Tag Archives: college

Educational Scholarships for Single Mothers

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Educational scholarships may be the answer for the overworked and financially strapped single mother. The responsibilities of being a single mother are plentiful. There is child care, maintaining the house, errands and a career. The burdens are overwhelming and make going to college seem like an unattainable fantasy, particularly when close to 40% of all single moms are living at or below the poverty level.

Stretching their income to cover all their living expenses leaves little for the single mother to use for career development such as attending college. They are forced to seek financial aid in the form of student loans, grants and educational scholarships.

What Are Scholarships?

Scholarships are monetary awards made to students to help offset the cost of attending college. Scholarships can be awarded based on a variety of criteria as set forth by the administrator of the scholarship fund. It may be on the basis of financial need, academic excellence or other criteria. Often there are requirements scholarship applicants must meet to be considered eligible for monetary awards. Sometimes community organizations will out up a scholarship awarded to the best essay or to a student who has shown exceptional community spirit.

Where To Find Scholarships

Many websites help student locate scholarship money. Fastweb.com is such a a site. They compile information about scholarships from all over the country. Users can browse the listings, read the particulars of a specific scholarship program and apply. You can also talk to the financial aid department at the college you plan to attend. They can often point you in the right direction. Check with community officials and organizations as they often provide scholarship assistance.

Scholarships are not always reserved for the best athletes and scholars. Often they are offered by groups promoting special interests. Perhaps a single mother has a knack for creative writing or photography. There are organizations that will sponsor them for college with scholarships because they are pursuing degrees in those fields. Search out organizations aside from the usual Kiwanis or Elks Club types. Look for writing guilds, photography clubs, kennel or garden clubs. Any of these may be willing to sponsor a college scholarship for a single mom.

Timing

Applying or educational scholarships is time sensitive business. Most are geared toward a particular semester or year of schooling. As such, they have application deadlines that must be met. This allows the administrators time to review the applicants and make decisions about awards. Check the deadlines for applying carefully for each scholarship applied for. As soon as you begin to think about attending college, start seeking out scholarship information so that you don’t miss an important deadline.

 

 

Online Schools Offer More Classes Than Ever

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Online schools are bringing college education to the masses. For a long time, the idea of a college education was reserved for those with wealth or high academic standing who could get scholarships. The average person couldn’t hope to afford the cost of attending a university. Then community and junior colleges arrived on the scene and made things a bit more affordable.

In today’s economy though, attending even a community college can be challenging. Many people are forced to work full time to support themselves and their families, leaving little time for other activities, including higher education. This is where online schools can be the answer to your prayers.

The popularity of online schooling has increased dramatically in the 2000s. One survey of 2500 educational institutions done in 2002 found schools expected their online enrollments to increase by about 20% over the coming year, and traditional enrollment to increase by about 1%. With that kind of growth, colleges are broadening their online offerings to attract more and more students. This means more opportunities for you and me.

Once limited to areas of learning like business administration, English composition and literature studies, and accounting, today’s schools are offering a wider array of curriculum. Nursing programs, computer sciences even engineering fields are entering the fray, all vying for your attention and dollars.

Not only are the community colleges offering online courses but the big name universities as well. Now it may be possible to attain a degree from the school of your choice, provided you can meet the entrance requirements. Other schools specialize in only online education courses. Check out the school thoroughly before enrolling to make sure they are accredited and can provide what you need to complete your studies.

Online schools are often more affordable than classes on campus, saves money and time on your commute, and allows you to attend class on your schedule. You can take as many or as few classes as you believe you can handle in the field of your dreams.

Getting an online degree makes your college dreams attainable while still being home to raise your family. With a college degree in your pocket, you can open more doors to employment opportunities. The job market is fierce. More people are competing for fewer jobs today than in decades. Giving yourself every chance that you can to succeed just makes sense and for many of today’s single moms, an online education makes sense.

Different Types of Schools for Single Moms

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When a single mom makes the decision to go back to school she has many choices to make. She needs to first decide what sort of school she wishes to attend because this option will affect many of her other choices from the financial aspect to child care and class scheduling.

What every single mom should know about universities and colleges is basic information that will allow her to arrange financial aid, schedule classes and make a plan for child care, goals and other aspects of going back to school. The type of degree or certification she chooses to obtain will also affect which type of school she needs.

Community College

For continuing education community college is often the first step. Most community colleges offer 2-year associates degrees which can be transferred to another college or university in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree. While community colleges don’t typically offer dorms or student housing plans for a single mom the lower cost and flexible scheduling for both physical and online courses make them a viable option to get started.

Undergraduate Colleges and Universities

Undergrad colleges and universities generally allow students to earn a BA or BS degree in a 4-year program. There are different levels of undergrad colleges and universities all across the country.

  • Public- are funded by the state and often offer lower tuition for state residents.
  • Private – are not state funded and provide equal tuition costs regardless of state residency.
  • Specialized- private colleges and universities that specialize in offering single sex education, religious education or a specific topic of education such as culinary arts or engineering.

These colleges and universities offer hundreds of classes related to many different majors unless they are specialized schools.

Graduate Colleges and Universities

Graduate schools allow students to earn the next level after a bachelor’s degree which is known as a masters or a doctoral degree.

A single mom needs to evaluate the benefits of each type of school and decide upon a course of action determined by what type of field she wants to work in and what sort of degree she wants to earn.

Pell Grants Ease The Costs of College

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The murky waters of financial aid for college can be daunting waters to tread. There are so many options and so many hoops to jump through that it can be intimidating. Pell grants are one of those options, but what are they and how do they work?

What Is a Pell Grant?

A Pell grant is a form of financial aid provided by the federal government, usually to low income students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. In some cases, awards might be made to post-baccalaureate students pursuing advanced degrees in specific fields. Pell grants are not loans and do not have to be repaid at all. Other forms of financial aid can be combined with Pell grants to ease the cost of college tuition.

How Much Money Is Available?

The amount of money available to any individual student students but the maximum anyone can receive is $5,550. Some of the criteria used to determine the final amount are your status as either a full-time or part-time student, your financial need, the costs you have to pay to attend college, and whether or not you plan to attend school for a full year or not. Additionally, the full amount is guaranteed to any student who lost a parent in due to military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept.11, 2001. To qualify for this military service condition, you must be under 24 years of age or enrolled in college on at least a part-time basis at the time of the parent or guardian’s death.

Currently, the award of two consecutive Pell grants may be made in a single year to speed up your degree process. You need to be enrolled a minimum of half-time in a program that results in either an associate or a bachelor’s degree.

How Do You Apply?

To apply for a Pell grant you will need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You will identify the college you are attending and all of your financial information in this application. The application is evaluated by the U.S. Department of Education. When the evaluation is completed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR indicates whether or not you are eligible for a Pell Grant and other requirement such as your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) toward your education costs, if you are still considered dependent on your parents.

The current administration’s budget concerns are causing the Pell grant system to be evaluated for upcoming years. The parameters as outlined here are valid throughout June 2012.