The challenges of single mothers and fathers are not widely discussed in the media these days. And the situation gets even more difficult as one explores the financial burdens and the emotional responsibilities of the young parents who have just entered their college education. The purpose of our guide is to show you that the help is available and must be considered as you learn.
According to statistics, more than 15% of the undergraduate population in American colleges and universities are represented by single parents. Looking further into the details of the issue, one can see that more than half of students belong to the first generation college learners with low income. At the same time, one should remember that single parents also have to provide even more support for minors and finance certain activities for the children, which also places a burden on their educational spending. Turning to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we can see that students who graduate with a college degree have more chances of successful employment and income than those with high school diplomas. It clearly motivates single parents with low income to take their chances in obtaining a college degree. As a rule, it requires certain funds. Scholarships often become the only option to achieve success without bringing damage to family life.
The Challenges of Single Parenting While Attending College
The challenges of raising a child have always been evident, yet if one envisions a single parent attending college, the financial hardships easily become one of the worst obstacles. A typical single parent will spend at least 2/3 of their limited income to cover the housing needs and the basic aspects of a healthy life. It makes it quite challenging to find additional funds for college education and all the related books with expenses. According to USDA, the average cost of raising a child in a middle-income household will always go beyond the $200,000 mark. All in all, it is equal to at least $14,000 per year as the child is growing up and becomes an adult. Even if a parent turns to any child care option available, it still makes it extremely difficult to manage one's time and pay due attention to all the child upbringing aspects. Therefore, some of the challenges include:
- Finding reliable healthcare. Unfortunately, the majority of healthcare services are rather expensive and it is hard to cover these costs. Some single parents have the luxury of turning to their parents, yet it is not always possible.
- Having to deal with the pressure to attend courses and meet the deadlines. The college deadlines are hard to meet even when one is not dealing with the youngsters in the household and the feeding patterns. If one adds school, kindergarten, and other important factors, meeting each schedule often becomes impossible.
- The balance between work and school, which often becomes necessary. The majority of single parents in the United States manage part-time jobs and education, which adds even more stress and financial burdens of getting all things done on time.
- The housing matters. The necessity to keep one’s apartment or house clean also takes time. The single parent has to create a healthy living environment for the child. As a rule, it also relates to additional financial needs since single parents cannot get accommodation on campus.
- Limited time allocated for sleep and homework duties. The correct sleep patterns are vital for every college student, yet single parents always suffer the most in this regard since they have to put children to sleep or calm down the infants as they cry. Quite often, it becomes the only time when they can study in silence.
Of course, these are far from the complete list of both physical, financial, and emotional challenges that a single parent in college faces. Researching various financial aid options becomes the saving grace that helps single parents to graduate and achieve success.
The List of Scholarships, Grants & Financial Aid for Single Moms & Dads
The Options for Single Mothers:
- Mary Jane Young Scholarship. If you are a single mother studying full-time, you can win up to $1,000.
- Altrusa's Olive Gillespie Scholarship. It is open to female students with a minimum 3.0 GPA. If you are over 30, widowed, or divorced with the children in your care, you can consider this scholarship. You can receive a one-time payment of $500. Deadline: Autumn, 2021.
- Frances M. Dunn Memorial Scholarship. Another $500 award can be received from the Dunn's Children foundation if you are studying at Dakota's School of Mines and Technology. Single mothers with at least a 2.5 GPA can apply. Deadline: September 2021.
- The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Award. You can win up to $5,000 financial help if you are at least 17 years old with minor children in your care. You must belong to a low-income status family with the relevant IRS tax code.
- The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund. You must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and relate to the Arkansas or Bowie County (Texas) place of residence.
Scholarships for Single Mothers & Fathers:
- Single Parents Scholarship. It is offered by the WSU and offers up to $1,000 awards to single parents with custody of one or more children. You must be a first-year student with a 3.0 GPA.
- Park Foundation Scholarship. It is aimed at full-time single parents who are students with a clear financial need.
- Downer-Bennett Scholarship. You can receive from $200 to $1,000 of financial assistance if you have a good GPA and will complete at least 12 hours per semester.
- Live Your Dreams Award. You can receive from $3,000 to $10,000 assistance if you are a single parent who has been through poverty, domestic violence, drug, or alcohol abuse. You must have a financial need and belong to a Soroptimist International territory.
- Scholarships 4 Moms. You can receive $10,000 assistance to fund the school of your choice as a single mom by becoming a part of the foundation.
Scholarships for Minority Single Parents:
- The Rodney and Patricia Westveer Scholarship. If you are at least 30 years old and older, a single parent with children entering your freshman or junior college year, you can consider this $1,900 award. A minimum of 2.5 GPA is recommended. The minority students are in priority.
- The Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects Endowed Scholarship. It is aimed at Hispanic single parents with children who are enrolled in associate's degree programs at the ACC. You must show a financial need and have a 3.0 GPA.
Post Baccalaureate Scholarships for Single Parents:
- The Emporia State University Single Parents with Children Scholarship. You must show a clear financial need as a single parent with joint custody or dependent children. You must complete the FAFSA and have at least a 2.75 GPA. It will give you $2,000 financial assistance.
- The Coplon Donohue Single Parent Scholarship. It is available to Minnesota State University students who are single parents with children. An award of $1,000.
- The Bruce and Marjorie Sundlun Scholarship. If you are located in Rhode Island and belong to a low-income family as a single parent, you can consider this $1,500 scholarship. The ones previously incarcerated or receiving state financial aid are in priority.
Make sure to contact your high school or college advisor about the local scholarship options and special assistance that you may receive. Most importantly, never give up looking, and remember that you can apply for more than one scholarship!
Work & Study Resources Guide for Single Parents
Since the majority of single parents have to combine their work and studies all the time, it is necessary to understand that you can also work on-campus and receive certain help for the part-time hours that you dedicate to a certain type of employment. The students in the United States are usually limited to 20 hours per week to receive the federal minimum wage. As a way to know your rights, consider checking these resources:
- Single Mother Guide - Federal Work-Study. It explains how to apply for the federal work-study program with examples and a list of options. A great resource for single mothers to learn their workplace rights.
- Home Room - Eight Things You Should Know About Federal Work-Study. It is the official blog of the US Department of Education with all the frequently asked questions and answers with the most typical situations discussed.
- Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center. It has the aim of supporting single parents by providing sponsorship and help of all kinds.
- Single Parents Alliance of America. It is one of the most famous organizations that help with the networking and employment of every single mother and single dad with minors.
- Helping Hands for Single Moms. It offers assistance for single mothers as they receive a college degree.
- Child Care Development Fund. This resource helps in terms of employment for the low-income families who need to combine work and school.
- Mental Health America. It has special groups for single parents who have been through abuse in the past. It helps to come back to the work schedules and studies.
Remember to check one of these resources above to find out about your legal rights, to seek protection, and see what kind of financing you can get for yourself and the children in your custody.
The Additional Resources for Single Mothers and Fathers in College
One of the most challenging aspects of single parenthood is having to deal with the emotional splashes and the breakdowns. That is why our team decided to include certain resources that one may consider useful when family life and studies just do not feel right.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. It is a need-based grants program that is related to FAFSA completion. You can receive financial help and assistance of different kinds. Consider checking your eligibility.
- Early Head Start. It is an interesting organization that provides expert help in terms of the emotional, social, and mental development of children of single parents. It is aimed at children from birth to age five, which is a great help for single parents who need someone to help them with the children and more.
- The Student Parent Success Initiative. It is focused on Women's Policy Research in the field of post-secondary education. Single parents must consider this resource to share their experience and receive relevant recommendations.
- Single Parent Program. It has anything from academic advising and career recommendations to financial guidance, special workshops, and childcare services.
Do not hurry and take your time to study our single parents and college guide. It will not only help you to achieve academic success but will also help your children live a normal life. Your time, your emotions, financial needs, and many other aspects of life will improve as you seek help!