Single Mother Scholarships

    Single Mother scholarships are more common than many people believe. In fact, this is an untapped resource overlooked by many aspiring students. Because of the social stigma once attached to unwed mothers, a common perception still persists that the single mother will not be welcomed into the student body, much less encouraged with a grant of financial aid.

The truth is just the opposite. Increasingly, colleges understand the benefits to children and society as a whole when single mothers are able to earn degrees and therefore improve their economic standing. Feedback from college professors, who count single parents among the most hard working of their students, has also done much to change opinions.

    The single mother's search for scholarships is actually much like that for any student. Start by filling out the FASFA and utilize the numerous online resources for finding aid. (See our home page for the index to our free guide to scholarships and grants.) Be sure to use one of the major online search engines for scholarships. Of course, check with your high school and college financial aid counselor for information about local and school specific awards that may fit your profile.

    The biggest mistake that students make is not using their single mother status to their advantage. Do not hide this from the school or scholarship foundation. Few things better illustrate your need for outside aid than having a child to support. A large percentage of awards consider the financial needs of the student, and frankly, children are a big expense that educators realize create a special need.

     If you already have a financial aid offer from a school, make sure they understand the costs of your children. There are no guarantees, but this is a perfectly legitimate reason to ask for a bigger aid package. Even if you are unable to increase the amount of money a school offers, you may find financial aid officers receptive to the idea of restructuring your aid package. For example, perhaps you can shift some of the money from loans to grants, which do not have to be paid back.

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