While paying for school in this day and age can be challenging for any demographic group, single mothers are in a class of their own when it comes to grant support for higher education. Single mothers are among the groups most affected by the downturn of the economy in the last decade, with unemployment rates at 7.6%, which is higher than the national average.
If you are single mother, you may qualify for a number of different grant types, depending on your circumstances. Grants for school, housing, health and food assistance are available. The amount of funding you can receive from need-based grants or scholarships for single moms can vary considerably, ranging from as little as $100 to full tuition coverage.
Depending on the sources of the free grants for single moms, award amounts may also change from year to year. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer separate tuition discounts for single mothers.
To qualify for school grants for single moms, you will need to verify that you are a single parent by demonstrating head-of-household status with at least one dependent under the age of 18 on your most recent federal tax return. You will likely also need to document your income and financial need by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), particularly if you are applying for a government-funded scholarship or grant.
Though specific requirements vary according to program, your federal tax-filing status can be used as a general guide for this process: if you are divorced, or not married but living in a state that recognizes common-law partnerships, a good rule of thumb is to submit the same filing status and income information on both your tax return and grant application.
Private grants for single mothers typically prioritize applicants with the greatest financial need. Some grants may simply include single mothers in their range of eligible applicants, among other requirements, such as being over a certain age, being a returning student, or planning to pursue a degree in an in-demand field. Although many of the following examples are called “scholarships,” they function as need-based college grants for single moms as well as scholarships for single moms, which are both gifted funds based on financial need.
A List of Grants For Single Moms
Communities can sometimes receive a block grant from the U.S. government. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program was implemented in 1974 to help communities with their developmental needs. It is now one of the longest running programs part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
All applicants must be classified as having a low to moderate income for the area they reside. Low to moderate income is usually based on the Section 8 low income limit, which is determined by HUD. Those that receive the grant must use at least 70 percent of it on supporting activities that help others with a low and moderate income.
There’s no set amount awarded. HUD determines how much each grant will be based on a community’s needs. Needs are determined by the poverty level, population, overcrowded housing, the age of housing, population growth, and how this all compares to other metropolitan areas across the country.
NIH Grants (National Institute of Health)
The NIH awards grants to financially support initiatives to enhance health and increase people’s lives. Many of the grants are given to those wanting to do research, but they are also given for trainings, fellowships, conferences and construction.
The NIH considers only highly scientific projects relevant to public health and fall within the priorities of the NIH Institute and Center (IC). Eligibility requirements depend on the grant program you are applying to, but most of them accept proposals from scientists, pre-doctoral students, and investigators. Many of the programs do not require applicants to be U.S. citizens, so if you are not, make sure the one you want to apply to accepts international candidates.
Funds differ for every program and they are different ever year. Each year, the NIH obtains a budget from Congress. This budget comes from collaborating with scientists to figure out how much promising research can be done in the upcoming year. This information is then used to come up with a figure to cover the cost. This request is then submitted to The United States Department of Health and Human Services for approval.
WIA Grant (Workforce Investment Act)
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was implemented by the federal government. The mission of this act is to support workforce development activities on the state and local level. The activities put forth by WIA help people prepare for jobs and find them by offering classes, training, and job search tools.
All individuals using the services provided by WIA must be at least 18 years old. The services are for laid off workers who won’t be returning to the same industry as they did before, displaced homemakers, and those who were self-employed.
The grant is given to job centers across the United States. The amount each job center receives depends on the needs of each community. The more joblessness there is, the more funding they receive to help job seekers.
From the funding, there are three types of services offered to users of the job center.
- Core Services:This provides people with labor market information, skill level assessments and help with job searching.
2. Intensive Services: People who have completed one core service are able to move on to intensive services. These people are unable to obtain or maintain employment despite the help they received from the core services. Intensive services provide assistance with personal self-sufficiency to increase the likelihood users will be able to sustain employment.
3. Training Services: If people are not able to maintain employment after receiving core and intensive services, they move on to training services. This program finances training program for individuals, so they have a higher chance of getting a job and keeping it. Every person receives an Individual Training Account to use for the training program selected.
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
TANF helps families in financial need achieve self-sufficiency. Each state receives a government block grant to provide services and money to families who meet the eligibility requirements. Some of the services families can receive from TANF are job training, counseling, education, and emergency funding.
Each state varies with their eligibility requirements. All states maintain the requirement that applicants must have dependent children or are in their last three months of pregnancy. All applicants must also be residents of the state where they are applying, and be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
Grant amounts also vary among states. The amount people receive from TANF depends on the money the state receives. This explains the discrepancy many see when looking at the benefits some receive in one state compared to another. For example, in 2011, the average TANF monthly assistance was $694, but in D.C. it was only $428. Individual differences are also a factor since benefits are determined based on financial need.
A List of College Grants For Single Moms
This grant helps people wanting to seek a higher education to become a teacher. There are strict stipulations that come along with the grant that must be met or the awarded amount turns into a loan. The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve states you need to teach in a high need field at an elementary, secondary school, or educational service agency for low-income families. You must work in one of these settings for at least four years within eight years of completing the teaching program.
Promising to and signing the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve aren’t the only eligibility requirements. Interested applicants must meet the criteria for the federal student aid programs and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. They must also be enrolled in a school and program recognized by the TEACH Grant Program and maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher. The final requirement is to seek TEACH Grant counseling, which explains the terms and conditions of your obligation following graduation.
Students of the TEACH Grant Program can receive up to $4,000 a year to cover education costs.
MacArthur Genius Grant
The MacArthur Genius Grant is also known as the MacArthur Fellowship. It’s a five-year grant for individuals with exceptional creativity. The grant enables highly innovative people to pursue their passions to come up with outstanding advancements. There are no conditions on the grant. When people are awarded this grant, they can do whatever they please with it. However, it’s expected it will be used to further the creativity of the grantee to do great things in life.
Individuals cannot apply for this grant, they must be nominated. Exceptional creativity must be proven with achievements and a portfolio. The foundation favors those who are limited in pursuing their extraordinary passions because of money. All nominees must be U.S. citizens, not hold elective office or be in a high government position.
MacArthur Fellowship awards a stipend of $625,000. This is paid in quarterly installments for five years.
NSF Grants (National Science Foundation)
Individuals interested in research and education in the science and engineering field may want to search the National Science Foundation database of grants. This foundation awards many grants every year to help people advance the science and engineering industries. In fact, the foundation provides 20 percent of the federal funding that goes into research.
Program areas include:
- Biological Sciences
• Computer & Information Science & Engineering
• Education and Human Resources
• Environmental Research & Education Geosciences
• International & Integrative Activities
• Mathematical & Physical Sciences
• Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
Eligibility requirements differ depending on the grant opportunity. It’s essential to review the eligibility requirements listed for the particular program you’re interested in.
Grant amounts vary greatly depending on the project. It also depends on your proposal and the availability of funding.
SMART Grant , ACG (Academic Competitiveness Grant)
The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent, which is the National SMART Grant, are used to help students grow in the areas of math and science. The purpose of the grant is to persuade students to take more challenging courses in high school, so they can be more successful in college. It’s also hoped these grants will lead students to major in some of the most difficult disciplines such as technology, engineering, mathematics, science, and foreign language.
For these grants, students must hold a GPA of at least 3.0. The National SMART Grant requires students to be also receiving the Pell Grant. All applicants must be U.S. citizens and be enrolled in a school where they can earn a four-year degree.
All grant awardees receive $4,000 a year to pay for tuition and other school related fees. This money does not affect other state and federal grants received.
AAUW (American Association of University Women)
The AAUW has many grants and fellowships available to women: American Fellowships, Career Development Grants, Community Action Grants, International Fellowships, International Project Grants, Selected Professions Fellowships.
The American Fellowships helps scholarly women complete their dissertations by giving them the financial support to do the research they need to do for it. These fellowships also provide support to conduct research for studies worthy of publications. Students and professionals in a tenure-track, who are part-time faculty, or are established researchers may apply. The only people who are not able to apply for those that are tenured professors.
Career Development Grants help women who want to either advance their career or pursue reentry into the workforce. The grants need to be used to pay for educational costs when seeking higher education. Women must have a bachelor’s degree, be U.S. citizens, and earned their degree before June 30, 2009.
Community Action Grants help women by giving money to organizations and individuals across the country. The goal is to make sure all women and girls understand that they deserve just as much as anyone else. They want to empower young women to help them succeed in life. There are two types of grants: one-year grants and two-year grants. The one-year grants go to community-based projects. The two-year grants help programs in communities provide activities to young women to help them develop confidence and gain knowledge to become a leader and advocate for other. For both of these types of grants, women need to be U.S. citizens and organizations must be running a program that is nonpartisan, in the United States, and influences the women greatly.
The International Project Grants can be awarded to women who complete the AAUW International Fellowship. They must complete the fellowship between 2003 and 2012. Grants can be as much as $7,000. They should be used to help women with their education that will lead them to improve society and empower women across the country.
Each grant’s eligibility is different; however, all of them are for women who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Other factors include being active in the community, proof of academic achievement, and great project design.
Grant amount depends on the one awarded and the financial needs of the project.
FSEOG Grant (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)
The FSEOG can help individuals pay for their higher education. The financial aid office at a college or university will use the grant to credit awardees accounts. Only certain schools receive the FSEOG, so students must check with their financial aid office to find out if it’s available.
Individuals must be enrolled in a college or university participating in the program. They must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who receive the Federal Pell Grant will need to use that first and then the awarded amount from the FSEOG.
Grant amount varies depending on financial need. Most individuals receive anywhere between $100 and $4,000. The funding the school receives also determines how much awardees receive.
FAFSA grants are those that are awarded after individuals complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) are the two that eligible applicants usually receive. With the Federal Pell Grant, students receive money. The FSEOG is governed by the attending college or university and they use the money to credit students’ accounts when they are awarded a certain amount. The money or award can be used to pay for tuition, books, and other college-related fees.
Individuals must show they are in financial need. They also must be enrolled in a college or university full-time or part-time.
The Federal Pell Grant awards students based on their financial need. The government also considers the cost of the school and whether the applicants are enrolled full or part time. In the academic year 2011 to 2012, the average award amount for the Federal Pell Grant was $5,500.
The Federal Pell Grants comes from the government. The money is given to students to pay for tuition and other college-related costs. Once a student is awarded the Pell Grant, he will receive it each year until graduation.
Pell Grant Application Process
To apply for the Pell Grant, all you have to do is complete the FAFSA. This application is one the government uses to determine if you are in financial need enough to receive assistance with the cost of tuition.
Pell Grant Eligibility (requirements, qualifications)
Federal Pell Grants are for undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s degree. Some people are able to receive this award if they are seeking a post baccalaureate teacher certification program. All awardees must prove they are in financial need.
The maximum amount a student received for the academic year 2013-2014 was $5,645. For 2014, it will be $5,730.
The amount a student receives depends on:
- Financial need
• Tuition cost
• Full or part time status
• Full academic year or only part of it
Housing Grants for Single Moms
FEMA Grants (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
FEMA helps state and local governments prepare for disasters. The money allotted to each government agency is used to prevent a catastrophe, respond to one and recover from it. The grant can be used for acts of terrorism as well.
There are many grants awarded:
- Preparedness Grants
• Assistance to Firefighters Grants
• Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants
• Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
• Pre-Disaster Mitigation
• Flood Mitigation Assistance
• Disaster Grants
• United States Fire Administration Grants
Only government entities can apply for FEMA grants. Those who are victims of a disaster can seek assistance from state and local governments, but they are not considered grants. For example, if you need flood recovery assistance, you can seek financial help from your local FEMA agency because they should have received a Flood Mitigation Assistance grant.
Grant amounts vary per state and local government agency. Each community has its own level of risk for disasters and potential consequence, and this is used to determine how much they receive from FEMA grants.
Section 8 Housing Program
The government has money to help families, seniors, and people who are disabled afford a safe place to live. The money can be used to live in a single-family home, townhouse or an apartment. Those who receive Section 8 are able to choose where they live, but the housing must be part of the problems. Those in need of housing assistance need to make an appointment with their local public housing agency (PHA).
Each PHA determines what families, seniors, or people who are disabled receive for housing. The PHA uses income and family size to determine the exact amount. Most agencies require applicants’ incomes to not exceed 50% of the median income of the community. This program is only for US citizens and those with valid immigration status.
Grant amounts depend on income and family size. It also depends on the cost of housing. At times, there can be an agreement achieved between the Section 8 agency and landlord of the apartment or townhouse to make it possible for someone to live in it.
ADDI (American Dream Down Payment Initiative)
Down payments and closing costs are the two biggest challenges for people who want to buy a house. ADDI helps first time home buyers purchase a home by paying for the down payment and/or closing costs.
One first-time home buyers can be eligible for the assistance ADDI provides. The money awarded must be used to purchase a house, condominium manufactured home, or cooperative unit. Those who can receive the ADDI must have an income that doesn’t exceed 80% of the median income of the area.
The amount each home buyer receives depends on their income and the amount of the down payment and closing costs.
In this post-recession economy, and with a growing number of grants available to single moms, very few should not be able to find the help they need.