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Applying for Financial Aid With Efficiency

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Looking for financial aid to go back to school is time consuming, but is well worth the effort for the single mom. Student loan debt is a difficult burden to carry, and sometimes makes the possibility of going back to school seem out of reach. Take advantage of every financial aid package that is available to you.


The financial aid process is full of acronyms. It seems to be taken for granted that the average student will know what they mean, and this could be true for the traditional student who is going into college directly from high school. For those of us who are non traditional students, however, the lingo needs to be translated.

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It helps to determine if a student is eligible for private or public aid. Packages are available of all types of students. It can be used to earn certificates as well as degrees for any school that is campus based or online. Graduate students and undergrads should fill out the form as the first step in the financial aid search.

SAR is the Student Aid Report that the student will receive after they have submitted the FAFSA. Make sure that all of the information on the report is correct. Use the contact information on the report to resolve any errors.

EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. The lower the EFC, the more money the student will receive in financial aid. This amount is for the higher education costs that you will have to pay the following year.

Getting the Funds

Once the single mom receives her SAR, she should check to see if she is eligible for a Pell Grant. Eligibility changes every year, so it’s important to keep up with the changes that Congress makes to the program. It’s well worth the effort because money from the program doesn’t have to be paid back.

The Pell Grant is named after Senator Claiborne Pell. It was known as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant when it was started in 1973.

A copy of the SAR will automatically be sent to each of the schools that were listed on the FAFSA. Contact the school you choose to attend and compare the financial aid packages that will be available to you through that school. Funds will be available in forms of grants, work study funds and low interest loans.

The single mom should also look for money to help her pay for her higher education from scholarships. A private loan is also an option, but make sure that all other sources for lower cost financial aid have been applied for.

Many single moms neglect to contact their employers when they are looking for funds to pay the tuition needs and other expenses when they go back to school. Even if your employer doesn’t offer an educational assistance program, you can often ask for help and get it. If taking the classes will help make you more proficient in your job with the company, the employer might see the benefit of reimbursing you part of the expense you incurred after you have completed the class. It never hurts to ask.

Financial Aid: Are You Dependent or Independent?

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So you are going to college, but you need financial aid. You may be an adult, over 18 and a parent yourself. Surely this means you are independent, free of your own parents? Not necessarily, at least not in terms of financial aid and FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. So what determines your dependency status and what does it mean to you?

There are a number of questions you must answer to determine if you are still a dependent according to FAFSA. Look at the following list.

  • Were you 23 years old or older before January 1 of this year?
  • Will you be working on a master’s or doctoral degree or certificate?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you a parent AND do your children receive more than half of their support directly from you?
  • Do you have other dependents that live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Are both of your parents deceased?
  • Were you a ward of the court?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

If you are able to answer yes to any of these questions, even one, you are considered independent for the purposes of the FAFSA. If you answered no to all of them, you will be required to supply information about your parents and their financial standings on your application.

Even if you don’t live with your parents, if you fall into the dependent category, you will have to include your parents’ information. It doesn’t matter that they may no longer claim you as a dependent on their taxes. For the purposes of the FAFSA, taxable dependency is irrelevant.

The information is still required even if your parents don’t want to help you pay for college. It is used to determination the amount of financial aid you are eligible for.

There are some special circumstances which may qualify you as an independent even if you did answer no to all the questions. Some examples of those circumstances would include lack of contact with your parents, parental abuse, Parental substance abuse or parental mental illness. Another point to consider is that you may fair better as a dependent if you are providing support to your parents. These and other situations should be discussed with your financial aid office as they can guide you on how to proceed.

What You Will Need to Apply for Financial Aid

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Applying for financial aid is a complicated process closely related to doing your own long-form income tax in complexity. There are many steps along the way and many pieces of information you will need to provide before an evaluation of your application is completed. Since receiving financial aid may mean the difference between whether you can afford to attend school or not, I highly recommend you prepare well in advance. Here are some things you’ll need to gather.

  • Social Security Card
  • Driver’s License or State Identification
  • W-2s and other documentation of any money earned in the most recent year prior to year you are applying for aid in
  • Copies of your most recent tax return along with your spouse’s if you were married in the previous year
  • Documentation of untaxed income such as payment to tax-deferred pension and savings plans, child support received, untaxed portions of IRA distributions, untaxed portions of pensions, or veteran non-education benefits
  • Copies of all bank statements from the most recent preceding year
  • Most recent business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records for preceding year.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will have to supply your alien registration number or permanent residence card, also.

If you can be claimed as a minor by your parents, you will have to supply all of this information for both parents as well before application can be evaluated.

You will need to know the federal school code for the school you want to attend. You can find a listing of federal school codes at the Federal Student Aid website.

Be sure to check with your school for the deadlines for applying for student aid. These deadlines change for each semester. Missing a filing date could mean you have to wait another semester or longer before you can apply.

Gather all of this information together and keep in a safe place until you are ready to complete the online registration. You can update the information yearly as you will need to reapply for each semester that you seek financial aid. Keeping the information current and in a location that is easy to find will speed up the process for you.

Once you have gathered this data and entered the information into your application, you can expect to receive a Student Aid Report in approximately 4 weeks. It will either be sent to the email or mailing address you provide in your application.

Financial Aid Grant Information : Where to Fill Out a Federal Pell Grant

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Here is a straightforward account of where to find the FAFSA, and what filling it out can mean for you in terms of whether you qualify for grants or loans. Also, learn what you’ll need to complete the application, like tax documents or other documents.

How to Pay for College

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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be intimidating. But here, you can find information about when to fill it out, how to increase the amount of aid you’re eligible for, and what documents and information you’ll need to have on hand to complete the application.

Filling out the FAFSA has many benefits when it comes to paying for college. find out more on how to apply for fafsa loans

Going Back to School as a Single Mother

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As a single mom, you constantly battle financial problems. You are the only breadwinner in your home, yet you are also the only parent. As such, you must dedicate yourself to your career and your children at the same time. Sometimes advancing within your field of work is difficult because your children are constantly in need of your attention. One way to take the next step at your place of employment is to get another degree or finish the one you started. If you are thinking about going back to school, the financial reality may be stopping you. If so, here are some resources you should know about to help you pay for your education.

The first place you should look for financial help is the government. Talk to the financial aid department at the school you are considering, and they will help you find the necessary forms to apply for federal aid programs. You will have to file the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of this process. If your income qualifies, you will be eligible for help such as Pell Grants, Cal Grants, and special student loan offers with lower than normal interest rates. You may or may not qualify for help, but you should go through the process to determine if you do or not.

If you do not qualify for federal aid or you do not get enough aid to cover what you need to go back to school, there are many privately funded organizations that will help single moms fund their education. Raise the Nation is one of these organizations. This company has a scholarship for single moms who wish to pursue further education but cannot get the money they need through traditional loan sources and school grants.

The Sunshine Lady Foundation Scholarship Program is another option for some single moms. The Foundation offers the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, which is available to women who have escaped from abusive relationships and need to get an education in order to become financially stable by landing a good job. Women with young children in the home are the focus of this scholarship.

If neither of these options work for you and you still need more money for your education, consider using an online tool to search for grants, loans, and scholarships that match your life. For instance, sometimes minority women can get scholarships from their minority organizations. FastWeb.com is a website that offers an online search tool for scholarships, loans, grants, and other forms of financial aid.

If you want to go back to school and the fact that you are a single mom is holding you back, there are options. You need to do your research and find out what help you can get. Remember, getting your degree will only make life better for you and your children so stop waiting and start working towards further education.

More Ways to Get Nursing Grants for Single Mothers

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Are you ready to go back to school to provide a better life for your kids? Many single mothers opt for nursing school. Thanks to the widespread nursing shortage, those with the skills are in high demand. Nursing school can take as little as a year to receive a Licensed Practical Nurse designation, and you can always move up from there. Nurses, especially Registered Nurses, can make a very nice income and still have a flexible schedule to spend more time with their children.

But how do you start? Nursing grants for single mothers are available for those who are serious about going back to school and getting that degree. Here’s where to begin:

Choose a nursing school. Narrow down your options by finding the school that best meets your needs, both in terms of how long it takes to earn your degree, and the methods by which you can earn it. Many schools will allow you to take several classes online and offer practical classes that you have to attend in person. This tends to work out much better for single moms.

Make sure the school is accredited. Only accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid. If you are unsure about their accreditation, call the school and speak to an admissions counselor. If they give you any answer other than “Yes,” look for another school to meet your needs.

Fill out the FAFSA. The free application for federal student aid determines what grants you can receive from the federal government. Fill this out as soon as you know where you want to go, and in the meantime, look for other grants and scholarships that might bridge the gap if the FAFSA doesn’t provide enough to cover all the expenses.

Fill out your applications. The applications for college are very important. Make sure to mention in your application essay that you intend to use your new degree and training to help support your children. Colleges love to see people who are trying to create better lives for themselves and their children, so if there is a tight admissions process, your application could rise to the top.

Get ready! When the FAFSA comes through and those applications start going out, things will move fast. Be ready to start school as soon as the semester begins. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of the admissions counselors along the way — they are there to help!

Financial Help For College

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Skyrocketing tuition prices make paying for college difficult for all parents, but especially for single mothers. But just because you can’t afford to pay every cent of your child’s tuition up front, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t go. There are many ways to get financial help for college so that your son or daughter can get a higher education without causing you to go broke. They will probably need to pitch in and help carry the burden, but that will make their college experience all the more rewarding.

Don’t underestimate the power (or availability) of scholarship money. Scholarships are out there and your student doesn’t even need to have a 4.0 to get one. There are many different types of scholarships, not just academic ones. Be sure to check FastWeb.com, Collegeboard.com, Wiredscholar.com, and ScholarshipCoach.com for a multitude of scholarship options. Have your son or daughter apply for as many scholarships as possible-and reapply each year. Students can receive scholarship money for every year they are in school.

Grants and student loans are another great way to get financial help for college. Be sure to have your potential student apply for every grant he/she can and then visit FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) to apply for financial  help. Check with a high-school counselor for more information or search “grants for college” on the internet. If grants won’t cover the cost of tuition, student loans are a low-cost alternative or supplement. Student loans teach responsibility and give students a stake in their own education. Student loans are also manageable because they have low rates and are paid off over a long period of time. There are also student loans with low rates that parents can take out in their own names.

If your son or daughter wants to attend a four-year university, ask them to consider attending a more affordable community college for the first two years and then transferring. Most universities accept up to 64 transfer credits (or more), making it easy to get the core curriculum out of the way at a much cheaper price. Just be sure your student checks with both schools beforehand so they’ll know what classes to take for their intended degree and if the classes transfer over.

College isn’t cheap–and paying for it isn’t easy. But there are resources out there to help you send your child through school. You just have to know where to look and be willing to ask for help.

Federal Financial Aid for Single Moms

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Are you ready to go back to school and earn that degree, but you don’t know how you’re going to pay for it? For all single moms, it can be tough, and finding the money to go to college might seem impossible. However, if you take advantage of Federal Financial Aid, you might be surprised at just how much money you can raise to go to college and help with living expenses while you complete your schooling! Federal financial aid for single moms just might be your ticket to a degree.

It all begins with something called a FAFSA, or a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This document requires information on your income, investments, and the like. It will help determine how much money you can receive from the government to help pay for your college. Federal financial aid for single moms is often the only way you can go to school and still manage to make ends meet.

The FAFSA will determine how much money you can get, but it also determines how you will get that money. How many grants will you qualify for? The FAFSA can help determine that. Grants don’t have to be paid back, and are often given based on need. If you can show ample need, you might be able to get the maximum in grants.

Loans are another option that you can consider. Federal student loans carry a very low interest rate, and sometimes they have no interest at all. They are meant to cover what grants do not, and though they do have to be paid back, the payments are often on a schedule that is very easy to handle. You might not have to start paying the loans back until at least six months after you graduate!

There is a long list of grants you can receive through the FAFSA. You can also find out if you are eligible for federal work-study. Work-study allows you to gain money toward college by simply going to work every day in a job approved by the program, usually one that allows you to work for the college or university you are attending.

But that’s not all — in fact, depending upon where you reside and the college you want to attend, there might be much more offered by the Federal Financial Aid program. Visit www.FAFSA.ed.gov to learn more about what you need to do to qualify, and to get the application to start on the road to academic success. Federal financial aid for single moms is available — you just have to fill out the application to start the process of getting it!