A single mother who wishes to continue her education has many options available when looking for financial aid and scholarships. There are numerous scholarships and grants for which you may apply. Some, you may never have heard of before. With all the help available, there is no reason not to pursue your degree.
Federal Student Aid Programs
Rather than take a loan from a bank or another private lending institution, you should first consider federal student aid programs. Federal programs have lower interest rates and offer flexible repayment plans. If you qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, you will not have to repay this amount. You can only qualify for a Federal Pell Grant if you are an undergraduate student who has not yet earned a bachelor’s or professional degree.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
In 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program. This grant is available to students who intend to teach at a public or private elementary or secondary school whose students are from low-income families. Students can receive a maximum of $4,000 per year from the TEACH Grant Program.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
If you feel you have exceptional financial need, you should think of applying for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The FSEOG is for students who need extra help beyond the normal Federal Pell Grant and loan programs. If you qualify for a FSEOG, you may receive anywhere from $100 to $4,000 per year to help with college expenses. Just as a Federal Pell Grant, the FSEOG Grant does not have to be paid back.
If you do not qualify for a Federal Pell Grant or one of the other grant programs available, do not despair. Most students are eligible for a number of low-cost loans, including Stafford Loan (FFELs and Direct Loans) and PLUS Loan (Parent Loans). Whether applying for a low-cost federal loan or the Federal Pell Grant, you will need to complete the FAFSA–Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Even if you qualify for grants and low-interest student loans, you should also apply for any scholarships for which you may be eligible. This will do nothing but lower your overall out-of-pocket expense in continuing your college education. There are several private foundations that offer scholarships, including The SUNSHINE LADY Foundation, Inc., The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program and The Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship.
Financial Aid Office
Contact the financial aid office of the college or university of your choice. They will be more than willing to help you locate the necessary funds to continue your education. Your financial aid officer will know of resources that you probably have not heard of. This should be your first stop in securing financial aid for your college education.