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Choosing a Grant Program

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Applying for a grant as a single mom who wants to go back to school seems like a pretty straightforward process. But in reality, there are several different types of grants and enough different requirements to give you a major headache. There are a few things you can do to help eliminate and narrow down your options for grant programs. Choosing a grant program is probably one of the most labor intensive aspects of getting enrolled in college.

Before you begin applying for grants, figure out what sort of  educational program you wish to enroll in. Check with your school to find out what their admissions process requires, and make note of all expenses that you will incur by going back to school. Expenses include not only tuition and books, but other supplies: child care, meals, housing etc. Essentially, what you need to do is figure out how much money you need to have coming in while you go to school. Many times, grants, scholarships and financial aid work together to make it so that a single mom can devote herself fully to her children and her classes without having to maintain a job.

Once you’ve decided what program you’re wanting and how much it will cost you to go to school, you can begin eliminating grants from the many lists you will find. Grants that are for specific academic programs that don’t pertain to you, grants for relocation to attend school, grants for abused women, and a huge list of other types of grant programs can be ruled out if they don’t apply to you and your education plans.

Your next trip through the list will be to check the various requirements of the remaining grants that do apply to your situation. Some may require that you do a work study; others may demand a certain number of hours of regular employment while you attend school. Others may be only for parents of pre-school aged children. Each grant has different requirements and is geared toward a certain type of student. Your main job is to find the ones you meet the requirements for before you go filling out applications willy-nilly. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by finding out the terms and requirements before you apply.

Once you’ve narrowed the list down to the grants that you believe you have a chance at, you can begin following the application instructions. To completely cover your educational expenses, you may need to get more than one grant, and you’ll also need to find out how the grant pays as well. Some pay a monthly stipend for housing and meals, others only pay once a year in a lump sum that you have to budget and manage to cover your expenses. Make sure you understand exactly what you can expect from each grant you apply for, and also that you have completed the application as thoroughly as possible. Keep in mind that grant foundations receive thousands of applications, and you may have quite a waiting period to hear back from a grant. Apply early and be prepared to put off school for a semester if need be.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Apply for every grant program you qualify for, check with the school to find out if there is a financial aid program, and look into student loans. If you work, your employer may offer some sort of tuition assistance for classes that will benefit you on the job. There are several sources of financial help for a single mom to go back to school. Yes, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to fill out many applications and repeat the same information over and over, but if it was easy, everyone would be in school earning a degree.

This initial organization period, up to and including the admissions process, is a way for you to see just how dedicated you are to going back to school and earning a degree. It’s a long hard road, but it’s also one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your children. So take the time, research the grant programs and fill out the applications. When you get frustrated, consider how nice it will be if everything comes through and you can dedicate yourself to your education and your children without worrying about finances.

More College Grants for Single Moms

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So you’re a single mom who wants to go back to school, but you don’t know where to start. No worries! College grants for single moms are everywhere. It might not seem like there are all that many, but the key is in the specialization. General grants might be hard to come by, but if you have a particular career path in mind, specialized grants for single moms might be the way to go. Here are a few you might not have considered:

State-sponsored grants. The state you are in might have several grants available. If you live in a state where the lottery is popular, lottery grants are meant to help those who need a hand up, and are often awarded as scholarships based on need. Check with your state department of education to find out exactly what your state has in store for your educational help.

College-sponsored grants. Those who contribute to the college in a meaningful way might be eligible for college-sponsored grants. These grants are awarded for things like environmental consciousness, highest grade point averages, leading your fellow students, or college organizations that address the need of single mothers.

Situation-specific grants. If you are a woman, disabled, in a minority, a non-traditional student, or a single mother, you can often find yourself eligible for grants that you might not have considered before. Did you know there are even grants for those who have a specific disease or illness? There is even a cancer-survivor fund to help those who have survived through cancer to go back to school. If you qualify for any of these, contact the college or talk to the administrators of the charitable organizations that offer the grants.

Profession-specific grants. This is where you can find the most help with college grants for single mothers. Each profession wants to help its young stars blossom, and to that end, certain professions will offer grants to those who show promise. For instance, if you are into agriculture and intend to work in the farming industry, grants from the Future Farmers of America might help you. National Geographic is known for giving very specific grants to those who have a certain course of study that could lead to scientific breakthroughs. If you are an artist, that perfect gallery showing could be your ticket to a large grant to help pay for the remainder of your schooling.

It’s important to get creative and look into grants that are very specific — who knows? You might qualify!

College Grants for Single Moms

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Think you can’t get grants to go back to school? Do you think you have used them all up? Think again! College grants for single moms can be found in a multitude of places.

If you have gone to school in the past and tried to get your degree, you might have used up all of your government grants. But there are many non-profit organizations out there who are ready and willing to help bridge that gap and give you the financial assistance you need. College grants for single moms can be found in the following places:

Raise the Nation. This non-profit organization offers grants and scholarships based on financial need, and also offers loan repayment assistance in exchange for community service work.

Sunshine Lady – Women’s Independence Scholarship.
This financial help is meant for those who need help getting back on their feet after getting out of an abusive situation. The foundation works to provide assistance of all kinds, but most notably college grants for single moms.

Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance.
If you are the wife or child of a military personnel who was lost in a combat situation, you qualify for this grant. Given by the VA, it gives survivors and dependents a “leg up” to get their degree.

The ROSE Scholarship.
This is another program dedicated to helping single mothers who have been in an abusive situation. The program is set up to help those in the New England area, but there are similar programs all throughout the country. Contact your local domestic violence shelter to find out more.

Jeanette Rankin Foundation. If you are a single mother over the age of 35 and you want to go back to college, this might be the way to find help. The foundation has several different divisions, and you might qualify for one or more of them.

Non-Traditional Student Grants. Awarded by the colleges themselves, these grants are specifically meant for those over a certain age, those who have been divorced or separated, and those who have children. This is a great source of college grants for single moms. Contact the college of your choice to find out more.

Even More Grants for Single Mothers

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Do you want to go back to school, but don’t know where to get the money? College grants for single mothers is a great way to get back to school and get that degree, without jeopardizing your family’s financial well-being.

Where do you find these grants? College grants for single mothers are everywhere, and they are always changing. Find out more at the links listed here:

Raise the Nation. If you are in a serious financial bind, Raise the Nation is interested in helping you. The organization looks for single mothers who have too many obligations that would keep them from raising the money to attend school. They will help you obtain financial aid, especially grants, that will keep you in school while helping to provide for your children’s welfare.

Women’s Opportunity Awards. As a single mother, you are the head of your household, and the buck stops with you. The Women’s Opportunity Awards, sponsored by Soroptimist, recognize that you give all you have to your children and have very little left over for yourself. These competitive grants recognize financial hardship and going above and beyond to make a better life for your kids. http://www.soroptimist.org/

Jeanette Rankin Foundation. Are you over 35 and think you’re too old for school? Think again. The Jeanette Rankin Foundation seeks out those mothers who have been out of school for a while but need to go back thanks to life changes, such as divorce or widowhood. It’s a great way to start a whole new career! http://www.rankinfoundation.org/

The American Association of University Women. Aimed at putting women back in school to help their families, the AAUW offers grants and scholarships that will get you back in the classroom. Remember, the higher your education is, the better your job opportunities will be, and this organization recognizes that fact. http://www.aauw.org/

The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund. This fund offers grants to those who want to further their education, not only to help their children, but to help their home country. This grant is sponsored by the World Bank and offers help for all areas of education, as long as you have intentions of returning to your native country to use your education in helping others. http://www.worldbank.org/

The opportunities for grants are endless, but you have to be willing to do some deep homework to find those that best suit your situation. Grants for single mothers are tailored to help you, and they don’t cost you a dime. What are you waiting for? Find the grant that works for you today!