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Are there scholarships parents can apply for?

Published March 20, 2024| minute read
Hadiya Iqbal

Senior Associate, JPMorgan Chase

    Attending college and paying for your education is a commitment. Paying for your education as a parent can be even more challenging given that you have other responsibilities to take care of.

    The good thing is that regardless of your circumstances, chances are there is a scholarship you can apply for that could help you continue your education.

    Scholarships for student parents

    Schools and foundations offer parents scholarships and grants to help them access financial assistance they don’t have to pay back. A scholarship for parents can help with the cost of schooling and can lower the potential amount they need to take out in loans for school.

    An online search will lead you to many scholarships for parents. You may also want to check in with your school’s financial aid office to see if there are any specific scholarships they offer. When you find options that seem like a fit, read through all the qualifying information to make sure you're eligible.

    Like finding scholarships online, you can do the same with grants. For example, there might be grants available specifically for working parents or single moms.

    Remember, there is no limit to the number of scholarships and grants you can apply for.

    A few notable scholarships that you can apply for as a parent going to school

    Many scholarships are designed to support parents going to college (or obtaining another advanced degree), including some specifically for single moms. They include:

    • Osher Reentry Scholarships, from The Bernard Osher Foundation, are designed for students with a gap in their education of five or more years (for reasons that include raising children). Of note, students apply for the Osher Reentry Scholarship through their school, not the foundation, so students must first check if their school offers this opportunity before applying.
    • The Ford Opportunity Scholars Program, offered by The Ford Family Foundation, was created to help single parents obtain a college degree. Over the years, however, the eligibility criteria has expanded to include all parents of any age. Nearly 100 scholarships are awarded each year, covering 90 percent of unmet college costs after financial aid. There are geographic limitations to the scholarship. It's only open to residents of Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.
    • The Patsy Mink Foundation Education Support Award was created to assist low-income women with minor children pursuing a postsecondary education. The scholarship provides up to $5,000 to recipients.
    • The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA) provides scholarships for women pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in accounting, with preference given to parents and those in need.

    Applying for financial aid as a parent

    Private institutions, the federal and state governments, and schools themselves offer financial aid. The first step to becoming eligible for most forms of financial aid is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), which will be used to determine your your Student Aid Index (SAR).

    As a parent, you'll include information about the number of dependents you have (the number of children you support) on your FAFSA®, which could impact how much financial aid you receive.

    This is one notable difference when it comes to securing financial aid as a parent of dependent children.

    Final thoughts

    The more financial aid you can get, the better. If you're a parent thinking about going to school but are worried about funding it, know that your school and many organizations offer support in the form of scholarships, which can help you tremendously if you're eligible.