One of the most important things a single parent can do to provide for his or her family is to get a college degree. Since most single parents are female, this article will discuss financial aid for mothers although the same grants may be available to single fathers. A university degree offers single mothers the opportunity to earn better salaries, it gives them great personal satisfaction, and demonstrates to their children the benefit of hard work combined with a higher education. The best form of financial aid to single mothers is a grant.
Single mothers must meet their own personal expenses and that of their children on one income. Since their annual income can be very low, grants are the first choice of financial aid for single mothers. Federal Pell Grants are usually the foundation for financial aid for students in financial straits. The maximum amount per year dispersed from a Pell Grant is $4,741. Single mothers who have the greatest financial needs may also be eligible for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). This grant is also based on the student’s monetary needs. Single mothers who qualify for an FSEOG may be award up to $4,000 per year.
Some grants are performance based rather than need based. This can be a significant source of financial aid for single mothers. A single mother graduating from high school after January 1, 2005 may be eligible for up to $750 in grant money toward her freshman year in college. The Academic Competitive Grant is available to financially needy mothers who completed a comprehensive and rigorous academic program while in high school. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant is another program designed to help mothers complete a college degree. SMART Grants up to $4,000 per year are dispersed to women in their third or fourth year in college who major in physical, life, or computer science; technology; mathematics; or in a foreign language deemed critical to the security of the United States. Student must meet high academic performance standards to qualify for this grant.