Scholarships for Single Mothers

Updated October 8, 2017

With little finances at their disposal, single mothers need assistance if they are to pay for school. That is why FREE scholarships are available for “moms returning to school”.



Being a single mother often requires putting your education on hold in order to focus on your child.

In many cases, trying to balance work and raising a child makes motherhood a real challenge, let alone having the time and money to complete higher education.

With little finances at their disposal, single parents need assistance if they are to pay for school.

That is why various FREE scholarships are available for “moms returning to school” either through federal, state, non-profit, and campus-based programs.

While the majority of scholarships are awarded only to deserving students based on merit, talent, major, ethnicity, etc., they do not discriminate against single parents, meaning any eligible single mothers, working mothers, and women in general may also apply.

Given below is a list of scholarship opportunities available for “non-traditional” students, including single mothers who wish to further their education.

We do our best to keep the scholarship information current and correct. However, donors may change this information at any time without notice.

1 Helping Hands for Single Moms

Helping Hands for Single Moms is a community-based non-profit organization offering unrestricted scholarships of up to $270 each month to help impoverished single mothers who lives in the Phoenix-Metro area pursue college degree and achieve financial independence.

Applicants must be a single mother with a child younger than 11, attend college, take a minimum of nine credit hours a semester, maintain at least a 2.5 grade-point average and participate in monthly single-moms network meetings.

2 Coplan Donohue Single Parent Scholarship

Coplan Donohue Single Parent Scholarship is awarded to non-traditional/single-parent students attending Minnesota State University — up to $1,000.

Application Deadline: March 3, 2017

3 Capture the Dream Inc – Single Parent Scholarship

The Single Parent Scholarship is open to low income single parents in San Francisco Bay Area. Applicants who are enrolled at a 2-or 4-year institution are eligible to apply for this $1,000 scholarship.

Applicants are required to submit an application form along with a 1000-word essay reasoning why they should be selected as a recipient of our Single Parent Scholarship.

Application Deadline: July 31, 2017

4 The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation

The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation offers scholarships to select young people who generally have zero chance when it comes to college scholarships. About two thirds of SCSF recipients come from single parent families.

Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.0 and must submit their online application to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation before the deadline. Late application will not be entertained.

Application Deadline: April 30th

5 The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship

The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship is a scholarship program for single parents who reside in Arkansas. Through this scholarship, single mothers are able to complete their post-secondary education & improve their income-earning potential.

The award may be used for tuition, books, utility bills, car maintenance, childcare, or any other financial need that contributes to the recipients’ success in school.

Application deadlines vary by county.

6 Women’s Independence Scholarship Program

The primary aim the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) is to help single mothers with young children who have the greatest financial challenges to gain work skills so they become financially independent and be able to support their families.

Priority is given to those who are survivors of partner abuse and demonstrate a critical need for financial assistance. There is no deadline for applications, however, it may take about two months to review new applications.

7 Heroes Fund for Single Parents Scholarship

This scholarship is for single custodial parents with dependent children, who have demonstrated financial need not met by traditional forms of financial assistance.

Awards ranging between $250 to $1,500 will be given to 5 eligible students. Preference is given to female returning students who have a FAFSA on file in the Financial Aid office.

8 Ken and Mary Smith Single Parent Scholarship

The Ken and Mary Smith Single Parent Scholarship is awarded to University of Wisconsin Eau Claire single-parent students with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and demonstrable financial need.

The scholarship provides one award of $2,000 and can be renewed four times by the same student, for a maximum of five total years. Screening of candidates will begin in April.

9 The Gump & Ayers Scholarship Fund

The Gump & Ayers Scholarship Fund (GASF) provides a one time scholarship to a single mother pursuing a higher education. Recipient of GASF must be a Utah resident.

Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of financial need, current scholastic achievement, potential for success and personal integrity.

For additional information, contact the committee chair listed below.

Carol Scott
Gump & Ayers Scholarship Committee
144 E State Street
Sandy, UT 84070

Application must be sent or delivered to the GASF Committee and must be postmarked no later than February 1 dateline. Late application will not be considered.

10 James E. “Pete” Petersen Scholarship

Established in 1985 to honor former Westminster College President James E. “Pete” Petersen, this scholarship is open to non-traditional female students at Westminster College in Utah.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to be eligible for this award. Preference will be given to single parents with “exceptional” financial need.

11 Agnes Drexler Kujawa Memorial Scholarship

Agnes Drexler Kujawa Memorial Scholarship provides annual scholarships of up to $1,000 to single mothers trying to obtain a college degree to improve their lives and the lives of their children.

Applicant must be enrolled for at least six undergraduate credits or three graduate credits per semester, at the time the award is disbursed.

Application Deadline: October 29, 2017

12 Deblinger Family Scholarship

The Deblinger Family Scholarship Fund was established to help low-income, single mothers who are the “Head of Household” to return to college.

It is available to residents of Alameda County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County, and San Mateo County but preference will be given to residents of Oakland, San Jose, Watsonville and East Palo Alto.

Up to $10,000 will be awarded to successful applicant who demonstrates academic promise, goal orientation, and commitment to completing degree program.

Application Deadline: May 24, 2017

13 Emerge Scholarships, Inc.

Each year Emerge Scholarships, Inc awards women — those who are returning to school after a hiatus, and single mothers re-entering the work place — between $2,000 and $5,000 in academic scholarships.

Any women at least 25 years of age with financial need is encouraged to apply but preference is given to those who are pursuing their education in the state of Georgia.

14 Helen M. Clymer Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Helen M. Clymer to award scholarships annually to single mothers from Berks County who seek post-secondary education at a college or university located in Berks County.

To be considered for this scholarship, application must be submitted online between January 15th and April 1st along with a written essay and a recommendation letter.

Application Deadline: March 16, 2017

15Kentucky Colonels Better Life Scholarship

This scholarship is open to Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College students who are residents of Kentucky. Applicants must be single working parents with at least one child under the age of 12.

Selected applicant will receive a $2500 scholarship to cover tuition, books, and other educational expenses, renewable for the second year provided the student remains enrolled full time and meets satisfactory academic progress.

16 Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards

Founded in in 1921, the Soroptimist “Live Your Dream Awards” provide scholarships to women who demonstrate financial need and are the primary income-earner for their family.

The Live Your Dream Awards involves three levels of cash awards.

The program begins at the local Soroptimist club-level, where award amounts vary. Local-level award recipients become eligible for region-level awards of either $3,000 or $5,000. Region-level award recipients then become eligible to receive one of three international-level awards of $10,000.

Application Deadline: November 15th

17 The Ford Opportunity Program

The Ford Opportunity Program provides scholarships to residents of Oregon or Siskiyou County, California. This program is designed specifically for “head of household” single parents pursuing their bachelor’s degrees.

The scholarship award covers 90 percent — up to a maximum of $25,000 annually — of the college costs not covered by other sources. It can be renewed each year for up to four years.

Each applicant must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and not exceed the Expected Family Contribution limit, as established by the Foundation.

Application Deadline: March 1st

18 Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Scholarship

This private scholarship of up to $5,000 per academic year is offered to low-income women with children by the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation.

Applicants must be at least 17 years old and demonstrate financial need. Priority is given to single mothers with minor children who are pursuing education or training.

19 Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund offers scholarships and support for low income women, ages 35 and older, without discrimination.

Recipients come from diverse backgrounds but all have the goal of furthering their education to create a better life for themselves and their children.

Application for scholarship will open in November 2017!

20 Peggy Jack Baskin Foundation Scholarship

The scholarship program, launched in 2008 by Peggy & Jack Baskin, provides a two-year, $20,000 grant to support bright, underprivileged women who are currently attending any of the area community colleges — Cabrillo, Hartnell or Monterey Peninsula.

Students must use all scholarship funds within two years of community college graduation and must maintain full-time enrollment and good academic standing, or a minimum 2.0 term GPA.

Application Deadline: March 15th

21 The Jackie Robinson Foundation

JRF awards four–year scholarships of up to $7,500 per year to minority high school students who plan on attending a four-year college. Single mothers who exhibit evidence of financial need may apply for this scholarship.

Applicants are personally interviewed and funds are awarded based on academics, leadership potential, and financial need.

Application Open:
November 1, 2017

Application Deadline:
February 15, 2018

22 P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education

Program for Continuing Education (PCE) was established to provide need-based grants of up to $3000 to women who demonstrate a need for financial assistance to return to school to support themselves and their families.

This free money is intended for expenses such as tuition, books, transportation, or childcare, and is not meant to be used for living expenses or to repay educational loans.

23 Kaplan University’s Single-Parent Scholarship

The Kaplan University Single-Parent Scholarship is a $500 per-term tuition reduction, with a maximum value of $8,500 for a bachelor’s degree or $4,500 for an associate’s degree.

Applicants are required to attest to single parent status at the time of application for the scholarship via FAFSA as an independent student who is either never married, divorced/separated, or widowed.

This scholarship is currently not available.

24 Oakland University Critical Difference Scholarship

Sponsored by the Women of Oakland University, this scholarship is open to single parents who are enrolled in an undergraduate OU program and earned at least 16 credit hours.

The amount of the award can vary from year to year, based on funding availability and it’s not renewable. Recipients of this scholarship are required to reapply for consideration in succeeding years.

25 Esther Dutton Kates Fellowship

The Esther Dutton Kates Fellowship is awarded annually to single mothers in Westchester County in need of financial assistance to attend Westchester Community College in any field of study. The award amount ranges from $2,000 to $3,000 for each year.

Application Deadline: September 15, 2017

26 Naomi Scholarship

The Naomi Scholarship is available to single parents or students from single parent families who plan to attend Calvin College. The current award amount is $1,450.

This scholarship is automatically renewable with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher, and if the recipient demonstrates Christian character and financial need.

Application Deadline: January 02, 2017

27 Downer-Bennett Scholarship

The Downer-Bennett Scholarship is available to undergraduate students who are single parents studying at the University of New Mexico. Award amounts vary each year, subject to availability of funds.

There is no application for this scholarship. Each year the scholarship committee reviews qualified applicants based on financial need, academic merit, and other relevant criteria.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

If you’re interested in any of these scholarships, you should first familiarize yourself with the prerequisites & requirements. In most cases, you’re required to write an essay on a given topic which can either make or break your chances of winning a scholarship.

Keep in mind that scholarships are gifted on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. With many applicants vying for the same, it’s critical to apply early way before the datelines.

Even if you are ineligible for scholarships, you may receive financial aid in the form of federal student loans with lower interest rates & better repayment schemes than most private loans.