Last updated: March 19, 2018
Of the 12 million single-parent families in the U.S., 80 percent are headed by single mothers, 51 percent of which are living at or below the poverty line. For the 2 million single-parent students out there, finding support to maintain and uplift their families by leading a promising career path is essential.
If you’re a single mother or father looking for ways to help support your college education, use our scholarship guide to find specific scholarships created with you in mind. Regardless of your intended career path, privately owned and funded scholarships offer you the chance to continue your higher education, and provide the support to help you get there.
Entrepreneur Shani Brinkely is no stranger to double-majoring in single-parenthood and higher education. For her, it all started with the decision to continue her degree despite having a full-time job as a single parent. And now? She started Feed Your Wall where she’s a wellness coach, educating individuals on how to find long-term wellness no matter the obstacle.
For Brinkley, becoming a role model for her daughter by continuing her education, studying abroad and starting a successful business were possible due to one simple, not-so-secret, secret: support.
“There were lots of late, late night papers, after hours study sessions, running to the bathroom between classes to pump my milk and sleepless, restless nights. As I juggled motherhood, a full course load and a part-time job; I decided that my daughter was my reason to graduate, not my excuse not to. We have to show them what success looks like.”
— Shani Brinkley
Opportunities are out there to help connect single parents with the opportunity to find support in the form of federal funding, state-issued grants, private scholarships and loans, and networks that provide support for other non-educational essentials like medical, housing and other household expenses. This support, as Brinkley says, “creates the space and the opportunity to succeed.”
Single parents qualify for federally-funded assistance programs. Check the 2017 Federal Policy Guidelines to determine eligibility for
This program assists families with minimal income with up to three years of coverage for childcare services.
This project offers local and
This federally-funded program offers the opportunity for children from low-income families of up to five years old childcare support and education.
The ACF offers grant programs to fund a variety of educational, economic and public services for families, children and single parents.
Enroll for health insurance and discover premiums and other opportunities available for single parents.
Find government-funded temporary living accommodations with opportunities to
If you meet your state’s income criteria, you may qualify for the benefits of the Food Stamps program to help cover the cost of food.
There are hundreds of scholarships for single parents, which are awarded by local organizations, private companies, societies and more.
Grants don’t need to be paid back and are based on your financial circumstances. They are usually funded by the federal government, your state or college.
While scholarships usually fund tuition, fellowships typically cover graduate study, research projects and abroad experiences without needing to be paid back.
You can borrow money from the government or a bank, but it needs to be paid back with interest. The federal government offers many loan options—fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for financial aid. If you need help, use our interactive guide to learn how to answer every question.
Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.
If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.
Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to select if your a single mother, father or child of a single parent, then sort by award amount and if you qualify for need-based aid.
Deadline: June 30, 2018
Funded by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, this scholarship assist women pursuing a career in science, technology, math or engineering. All students who reside in the Vermont region and are single parents are eligible to apply.
Deadline: July 15, 2018
The Wah Lum Warrior Spirit Scholarship awards graduating high school students who have demonstrated perseverance and persistence towards a meaningful plan for the future. Preferred students demonstrate generous hard work and having overcome adversity. The application takes nominations from educators, or other mentors.
Deadline: July 31, 2018
Low-income, single parents who reside in the San Francisco Bay Area enrolled full or part-time at an accredited institution are eligible to apply. This scholarship only applies to undergraduates.
Deadline: August 1, 2018
This foundation offers education support awards of up to $5,000 each to assist low-income women with children pursuing education or training. Applicants will be selected based on financial aid, personal circumstances, educational goals and community service.
Deadline: August 15, 2018
This scholarship provides financial assistance to children of veterans who served in Vietnam. This award seeks students pursuing degrees at vocational/technical programs as well as universities and colleges. Award amounts vary based on individual's financial need.
Deadline: August 31, 2018
This contest will select one degree-seeking single mom based on her personal narrative of her family, education goals and how this scholarship will help achieve her dreams.
Deadline: September 15, 2018
This two-year fellowship is awarded to a single mother with financial need in pursuit of a full-time degree. The fellowship supports any field of study, and award amount ranges.
Deadline: November 15, 2018
This scholarship awards women pursuing a degree who also provide primary financial support for themselves and their dependents. Dependents can include children, spouse, partner, siblings and/or parents. Must demonstrate financial need, motivation towards career/goals and must be enrolled into an undergraduate/vocational program for consideration.
Deadline: December 5, 2018
Students must be enrolled in an accredited high school, college or university in the U.S to apply. Preference for women who are mothers and/or enrolled in a law school or undergraduate school. Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 for consideration.
Deadline: December 11, 2018
Females enrolled in an accredited STEM program in the U.S. or Canada are eligible for this award. Must demonstrate strong academics and leadership for women in computer science to be considered.
Deadline: December 15, 2018
Women over the age of 30 who are returning to college are encouraged to apply for this scholarship program. The program does not discriminate based on religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.
Deadline: February 15, 2019
This award recognizes spouses and children of roadway workers who were killed or permanently disabled in work-related activities. This scholarship only applies to undergraduate, technical or vocational post-secondary school.
Students of Arkansas who are single parents and living near the poverty line are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Must have a 2.0 GPA and be a legal resident of the U.S. to apply.
This scholarship assists women majoring in liberal arts who are single parents planning on transferring to a four-year institution. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours and have completed at least 12 college credits to apply.
This scholarship is available to adults facing economic, social or physical challenges and are seeking advanced educational opportunities. Candidates will be chosen by educational providers and social service agencies.
This scholarship is an annual, competition-based program that awards college scholarship to qualifying high school seniors. Applicants will be chosen based on scholastic achievement, leadership skills and extra-curriculars.
Applicants for the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program must be enrolled in a professional nursing degree program in the U.S. Must be free from overdue federal debt. Must have GED or high school diploma to apply.
The Custody X Change Giving Fund awards three scholarships to single parents each year. To apply, write a 400 to 500 word essay, “How will you use your education to improve your family?” and attach your unofficial college transcript or admission letter.
Students studying in northwest Arkansas pursuing a career in nursing are encouraged to apply for this one-time scholarship. Must be a U.S. citizen or a resident with DACA-status. Students living at the poverty line will be strongly considered.
Helping Hands accepts applications year-round for low-income single moms in college, who live in the Phoenix, AZ and surrounding areas. In addition to monthly financial assistance, the program provides other helpful free services as well. Must have U.S. citizenship and be legally single. Must have a GPA of 2.8 or higher and carry at least 9 credit hours per semester.
Students of St. Luke's College in the first or second year are eligible to apply for this nursing scholarship. Students who are dependents of a single-parent household are applicable. Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Children of the men and women killed in the line of duty as police officers are eligible to apply for this financial support. Students attending four-year college, university, technical and/or vocational school may apply.
Applicants to this scholarship must be a dependent of a U.S. soldier, sailor, airman, guardsman or marine who is permanently disabled as a result of an accident in the line of duty. Award amount ranges depending on individual student need.
Military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty are eligible to apply for this scholarship to help cover post-secondary schooling across the U.S. Applicants must maintain a 2.0 GPA for consideration. Scholarships are offered on a rolling basis.
This merit-based award will be based on academic achievement and financial need demonstrated upon acceptance into Syracuse University. This award specifically supports students of single-parent households.
The P.E.O. Program supports women whose education was interrupted. Candidates must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program and be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
Candidates are female survivors of intimate partner abuse who are now separated from their abuser who are in critical need of financial assistance. Applicants must accepted to or enrolled in a course of study at an accredited U.S. institution.