For single parents, going to college is an integral part of building a better future for themselves and their children. In order to realize that dream, single parents may return to school to pursue an unfinished degree or pursue a profession that offers better financial opportunities than their current occupation.
Becoming a medical administrative assistant or certified pharmacy technician are just two of the many in-demand options single parents might explore in a marketplace that puts a high premium on jobs in the health care industry.
Paying for college and finding flexible options
Unfortunately, single parents are also one of the groups who run into the most difficulty paying for and attending an institution that of higher learning More so than the average college student, single parents usually need extra help financing their education and must have access to flexible scheduling so they can work and study while taking care of their child.
In response to that need, there are many scholarships, grants, and financial aid and student loan programs geared specifically toward the needs of single parents.1
College financing for single parents
Through programs like Pell Grants, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant and the Academic Competitiveness Grant, the federal government issues more money to college students than any other institution.2 And since many of those programs are intended to help prospective students who are suffering from financial hardship – a group single parents often fall into – they are a great resource.
Private organizations also offer a wide range of opportunities for funding. The Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation Scholarship3 builds on the work of the former congressowman for whom it is named by providing financing to low-income single mothers, and the Arizona Business & Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarships4 is one of the many regional options available. With a little research on websites like Collegescholarships.org and Collegegrants.net, among others, you will be able to find scholarship programs like these on a federal, regional or state level.
Financial aid is another route many single parents take. Again, the federal government offers a straightforward procedure that begins by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).5 With FAFSA, single parents often qualify for much higher grant awards.
If you are unable to obtain any of those three forms of financing, or need additional funding, you can work with your college to take out a student loan.
Single parents attending college will require more class flexibility than most of their counterparts. That’s why the specific institution you choose is so important. Many postsecondary schools have programs designed to meet the needs of single parents and, along with financing, should be an important aspect of your choice of schools.
1 Scholarships.com, “College Scholarships and Grants for Single Mothers.” http://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/college-scholarships-and-grants-for-single-mothers/
2 Collegescholarships.org, “College Grant Opportunities for Single Moms.” http://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/single-mothers.htm