Grants for Single Mothers
What are Grants for Single Mothers?
Grants for single mothers provide monetary awards for specific purposes, not general financial support. Grants are not the same as benefits like food stamps or welfare. Grants are awards offered to cover the expenses of a particular activity such as getting an education. Many government grant programs do not focus on individuals. They award money to organizations that help people in need, such as single mothers. However, some grant programs do provide funding for individuals to pursue specific activities. You can qualify for some grants quite easily, while others take work.
As stated before, grants do not take the place of benefit programs. Benefit programs offer funds to go towards living expenses, food, and medical care. They are there to help single mothers keep a roof over the family's head, put basic food on the table, and get decent medical care. Grant programs are completely different. Instead of providing a monthly stipend like a benefits program, grants for single mothers offer a single monetary award designated for a very specific purpose. The purpose focuses on making a difference in the public arena. For example, the annual educational grant allows an individual to improve their education and career prospects. That is good for both the individual and the society.
Educational grants are often the most commonly available grants for single mothers. These grants usually come based on financial need. The Pell Grant is the basic grant available to low income individuals. The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant is available for those with exceptionally low income. There are other grants available for those that combine financial need with academic achievement. Those include the National SMART Grant and the Academic Competitiveness Grant. These grants are available to anyone with the financial qualifications.
Housing grants are not as available as educational grants for single mothers. In fact, most housing grants go to non-profit and public housing agencies, instead of directly to individuals. The best options for single mothers requiring housing assistance is to visit one of these non-profits organizations and see how they can help. For those that need help immediately, contacting local public agencies is likely the most effective method to find out eligibility for public housing assistance.
Who can apply? Eligibility Requirements
The government awards most educational grants for single mothers on the basis of financial need. For education awards, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application provides a full financial picture to the government as well as the school in which you enroll. Financial guidelines for these grants depend on the amount of income the woman has, the tuition the school charges, and if there are any other legal considerations in the mix. If the Department of Education, using certain guidelines, determines you meet financial guidelines, you will get a financial aid package award. The financial guidelines are complicated due to the factors of income, dependents, tuition, and assets.
Financial need is the sole basis for the Pell Grant and the FSEOG. The Pell Grant is the most common educational grants for single mothers. It provides the doorway to other financial needs based grants. If the woman meets the financial criteria for the Pell, the award amount can be up to $5,000. For the FSEOG, the income level requirements are even lower. That grant goes to helping those with the lowest incomes. There are grant programs that tie economic need into academic performance. The Academic Competitiveness Grant is for first and second year students who maintain a certain grade point average. The National SMART Grant awards those students in the upper levels of undergraduate work who major in science, math, or technology.
Some academic grants for single mothers are not needs based. The TEACH Grant offers students interested in teaching at the primary and secondary levels with funds if they agree to work four years teaching at an at-risk school. This grant money comes in exchange for a written agreement. Another grant program that is not needs based is the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. This grant is open to students who lost a parent or guardian in either Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. For young single mothers who lost a parent, this is a good option.
How to apply for Grants for Single Mothers?
The first step to apply for any academic grants for single mothers is to fill out the FAFSA. This goes for both needs based and non-financial grants for educational purposes. Students can find the FAFSA online or through their college financial aid office. The FAFSA asks for information on income, dependents, assets, and other data critical for determining eligibility. Based on your financial situation, the school can give you a financial aid package that will include the grants for which you are eligible. These grants will need to go towards your education first. If any money is remaining, the school can provide those funds to you for living expenses, etc. However, in many cases, grants cover only academic costs.
For those interested in the TEACH Grant, the first step is still to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. While the grant is not needs based, the program requires some of the information the FAFSA gathers. The student needs to notify the financial aid office of the interest in the grant program. At that point, the financial aid office can setup the grant, if available, and provide the appropriate paperwork to the student. Once the student signs the agreement, the office can then release the funding towards the student's academic costs.
Most grants for single mothers focus on improving the educational opportunities available to them. The focus is on giving them the opportunity to get a better education and make a better life for them and their children. If you need help with basic living expenses, find out which benefits programs are available to help. Once the living situation is stable, then explore the educational grants available to help elevate your education.
Please visit the following websites for more information:
Grant Application Guides and Resources
It is always free to apply for government grants. However the process may be very complex depending on the funding opportunity you are applying for. Below are some of the published guides that have been helpful to past recipients: