12 Scholarships for Single Moms Going Back to School

Desirae Harper

By Desirae Harper | Oct 21st, 2021

In January 2018, I decided that I didn’t have enough to do as a single mom and went back to school to pursue a Masters degree. I wish I could say I did it simply because I had the urge to further my education. However, the truth is, even with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology, my earning potential was not enough to support me and my daughter. Without a higher degree, I was only being considered for close to minimum wage jobs. If I ever wanted to have financial independence and finally move out of my mother’s house, I needed to make money moves like Cardi B…or like Oprah Winfrey (if she’s more your speed). So without hesitation, I signed up for a Masters program in healthcare administration…and the $20,000 in student loans I needed to complete the program. I am closing in on the finish line now but man, do I wish I could go back and do things a bit differently.

The first thing I would do differently? Research other ways to fund my education. I had no idea there are so many scholarships for single moms out there. Just do a simple Google search and you will find pages of information dedicated to helping single moms like me fund a portion of their education. Scholarships are granted typically for writing a meaningful essay on the assigned topic. They will usually have some requirements for eligibility but there are so many available that I am sure any single mama will be able to find one that suits her. For example, my friends at Worthy offer a scholarship for single moms over 30 looking to pursue a higher education. Scholarships like these can save us so much stress. I went from being close to $30,000 in debt to over $50,000 in debt after student loans. While I probably wouldn’t have been able to fund my entire degree with scholarships, getting $500 or $1000 (for free!) would have lessened the burden of paying it back later.

Scholarships for Single Moms

  1. Worthy Women’s Professional Studies Scholarship – Worthy is an online auction platform committed to helping women embrace their fresh start by selling their jewelry in a safe and transparent environment. Their scholarship is one of the ways the company helps divorced women and single moms fulfill their potential. Cash awards of $1,000, $1,500 and $2,500 will be provided to three women age 30 or over who have decided to go back to school to pursue their passion. The deadline for this year’s application is November 26th. Read about last year’s recipients here and learn more about the scholarship here.
  2. Bethel Foundation Grace Scholarship FundBethel Foundation Grace scholarships are awarded three times annually. This unique opportunity is designed specifically for single mothers with sole custody of children under the age of 18. Applicants must be enrolled in full- or part-time courses, and may not yet possess an undergraduate degree. Learn more about the Bethel Foundation Grace Scholarship Fund here.
  3. EFWA Scholarships – The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers several undergraduate scholarships for women who pursuing Accounting degrees. Other requirements vary, as do scholarship award amounts. Visit their website to learn more about these opportunities.
  4. Ann and Peter Ziegler Scholarship – If you are a single mom who is majoring in Liberal Arts and you have plans to transfer to a four-year institution, you may qualify for the Ann and Peter Ziegler Scholarship. This opportunity is specifically designed to assist women who have completed at least 12 credits within the Central New Mexico Community College system. Click here to learn more.
  5. Beatrice F. Kroesche Memorial Scholarship – The Beatrice F. Kroesche Memorial Scholarship benefits single moms who are enrolled in either the Department of English or the College of Education at the University of Utah. This scholarship is available to incoming freshmen as well as existing students. Learn more about this unique single women’s scholarship opportunity here.
  6. Bernice Murray Scholarship -If you are a resident of Vermont, you may be eligible for the Bernice Murray Scholarship, which is designated for single parents with demonstrated financial needs. This scholarship is unique in that it is meant to be used to cover child care expenses. More information is available here.
  7. Ford Opportunity Program – The Ford Opportunity Program is aimed at single parents who are residents of either the state of Oregon or Siskiyou County in California. The deadline is March 1st of each year, and the award is a generous one, covering up to 90 percent of unmet financial needs, not to exceed $25,000 annually. Visit their website to learn more about the qualifications and application process.
  8. Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund – The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund provides a number of scholarships for low-income women across the US. Applicants must be at least 35 years of age, and approximately 75% of awards go to single mothers. To learn more about the Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund, click here.
  9. Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships – The Society of Women Engineers offers scholarships for women who are preparing for careers in computer science, engineering, and engineering technology. There are awards for incoming freshmen as well as for upperclassmen. Several opportunities are available: In 2017, SWE awarded approximately 238 scholarships. To find out more about this offering, click here.
  10. WCR Women Chefs & Restaurateurs Scholarships – WCR Women Chefs & Restaurateurs provides a number of scholarship opportunities to women who are actively pursuing culinary arts degrees. Preference is given to those who demonstrate financial difficulty. To learn more about the numerous awards available, click here.
  11. Women in Aviation International – The deadline for the 2019 Women in Aviation International scholarship has passed; however, this organization helps women reach aviation and aerospace career goals annually. Click here to learn more about upcoming scholarship opportunities.
  12. Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship – Up to 32 women receive Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarships annually. Eligible applicants must be pursuing accredited business or business-related programs. To learn more about the scholarship’s application requirements, click here.

More Tips For Single Moms Going Back to School

The second change I would make to this journey: being realistic with myself about how much free time I have. Why did I think taking on a full-time course load in the middle of the most emotional time in my life was smart? Recovering from a heartbreak and trying to walk your toddler through a heartbreak of her own requires a significant amount of time. I had to realize how much my daughter needed me to not only physically be there but how much she needed me present. I taught her how to vocalize her need for care and attention because I’m human. Sometimes, I get caught up in my stuff that I don’t always pick up on hers. She will straight up tell me “Mom, I need attention.” I will stop what I am doing, no questions asked, and I spend real time with her. Some might think that’s outrageous but look at the number of broken adults out there who needed more love than they received…is it really so outrageous? I made the decision to go down to part-time course loads. It took me longer than it should have but I am so much more happy and at peace because of it.

The last thing I think would have made this journey more smooth? Understanding and accepting that who I am at 31 is not who I was at 20. I have always been a star student. I took my education very seriously from a very early age. I was in the local newspaper in elementary school for my bomb ass testing scores so we don’t do anything less than A work over here…and that’s the mindset I went into graduate school with. The problem with that is, I was a top-notch student when I didn’t have a child or bills or a full-time job. I had time for extra credit and focusing on nothing but school. That’s not my life anymore. My attention and time are divided between a million things every day. If I had accepted that earlier this year, I probably would not have been so hard on myself for turning in late assignments or not being able to bang out a paper in under an hour. It literally takes me longer to complete a sentence on paper. Having frequent conversations with a four-year-old turns you into a Baby Shark singing pro but it doesn’t do much to boost your essay writing skills. I had to accept that I am a single mom trying to juggle and get it all done on my own..it’s okay that it’s not all perfect. It’s okay that I’m not perfect.

Desirae Harper

Desirae Harper

Desirae Harper is a blogger from Southern California focusing on topics from her life as a single mom, celebrity gossip, and her own personal fitness journey.


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