6 Scholarships for Moms: How Can Moms Pay for College?

By Melissa Brock · March 16, 2022 · 8 minute read

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6 Scholarships for Moms: How Can Moms Pay for College?

Part of a mom’s job description: changing diapers, driving to soccer practice, making dinner (and listening to kids say, “Eewww, what are we having?”), going to work, and sometimes, planning to go to college as well.

When you want to improve your income potential or change your career to offer your kids more opportunities, you may have to manage a myriad of responsibilities — possibly with a full course load to boot. It can demand a lot from moms physically, mentally, and financially.

What percentage of college students who attend college also have children? According to information from the 2015-2016 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) study , the most recent survey, over 22% of all undergraduates are parents. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that of the 20 million college students enrolled during the 2019-2020 academic year, 4.3 million were raising a child.

The financial impact of going back to school can seem staggering, so consider scholarships for moms as one way to make an impact. We’ll also lay out various single mom scholarships, scholarships for working moms, walk through how to find these scholarships, and look into other financing methods.

Who Is Eligible for These Scholarships?

Almost anyone can get a scholarship, but you must meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the scholarship guidelines. Some scholarships will require students to be independent students. Independent students are defined by the U.S. Department of Education as those who are:

•   At least 24 years old

•   Married

•   Graduate or professional students

•   Veterans of the U.S. armed forces

•   Active duty members of the armed forces

•   Orphans, those in foster care, or wards of the court

•   People who have legal dependents other than a spouse

•   Emancipated minors

•   Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

However, non-governmental organizations may have other requirements. Therefore, it’s important to take a look at the qualifications for each scholarship.

Recommended: A Guide to Unclaimed Scholarships and Grants

Types of Scholarships for Moms

Nontraditional students interested in receiving financial aid can also submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Colleges and universities will receive the results of the FAFSA and use that information to inform their aid decisions. The FAFSA is the first step in applying for federal financial aid, including grants, federal student loans, work-study, and other institutional aid. These could help you offset the cost of tuition and other education-related expenses. The FAFSA must be filled out each year the student is enrolled in school.

Other scholarships may require you to apply independent of the FAFSA — that is, the results of the FAFSA may not matter. However, many mom scholarships may require you to prove that you earn a low income. (Low-income thresholds depend on the size of your family and number of children, according to the United States Census Bureau.

You can tap into many types of scholarships for moms, including single mom scholarships, scholarships for working moms, and other types of scholarships for women going back to college, as outlined below.

Single Mom Scholarships

Yes, organizations offer scholarships for single moms! Take a look:

Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Award

If you provide the primary financial support for yourself and your dependents, you can qualify for the Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Award, as long as you show evidence of financial need. You must also enroll or be accepted into a vocational/vocational skills training program or undergraduate degree program and be motivated to achieve your education and career goals.

Applicants must live in one of the following Soroptomist territory countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guam, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, United States of America, or Venezuela.

Award amount: $1,000 to $16,000
Deadline: Application open from August 1, 2022 to November 15, 2022

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation for Low-Income Women and Children Education Support Awards

The Patsy Takemoto Mink Educational Foundation for Low-Income Women and Children
Education Support
awards offer college scholarships for single moms to low-income women with children who are pursuing education or training.

The criteria for the award state that you must:

•   Be a woman at least 17 years of age

•   Be a mother with minor children

•   Pursue your first degree at a post-secondary education level (vocational, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree) — this degree must add to the level of education accomplished (such as a bachelor’s degree after an associate’s degree or an advanced degree after a bachelor’s degree)

•   Pursue a degree or credential at an institution that does not discriminate on the basis of sex/gender, LGBTQ+ status or identity, race or ethnicity, religion, disability, or immigration status.

•   Enrolled in a nonprofit, accredited institution or program in the U.S.

•   Be low-income (earn less than $20,000 total in family income for a family of 2, less than $24,000 for a family of 3, or less than $28,000 for a family of 4).

​​Awardees are selected based on financial need, personal circumstances, educational path, vocational and occupational goals, service/activist, and/or civic goals.

Award amount: $5,000
Deadline: Information about the 2022-2023 application will appear in late spring 2022.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Single Mother Scholarship

Rosenfield Injury Lawyers LLC offers two scholarships to single mothers returning to school, one for a single mother who will attend an undergraduate or community college program and another for a single mother who will attend accredited law school.

To qualify, you must write a 500+-word essay about the advantages of returning to school while raising children, explaining how motherhood has prepared you for the challenges of becoming a student. You must also:

•   Submit a copy of your transcript that displays your grade point average (GPA) — unofficial transcripts are accepted.

•   Authorize Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to post the material on its website and social media channels.

You may use the scholarship money for education-related expenses, including tuition and registration, textbooks, and other fees and supplies.

Award amount: $1,000
Deadline: TBD for the 2022-2023 academic year

Scholarships for Working Moms

If you’re a working mom, you may want to first consider your current job’s scholarship opportunities. Some companies offer scholarships and/or education reimbursement for their employees.

Company foundations usually create scholarship programs for employees, employees’ children or relatives, or the children of deceased or retired employees. While not necessarily just geared toward working moms, can still provide a major financial benefit of working and going to school. Visit your company’s human resources for more information about scholarships or other educational assistance you can qualify for — note that some companies allow employees to take advantage of their education benefits right away, but yours may require you to work at your company for a specified length of time.

Take a look at the scholarship below, geared specifically for working moms.

Job-Applications.com Working Parent College Scholarship Award

Working parents currently in college or another accredited postsecondary educational institution can qualify for the Job-Applications.com scholarship by meeting specific criteria. You must:

•   Be enrolled as a part-time student who is in an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution (college, university, or trade school, or a similarly accredited program).

•   Have a current cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher at that institution

•   Have worked an average of at least 12 hours for each of the previous four weeks during the application process

•   Be a residential parent of at least one minor child

•   Be a legal U.S. resident

•   Be at least 18 years of age or older

You must also submit a 600- to 1,000-word essay about the keys for balancing parenthood, working, and succeeding in college.

Award amount: $1,000
Deadline: TBD for the 2022-2023 academic year

Scholarships for Moms Going Back to College

Moms pursuing graduate work may also need help finding grad school scholarships.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Program

Those who identify as a female/woman and who study at a community college, bachelor’s or graduate degree program with the intention of preparing for a career in engineering, engineering technology, or computer science may qualify for the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Program .

To qualify, you must:

•   Plan to study at an undergraduate/community college or plan to get your master’s or Ph.D. at an ABET-accredited program

•   Major in engineering, technology, or computing

•   Must attend full time (though exceptions are made for reentry and nontraditional applicants)

•   Not be fully funded for tuition, fees, books, or the equivalent

Award amount: $1,000 to $10,000
Deadline: Sophomores through graduate students: February 15, 2022; freshmen: May 2, 2022

Chrysalis Scholarship

The Chrysalis Scholarship , funded by the Association for Women Geoscientists, helps women who experienced an interruption in their education due to raising children or other life circumstances and need financial help to obtain their graduate degrees in a geoscience-related field thesis or dissertation. The scholarship may cover drafting expenses, child care, defense travel, late-stage research and analyses, and more.

To qualify, you must:

•   Be a graduate student who has had an educational interruption due to life circumstances

•   Approach the completion of your geoscience degree

•   Plan to contribute to the geosciences and the larger world community

Application materials include a letter of application in which you describe your background, career goals, and objectives, how you plan to use the scholarship, and the nature and length of the education interruption. You must provide letters of reference from your thesis/dissertation advisor and another scientist of your choice.

Award amount: $2,000
Deadline: Sophomores through graduate students: February 15, 2022; freshmen: May 2, 2022

Applying for Scholarships for Moms

When you’re applying for scholarships, it’s important to get organized. Make a list of due dates on your calendar and estimate how much time it’ll take you to complete each application, along with your other responsibilities. Research scholarships early so you don’t miss out on scholarship opportunities.

Read the eligibility guidelines carefully. Contact the organization sponsoring the scholarship if you have specific questions related to eligibility. Some scholarships may not get many applicants, so if you meet almost all the requirements, ask if you can apply anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that the committee or organization will allow you to apply.

Finally, follow all the instructions. Stick to the word limit for the essay and send supporting materials as requested.

Before you send in your application, run it through Grammarly and Hemingway for proofreading or have someone else give you feedback. Finally, keep documentation of everything so you know exactly when you sent your applications.

Finding Other College Scholarships for Moms

Put your feelers out for every type of scholarship that might apply to you — they don’t even need to be strictly “mom-related.” If you qualify in another way, such as for your interest in zoology or criminology, keep those options open. Look into the following sources for scholarships as well:

•   Colleges and universities: Colleges and universities offer many different types of scholarships and grants. Make an appointment with an admission counselor and/or the financial aid office to learn more about scholarships you can apply for at each institution you’re interested in attending.

•   Charity organizations: Look into organizations in your community, such as the local Rotary Club. You just might scoop up a few scholarships based on the organizations you know. Ask around!

•   Professional organizations: What do you plan to major in? Check to see if professional organizations of your chosen industry offer scholarships and grants. It’s also possible to get internships and careers from these professional organizations right out of the gate after graduation.

Recommended: How to Pay for College

Other College Financing Methods

You might need other sources of financial aid to close the cost gap after scholarships for college are factored in. Generally, the first step, as mentioned, is filling out the FAFSA, no matter your income level or personal situation. The FAFSA is completely free and offers other financial aid beyond scholarships, including need-based and non-need-based federal financial aid.

Other options for paying for college include:

•   Federal grants: Students who demonstrate financial need may qualify for federal grants. You do not need to pay these back. For example, you could qualify for a Federal Pell Grant or the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant . Take a look at the eligibility requirements to determine whether you qualify.

•   Federal student loans: You may qualify for federal student loans through the U.S. Department of Education and through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are non-need-based, while Direct Subsidized Loans are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need.

•   Private student loans: Federal student loans, scholarships, and other funding sources may not fully cover the cost of attendance for students. In that case, students may tap into private student loans. However, private student loans do not have the same benefits or borrower protections as federal student loans (like deferment options or the ability to pursue certain federal loan forgiveness programs). For this reason, private student loans are generally pursued only after all other options have been thoroughly considered.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

The Takeaway

The allure of adult learners paying for college: Women with bachelor’s degrees earn $630,000 more in median lifetime earnings with a bachelor’s degree compared to a high school diploma, according to the Social Security Administration. Women with graduate degrees earn $1.1 million more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates.

Scholarships for moms going back to college can bridge the gap between achieving your degree, but don’t forget to consider private student loans with SoFi. If you’re on the hunt for college scholarships for moms, chances are, you may need additional help achieving your goals. Let SoFi guide you through our private student loan options.

Photo credit: iStock/Portra


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