scholarship designed for women re-entering college who are single parents and plan on attending Minnesota State University.
Heroes Fund for Single Parents Scholarship $250-1,500 Scholarship for those attending the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Applicants must be single custodial parents with a financial need, and female returning students are given preference.
LouEllen Dabbs Scholarship $750 Open to single parents who are interested in pursuing a career in business, banking, or finance and is currently enrolled in school.
Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund $250-500 Scholarship opened to Arkansas residents who are single, head of household with custody of a child and demonstrate financial need.
The ANSWER Endowment Scholarship Varies Awarded to adult women age 25 and older who are raising school-age children and are interested in pursuing a healthcare degree program in North or South Carolina.


When researching the various scholarship options shown above, it is important to read the fine print associated with the eligibility requirements. While some awards are limited to those within a certain geographic region or school, others may be specifically geared towards certain career paths, such as teaching, healthcare, or STEM fields.

Top Grants for Single Mothers

In addition to the numerous scholarships offered to women and single mothers, grants can also be a great opportunity to help cut down on your educational cost without incurring more debt. Like a scholarship, grants do not have to be repaid, and many can be applied for through the FASFA process.

Below we have put together a few grants that are of the greatest interest to single mothers looking to pursue their higher education:

Grants Value Grant at a Glance
Pell Grant $400-5,775 Needs-based grant available through the filing of a FASFA. The award amount is based upon income guidelines and must be used for educational purposes.
New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Up to $5,165 The income-based grant award for New York residents who need assistance in paying tuition at one of the approved schools in New York State.
Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Up to $5,000 Grant specifically for low-income women with minor children who wish to return to school. Awards are based upon several factors, including financial need and personal circumstances.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH) Up to $4,000 Grant available to those that sign an agreement that they will work as a full-time teacher in a high-need field for at least four years after graduation.
P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) Up to $3,000 Provides one-time need-based grants to women whose education was interrupted and who wish to return to school in order to complete a degree for employment.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) $100-4,000 Campus-based aid that can be obtained by filling out a FASFA. The award amount is based upon financial need, and those with the greatest need will receive the grants first.
Kansas Comprehensive Grant $100-3,500 Grant open to Kansas residents who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled full-time at a Kansas college or university.

As you can see from the information above, there are a number of different grants available that offer large awards to qualified applicants. Applying for a grant is typically an easy process, although it is important to make sure that you include all requested information for each specific grant application.

What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship?

When researching the different forms of financial aid for students, many students get confused about the differences between grants and scholarships. It may even seem like they are being used interchangeably! However, while there are many similarities between the two forms of aid it is important to understand their unique features.

Both grants and scholarships award financial aid to students pursuing higher education without requiring the money to be paid back. Grants are typically need-based awards and are offered through government programs or non-profit organizations. Scholarships, on the other hand, can be offered as either merit-based or need-based awards. Unlike federal or state grants, scholarships are also available to students who are not U.S. citizens.

While the selection requirements of both scholarships and grants vary, both are excellent ways to fund your education without taking on the burden of student loan debt.

Do I have to have a high GPA to apply?

This can be a concern for single mothers who may have left school previously or had low grades due to extenuating circumstances in the past. Fortunately, many of the scholarship and grant opportunities that we covered above are based on need – not your GPA.

While you may be selected for these financial aid awards based upon your current financial situation and circumstances, make sure that you check the fine print of each scholarship or grant your receive! Some may require that you maintain a certain GPA or credit load throughout your educational journey in order to maintain your financial aid.

What about online degree programs?

Beyond the financial obligation of attending school, many single mothers are worried about covering childcare for their kids in order to keep up with their class schedule. For single mothers who don’t have flexible childcare or need to maintain their current work schedule, online degree programs can be an excellent choice!

Over the last several years, many of the nation’s top accredited universities are offering online degree options that put you in control of your education. Whether you only have time to do course work on the weekends or you have to wait until the kids are in bed to open a textbook, online classes allow you to log-in anytime and anywhere.

Additionally, you will still be eligible for scholarships and grant awards when enrolling in an online degree program!

What’s my next step?

After reviewing the information above, we hope that you are excited about the prospect of continuing your education! While it can be a challenging journey to earn a degree as a single mother, there are a number of great opportunities to lower your tuition costs and add flexibility to your course schedule.

When you’re ready to take the next step, your first stop will be to fill out your FASFA form. This important document will determine your eligibility for a number of opportunities, including the Pell Grant. It is also a common prerequisite for applying for additional aid. From there, we recommend that you check in with your school’s advisement office to get information on college-specific or foundational scholarships and grants that are offered for single mothers returning to school.

Every mother wants the opportunity to provide their children with a bright future, and furthering your education is a positive step towards reaching your personal and career goals. From Federal grant programs to scholarships from organizations that believe in empowering women, there are a number of ways you can creatively finance your education and get started on the path of earning your college degree!

Grants for Single Mothers / My College Guide

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.