scholarships for mothers
For mothers interested in competing in the corporate world, going back to school is a viable option. Source: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP

Balancing work, family, and education is a challenge that many women face. With so many responsibilities on their plate, figuring out how to afford going back to school shouldn’t be another challenge. In 2020, over 60% of single mothers at university in the US were living at or below the federal poverty level. This is where scholarships for mothers are crucial.

Whether it’s a result of divorce, other changes in their life circumstances, or personal choice, many women find themselves becoming the sole or primary provider for their families. From 2000 to 2012, the number of single mothers enrolled in a bachelor’s degree programme skyrocketed from less than a million to more than two million, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Currently, 86% of single-parent families in the US are led by mothers.

In the midst of a global health crisis today, it can be tough for any adult to stay on top of bills, responsibilities, and personal goals. Single mothers have had a lot on their plates — far more than they already do.

Mothers are facing the brunt of childcare duties during the pandemic. They’ve reduced work hours or left the workforce altogether — in some cases, not by choice — to help their children with remote school learning or to address the logistics of sporadic daycare closures.

This is why it is no way uncommon for mothers to consider pursuing a degree, especially when it opens so many doors. Over 75% of the JFK Scholars are single mothers working towards degrees that will also benefit their children.

For independent mothers, getting an education can be the single most important factor determining future stability and financial security. The thought of going back to school full-time or part-time can be daunting for anyone. However, there are several scholarships for mothers that make the idea all the more welcoming. Here are some to consider:

Go, Girl! Grant

The recipients of Go Girl! Grants are real women with real dreams and goals and stories to tell. To date, the initiative has supported over 147 local women in California with over US$500,000 in grants as they pursue four-year degrees or occupational certifications. They must be at least 25 years of age, show financial need, and be passionate about a specific educational path that will lead them to a specific career.

The Ford Opportunity Programme

Hallie E. Ford, a founder of The Ford Family Foundation, established the Ford Opportunity Programme to assist single parents in obtaining a degree. Up to 50 renewable scholarships are awarded each year to students from Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. This award covers 90% of unmet college costs.

scholarships for mothers

There are many scholarships for mothers currently available, each designed to help them secure better futures for both themselves and their children. Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship

Offered by the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, this scholarship is open to women ages 35 or older. Since 1976, the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund has awarded more than three million in scholarships to more than 1,000 women. This scholarship has a direct effect on the lives of previous recipients, with over 87% of the foundation’s scholars completing their degrees.

The Custody X Change Giving Fund

Custody X Change, a software for creating and managing custody, awards three scholarships for mothers and fathers each year. This scholarship is open to single-parent students around the world. If you’re outside the US, you should have the equivalent of 3.0 GPA or higher on your university’s grading scale. The initiative was created specifically for those with primary or principal custody of one or more children.

P.E.O. Programme for Continuing Education (PCE)

The P.E.O. Programme for Continuing Education (PCE) intends to provide one-time need-based grants to women who are citizens or legal permanent residents of the US or Canada to complete a degree or certification that provides the skills leading to employment.