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Single Parent Scholarships and Grants
If you are a single parent wanting to further your education, single parent scholarships or grants can make your education possible. While single parent scholarships and grants both can help fund your education, there are differences between the two. Scholarships are often based on academic merit, making them a challenge for some single parents who may not have an outstanding academic record. Grants are typically less focused on previous academic performance—however, the application process for grants can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you find the funding source that is right for you.
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The best place to start looking for single parent scholarships is at the college or university you plan to attend. Financial aid offices at colleges and universities can give you a lot of useful information on single parent scholarship programs available in your state or local community. Some colleges and universities even offer “in house” scholarships for single parents. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements for these scholarship programs to make sure you are eligible.
Next, you can search for single parent scholarships online. Find a listing of state single parent scholarship programs and review your options. Single parent scholarships will often cover costs related to education beyond tuition, such as utilities, car maintenance, and childcare. Some require that scholarship recipients be enrolled in a minimum number of hours or carry other requirements. Some national organizations with local affiliates, such as ASPIRE, also offer support such as financial counseling and one on one guidance for single parents pursuing their education. Pick the scholarship program that is right for you.
Grants are another great option for single parents wishing to pursue higher education. Many federal government agencies offer grants to help with various educational expenses. The most common federal education grant is the Federal Pell Grant, awarded through the U.S. Department of Education. This grant program is open to low income students, and usually you can apply through your college’s department of financial aid. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Administration for Children and Families offers assistance to cover the cost of child care through a voucher program dispersed at the state level. You can apply for this through your local DHHS office. Finally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers housing grants to help defray rental costs, purchasing a home, or performing repairs. This can help single parents financially by providing for their families while paying for school.