While it was once rare to see women in college classrooms, these days there are more women than ever enrolled in higher education. In fact, there are currently more women enrolled than their male counterparts. With the female student population growing, so is the number of "nontraditional" students. Single mothers are among those in this category. Scholarship providers are creating more financial aid opportunities tailored to fit female students in special circumstances. Here are just a few:
If you had to put your higher education on hold due to raising a family, the Jeanette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund offers a scholarship for women over the age of 35, pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate's degree, or a first bachelor's degree. Other requirements include U.S. citizenship and a low-income eligibility. Applications are available November through December each year.
[Read 5 reasons why scholarships are essential.]
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation awards scholarships of up to $2,000 for low-income women with children who are pursuing education or training. This award is aimed at single moms aged 17 or older.
The Emerge Scholarships, Inc. scholarship program awards approximately seven special women—nontraditional students whose education was delayed and who are individuals with a vision to succeed regardless of any obstacles that life has put in their way—between $2,000 and $5,000 each year. While women from any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico can apply, preference is given to those who are pursuing their educational in the state of Georgia.
[See 4 hints for not missing scholarship deadlines.]
In hopes of encouraging single California parents to pursue higher education, Capture the Dream, Inc. offers a $1,000 Single Parent Scholarship toward a four-year degree. This scholarship is open to all graduating college-bound high school and/or undergraduate single mothers already enrolled at four-year institutions. There is no minimum GPA requirement.
[Get tips from U.S. News's Paying for College guide.]
In many cases, state-offered scholarships for single mothers are actually offered through a college or university system in the state. To find out what's available in your state, contact both your state higher education agency and the financial aid office of the school you'd like to attend to find out what scholarships or grants are offered to single moms.
A few examples of state and school financial aid programs for single parents include:
And here's a list of scholarships for single mothers from private foundations and organizations.
Mackenzie Owens joined Scholarship America in the spring of 2011 and is an alumna of Columbia College. She was also the recipient of numerous scholarships.