Many single moms want to go back to school to be able to get a better job or start a small business and the only way this is possible for many is through single mom grants. Figuring out where the grants are is the first step to then determine if you qualify or not. The entire process can be overwhelming.
Grants are financial awards that don’t need to be repaid. In that way, they are different than student loans, business loans, or other financial aid. Be sure to review all the terms and conditions of the money you are getting to be sure it is a grant that you don’t need to repay.
The Decision to Go Back to School (or Open a Business)
The desire to go back to school or start a business may be something a single mom wants to do very badly but they can’t see how to afford it. It’s hard enough to grasp the amount of time and energy necessary to balance being a mom, studying, and even working all at the same time. The thought of getting a grant could mean the entire difference between a dream and a reality.
Finding Grants for Single Moms
The type of funding you seek (business or educational) will determine where to seek a grant. Most colleges offer assistance in locating local, school, or field of study-specific grants. The financial aid office at the college or university will walk you through your options. In addition to tuition assistance, women may receive child care aid or housing grants as increased assistance to make the college dream possible.
Local SCORE or Small Business Administration (SBA) offices have resources to help business owners locate grants they may be eligible for.
The Pell Grant is available to students across the nation. The maximum amount of the Pell Grant for the 2019-2020 school year is $6,195 for full-time students who qualify. Full-time students get more than part-time students. Pell Grant eligibility is determined when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in the fall of the year before you attend college.
Your chosen college or university will also be able to tell you if there are any state or university grants you are eligible for. There are also organizational grants that support specific fields of study, helping women pursue specific career paths often in STEM studies or social development fields.
Soroptimist International is a women’s philanthropic organization that grants thousands to women seeking to go back to school each year. Soroptimist International has local chapters in most major cities that you can contact to see what deadlines exist for what grants are available.
You can also find business grants such as the Halstead Grant that provides up to $7,500 for a female jewelry designer to start a jewelry line. In addition to the $7,500 in grant funds for operational costs, the recipient also gets $1,000 in merchandise. Grants like this are a great way to launch a new business for an aspiring single mom.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts also has grants ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 for those who are artists, writers, or otherwise curate contemporary art. This is not for school, but instead for professional artists who already have a track record of being published and are looking for ways to fund additional works.
Applying for Grants
When applying for grants, be sure to read through all the applications eligibility requirements. Many private grants will require an essay, business plan, or portfolio showing why you are a good candidate for the grant. Private foundations may have a very specific set of rules and requirements. Don’t waste time with lengthy applications for grants you are not qualified for. Your time is better spent finding the grant you are best suited to get and make your application as strong as possible.
Financial Aid and Student Loans
If you are looking to attend college, a grant may not be enough to pay all your tuition and fees along with your living expenses. Ask the financial aid department about student loans and scholarships. Find out what you are eligible for based on your field of study, background, and financial circumstances.
Remember that grants don’t need to be repaid and most scholarships are contingent on academic excellence. Neither of those need to be repaid. However, student loans do need to be repaid. While federal student loans don’t require repayment while you are still in school, make sure you are only borrowing what is necessary to get your education. You are better served by grants and scholarships where possible.
Your Tribe There to Help
Join the Single Mommy Tribe Facebook Group to brainstorm about what you want to do, how to get it done, and get the help to find the resources you need. As a tribe we will all succeed.