Federal Grants for Single Mothers
Many single moms would like to improve their financial shape and their future by going back to school or starting their own business, but that can be hard for a person raising children alone. In addition to the normal costs of a business or education, single parents must also find a way to pay for childcare and usually have less help and support from family members. The good news it that there is help available in the form of both government and private grants for single mothers.
One of the most well-known and widely used forms of government aid is the Pell Grant. These are the most commonly used grants for single mothers to go to college. Applicants at the lowest income levels may also qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) which pays $100 to $4,000 per year towards educational expenses. To qualify for a Pell Grant, and for most other student financial aid, you must first fill out and submit the FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid), either online or through your school’s financial aid office. Once it is processed, you will be contacted by mail or email with the estimated amount of your grant. It will also help you to qualify for state or school specific grants.
Many schools, community colleges especially, offer childcare assistance grants to help single mothers pay for child care while enrolled in school. Most often, they will ask you to apply for this sort of assistance first through your local Social Services or other government assistance agency. These agencies will often pay a portion of the cost of childcare for income-eligible parents wanting to work or attend school. In that case, the school may give you a grant to pay for some or all of the child care expenses that remain. A few schools even offer childcare facilities on campus and usually discount the cost of child care for students receiving Pell Grants or otherwise demonstrating financial need.
To find business grants, single mothers should start with the Small Business Administration (SBA). While the SBA doesn’t provide grants for starting or expanding businesses, it can often provide information on grant programs for people who qualify. These include state and local programs that provide grants of varying amounts to help people start or expand certain types of businesses. Requirements are usually strict and they often require the person receiving the grant to match the amount of funds given or to supplement them with loans or other financing, but they can be a great help in certain situations.
In addition to federal grants, single mothers will want to look for state and local grants. These may be harder to find but they are often less competitive and some provide a great deal of help and support in addition to monetary aid. Many of these are targeted toward specific situations, like women who are single because they left an abusive relationship or widows of military or police personnel. Schools will have some information on local scholarships and grants but, if you have a circumstance in your life that may make you eligible for a specific type of aid, if may be worth checking with local support or resource groups.