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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.

 

 

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.