A single mom with a low income is pretty much guaranteed some financial assistance through the Pell Grant. With private grants, she can get even more help with the costs of schooling. It takes a bit more effort to find these sources, but there are a number of organizations and Web sites dedicated to helping applicants search through the bog of financial aid (beware the scammers, though).
Private foundations target all sorts of students. They're typically need-based as well as achievement-oriented, meaning students must exhibit and/or maintain a certain GPA or other measure of work quality. Many are aimed at women, and several scholarships offer help to single moms specifically. In other cases, a single mom may meet another criterion that makes her eligible for a private grant. A sampling of these opportunities includes:
For single parents:
For women of a certain age:
- Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarships (must be over 35)
- Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Scholarship for Mature Women (must be over 25 and have completed at least 60 credits of undergraduate work)
For victims of partner abuse:
- Women's Independence Scholarship Program
- R.O.S.E. Fund Scholarship for Women Survivors of Abuse (only schools in the Northeast)
- National Black Nurses Association
- Hispanic College Fund
- Association on American Indian Affairs Displaced Homemaker Scholarships
- American Association of University Women (not only for minorities, although "women of color" do get preference)
For women studying under-represented fields:
This is only a taste of what's out there, and of course the eligibility requirements and specifics of each opportunity can be fairly in-depth. In some cases, the applications are arduous. But it can be worth it to receive thousands of dollars toward a degree -- and possibly a better quality of life.
For more information on financial aid and related topics, look over the links on the next page.