While you may have a hard time finding grants specifically for single mothers, single moms still have plenty of options when it comes to paying for school. Grants are need-based scholarships that come from a variety of funding sources, from federal programs to corporate and non-profit organizations, and they do not have to repaid. Grants and scholarships for women, low-income households, and adult and returning students are all designed to help overcome challenges that many single mothers face. If you are single mother, you may qualify for a number of different grant types, depending on your circumstances.

The amount of funding you can receive from a need based grant can vary considerably. Depending on the source of the grant, the award amount may change from one year to the next based on the funding available. Some grants and scholarships for single mothers may offer as little as $100 while others will cover your tuition and fees. Also, some colleges and universities offer tuition discounts for single mothers.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for a single mother grant, you will need to verify that you are a single parent. You may also need to document your income and financial need by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), particularly if you are applying for a government-funded scholarship or grant. However, private grants also prioritize applicants with financial needs. For example, The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation is a private grant that awards $3,000 scholarships to low-income mothers. However, grants that are not specifically for single mothers can have a range of eligibility requirements. Some may require that you be over a certain age, returning to school, or be pursuing a degree in an in-demand field. (Although many of the following examples are called “scholarships,” they function exactly as need-based grants, as they are gifted funds based on financial need.)

Types of Single Mother Grants

  • Education Support Award: The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation awards $3,000 grants to low-income mothers pursuing a skills training program, vocational or associate, degree, or first bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant is a federal grant awarded to low-income undergraduate students with “exceptional need” for educational financial assistance (i.e. those with the lowest Expected Family Contributions, or EFCs, and who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients). Awards range anywhere between $100 and $4,000 a year.
  • Federal Pell Grant Program: Although not exclusive to single mothers, the Federal Pell Grant assists the educational financial needs of low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students. Amounts can go up to $5,550 depending on financial need, costs to attend school, and student status (i.e. full-time or part-time).
  • CalGrant Program: California’s CalGrant Program is a state program that provides financial assistance to disadvantaged and low-income individuals–taking family status into consideration. Awards of up to $12,192 are given to help pay for college expenses at any qualifying California college, university, or career/technical school.
  • Soroptimist International of Washington, DC – Women’s Opportunity Award: With a mission to improve the lives of women and girls, Soroptimist offers a cash award that aims to support education or training attainment. This award of $2,000 is targeted to women who want to make a positive change to the community and world, and who are working to better their lives through further education and training.
  • Women’s Opportunity Award: The Women’s Opportunity Award seeks to financially assist women who are the primary wage earners for their family and are entering or returning to an undergraduate degree or vocational/skills program to improve their employment prospects. Awards amount to $2,000.