Scholarships for Single Mothers & Fathers

Single parents have a lot to gain from earning their degree. Click through to learn about scholarships you can use to overcome financial hurdles.

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by Staff Writers

Published on July 30, 2021 · Updated on April 12, 2022

Edited by Cameren Boatner
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Scholarships for Single Mothers & Fathers

Single parents made up 22% of the undergraduate population at U.S. colleges and universities as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Additionally, according to the American Council on Education, more than half of this demographic were first-generation college students and in the low-income bracket.

Many student parents find funding through scholarships and grants specifically created for their demographic. After all, it is always advisable for single moms and dads to maximize what's essentially "free money."

Funding Challenges for Single Parents

Single mothers and fathers often report financial hardship as an obstacle to attending college. Many single parents spend the majority of their income on housing and basic necessities, which makes it hard to save money for school.

This financial difficulty, combined with a lack of time and child care options, can make going back to school after becoming a parent especially hard. Finding reliable childcare as a single parent with both school and work obligations can be especially difficult.

In response to this growing need for reasonably priced child care that can be provided as needed for college students, some states such as Oregon have developed grants to provide child care for college students.

Overcoming the unique challenges of being a single-parent student can begin with researching scholarship and grant options specifically for your demographic.

Scholarships for Single Mothers

true Altrusa's Olive Gillespie Scholarship

This award is open to female sophomore, junior, or senior Western Kentucky University students with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants over the age of 30 who are widowed or divorced with dependent children are given first priority. Consideration is given to those demonstrating financial need.

Award Amount: One time award of $500

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true The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Award

This scholarship — named for former Congresswoman Mink — is open to students enrolled in or planning to attend an accredited certificate, degree, or training program who are at least 17 years of age with minor children. Applicants must have a low-income status according to IRS tax codes.

Award Amount: A one-time award of up to $5,000

Apply for Scholarship

true The Ellen M. Cherry-Delawder Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is open to students at Howard Community College who are single parents with dependent children. Preference is given to students who are pursuing a degree in business or a related field.

Award Amount: Varies, depending on funds available

Apply for Scholarship

Scholarships for Single Mothers & Fathers

Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund

Access to this network of scholarship opportunities is available to low-income Arkansas residents who are single parents of one or more dependent children, and who do not have a degree or diploma from a four-year college or university.

Award Amount: Varies according to county of residence

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The BYU Marriott School Single Parent Scholarship

This is one of several BYU Marriott School scholarships awarded by the Spouse Association of the Marriott School's National Advisory Council. Applicants must be a single parent with custody of dependent children and enrolled in a Marriott School program with good standing.

Award Amount: Amount varies, renewable annually

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The Downer-Bennett Scholarship

The Downer-Bennett Scholarship is available to undergraduate students who are single parents studying at the University of New Mexico. Applicants must be continuing undergraduate students at UNM with a competitive GPA. They must also complete at least 12 on-campus UNM credits each semester of the upcoming academic year.

Award Amount: A one-time award of $200-$1,000

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The Kentucky Colonel's Better Life Scholarship

This scholarship is open to Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College students who are residents of Kentucky and single working parents with at least one child under the age of 12. Applicants must be full-time students and demonstrate financial need that is not met by other funding sources.

Award Amount: $2,500, renewable for a second year with continued full-time study and by maintaining satisfactory academic progress

Apply for Scholarship

The LouEllen Dabbs Scholarship

The LouEllen Dabbs Scholarship is open to Holyoke Community College students who are single parents pursuing a business, banking, or finance major who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must be registered for at least nine credits and have a minimum 2.35 GPA.

Award Amount: Award covers tuition

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The ANSWER Endowment Scholarship

This scholarship from The Foundation for the Carolinas is open to full-time, degree-seeking students who are legal residents of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, or residents of a contiguous county in North or South Carolina. Applicants must be female students ages 25 or older who are primary caregivers to at least one school-aged child who lives with them in their household.

Award Amount: Variable, dependent on individual need

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The Kathryn Kyriopoulos Colemere Endowed Scholarship

This Westminster College scholarship is open to part-time students who demonstrate financial need and are single parents. Applicants must be enrolled at least part time, with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Priority is given to business, education, and nursing students.

Award Amount: A one-time award of up to $1,500

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The Peggy A. Stock Presidential Scholarship

This scholarship is open to undergraduate Westminster College students with strong academic backgrounds who demonstrate financial need. Applicants may be enrolled on a part-time or full-time basis but must have a minimum 3.5 GPA. Priority is given to students who are single parents.

Award Amount: A one-time award of up to $5,000

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The Steven K. Wright Scholarship

This Westminster College scholarship is open to students who can demonstrate financial need and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Priority is given to students who are single parents.

Award Amount: A one-time award of up to $500

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Scholarships for Minority Single Parents

The Rodney and Patricia Westveer Scholarship

This scholarship is open to female students age 30 and older who have children. Applicants must be entering their first, second, or third year at Calvin College. They must also demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of at least 2.5.

Award Amount: $1,900; renewal is possible if GPA requirements are maintained

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The Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects Endowed Scholarship

This scholarship is open to single, Hispanic women with dependents who are enrolled in an associate degree program at Austin Community College. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have at least a 3.0 GPA

Award Amount: One-time amount varies depending on funds available

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Scholarships for the Children of Single Parents

The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship

Designed to provide financial assistance to children of workers killed or permanently disabled in work zone accidents, this scholarship is also open to the spouses of fallen workers and parents with custody or legal guardianship of surviving children. Applicants must apply the award toward higher education at an institution that requires a GED as a condition of acceptance. They must also demonstrate financial need according to the FAFSA application.

Award Amount: A one-time award of up to $10,000

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The Naomi Scholarship

This scholarship is open to first-year and transfer students at Calvin College who are from a single-parent family and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and Christian character.

Award Amount: A one-time award of $1,350; may be renewable with maintenance of 3.0 GPA and Christian character

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White Collar Defense Diversity Scholarship

This scholarship is open to undergraduate law students who are Hispanic or African-American. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrate financial need.

Award Amount: A one-time award of $500

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The Armstrong Family Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. residents accepted to Arizona State University as full-time, degree-seeking students. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. Students must also have experienced family circumstances beyond their control that have prevented them from accessing educational opportunities.

Award Amount: Up to $8,000

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The Leon and Ida Finkelstein Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is open to students at the University of Minnesota who are children of Jewish parents and have lost one parent due to divorce or death.

Award Amount: Varies according to financial need

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Post-Baccalaureate Scholarships for Single Mothers & Fathers

The Emporia State University Single Parents with Children Scholarship

This scholarship is open to Emporia State University students who are single parents with sole or joint custody of their dependent children. Applicants must demonstrate financial need by completing the FAFSA and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 while completing at least seven graduate credits during the fall semester of the scholarship year.

Award Amount: $2,000, renewable for up to four years

Apply for Scholarship

The Coplan-Donohue Single Parent Scholarship

This scholarship is open to full-time graduate Minnesota State University students in good standing who are single parents with primary custody of their children.

Award Amount: A one-time award of $1,000

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The Bruce and Marjorie Sundlun Scholarship

This award is open to low-income Rhode Island residents who are single parents enrolled in any college-level study program. Preference is given to those previously incarcerated or currently receiving state financial aid.

Award Amount: One time award of up to $1,500

Apply for Scholarship

Grants for Single Parents

Grants are one of the largest sources of financial aid in higher education for single parents. Here are some of the most common options:

There are also state-funded grants, grants specific to your school, and private grants.

Other Ways Single Parents Can Save on Education Costs

In addition to the many scholarships and grants available to single-parent students, there are many other resources to help offset the costs of getting a college education while caring for a family: