Last updated: April 23, 2019
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: April 30, 2020
This scholarship is for a woman who is the primary source of income for her family and completing her sophomore year of her bachelor's degree in accounting. The award amount of $2,000 per year for two years will be renewed with evidence of a 3.0 GPA.
Amount: up to $16,000
Deadline: April 30, 2020
Women who are the primary source of support for their families enrolling as a freshman to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. The Board of Trustees renew this scholarship annually with evidence of maintained 3.0 GPA.
Deadline: May 1, 2020
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.
Deadline: June 1, 2020
These awards are given to two full-time students, one male and one female, who are single parents with dependents, or a Vietnam veteran who no longer has access to educational benefits. Students must have a 3.0 GPA for consideration. Financial need will also be considered.
Deadline: August 1, 2020
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: September 25, 2020
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, 2020
AAUW Career Development Grants provide funds to women preparing to advance or change careers or re-enter the workforce. Preferential consideration is given to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degree or work in nontraditional fields.