Student Loans for Single Moms

If you are planning to get back in career when you are a single mother then you can use these programs to get your loans. Learn more about grants, and scholarships. Explore options and choose the one which suits you.

Updated by Kirtika Acharya on 7th January 2020

When you are juggling with kids and you decide to enroll in school for studies it is already tough but it becomes tougher when you even face financial hardships. It becomes hard for you to pay the tuition fees for the school.  

In order to cover the high-rise in cost for tuition, one must try and explore the available grants, scholarship options available to them. After exhausting yourself at these options it is advised to explore other forms of financial aid. Student loans are a great option even for single mom/parent. Read on more to know why?

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Why choose student loans?

The student loan market is no longer exclusive for recently-graduated high schoolers hoping to become undergraduate college students. Non-traditional students have access to many of the same large-scale student assistance programs that other undergraduates rely on, as well as a stable of resources that specifically target returning students and single parents. Working adults and non-traditional Federal Programs college enrollees are best-served by multi-pronged approaches to landing student aid.

Offer the deepest pockets for student borrowers, so due diligence is required pursuing traditional college financing from the US Government.  For additional funding, students turn to state-based loans and private loans that are traditionally associated with college-aged 18-24-year-olds.  Unless a particular student aid program has precise age parameters, adult students and single parents are invited to apply. Use all the resources at your disposal to fund your education.

Federal student loans for adult learners

Federal student loans are widely tapped resources for college students of all ages. They are affordable, accessible and provide low-interest financing without credit checks.  Students enrolled in college at least half-time are eligible for federal loans, either through the Direct Federal Loan Program or the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Federal Direct Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized, are by far the most popular guaranteed loans for university students

Requesting federal financial aid starts with submitting a standardized form called the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance(FAFSA).  The application gathers data about your personal financial picture relating to college, and your and your family’s ability to meet expenses. Your school then uses information drawn from your FAFSA to determine what your on-campus funding needs are.  Blending your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with available student assistance programs, college financial aid offices craft individual packages of aid that address your particular college financing needs.

FAFSA requires students to file as dependent or independent applicants.  The good news for returning students and single parents is that independent status generally prevails, allowing them to qualify for higher levels of assistance than students whose parental income is included on the application.  And if you are worried about your credit history, Federal Direct Loans provide one of the friendliest no credit check borrowing options around.

 Private student loan for Non-traditional students

Federal loans don’t always cover expenses for single parents, so private lending alternatives should be explored.  Unfortunately, some applicants are excluded from the get-go based on credit requirements. Private lenders subject student borrowers to the same  formal credit checks faced by other adults borrowing money, so without solid credit, you’ll need to enlist the help of a student loan cosigner.

Private student loans are a double-edged proposition.  On one hand, they provide valuable resources that bridge the affordability gap that’s left when other aid doesn’t get the job done – but they do come with limitations. When student loans are used without discretion, student loan debt accumulates at a rate that exceeds some students’ ability to keep pace with repayment.  And some private loans feature high interest rates and rigid repayment terms.

Proper college budgeting and making prudent borrowing decisions are fundamental to meeting expenses without creating unmanageable student loan burdens for college graduates.

Eligibility requirements for single parent/moms

Most financial aid options specifically designed for single parents come in the form of grants and scholarships. Many of these organizations look for women who are the sole providers for their dependents. Other organizations provide assistance for low-income women, or they award merit-based scholarships to students who have excelled in a particular subject area. Common requirements for eligibility are having at least one dependent for whom you are the sole provider, acceptance to an accredited college or university, acceptable SAT or ACT scores, a GED or high school diploma, and, sometimes, an income below a specified amount.

Types of Single Parent Loan, Grants and Scholarships

  • Stafford Loan:The Stafford loan is not a representation of single-parent student loan programs, but single parents may want to look into this loan because it has low-interest rates and is federally subsidized based on income. A subsidized loan means that the lender covers the interest rates while the student is in school, so graduates do not end up paying more than the original loan amount.
  • Women's Opportunity Awards: This award is offered by Soroptimist, an international volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls through a single-parent student grant. They are given to women who are the primary providers for their dependents and are enrolled in an undergraduate or vocational academic program.
  • Jeannette Ranks Women's Scholarship Fund: This scholarship is designed for women who are trying to go back to school. To qualify, an applicant but be at least 35, have a low income, and be enrolled in a vocational, technical, associate, or bachelor's degree program.

Worried about your college tuition? Learn more about student loans

Repaying single parent loan

Repayment of loans designed for low-income or multiple-dependent recipients will often function the same way as any other school loan. Students typically have a grace period after graduation, usually up to 6 months, and then they must begin repayment. Students can choose a repayment plan that meets their needs, and they may also be allowed to apply for deferment plans if they are struggling financially during the repayment period. 

If a student is awarded a scholarship or grant, it will be applied to tuition costs by the financial aid department at the student's university.

Consolidate your loans

If you struggle with loan payments, there is a federally-backed program in place to get you back on track.  College students and graduates with more than one federal loan are eligible for consolidation plans that provide affordable payment alternatives.  Federal Direct Consolidation Loans allow students to extend loan repayment periods, in order to establish lower monthly payment structures. The plans enable college students and recent graduates to stay on pace with important credit-building student loan payments, rather than allowing them to default.  Private lenders also offer their own brands of consolidation.

Consolidation carries a price tag that doesn’t make sense for all students.  By extending the term of repayment, you are committing to costly interest contributions over the course of the loan.  Taking practical steps to head off student loan default; however, is sometimes the only prudent course to take. Once consolidated, your loans are repaid by submitting a single monthly payment.

Depending on the terms of your original loans, significant savings can be realized on your consolidation interest rate, but it goes the other way too:  Make sure that consolidating won’t impact important benefits that came with your original loans

Having trouble managing your debt? Learn how to refinance your student loans

Loan repayment terms

Under normal circumstances your loans are subject to user-friendly conditions designed with repayment cushions for graduates entering the workforce.  Deferments and grace periods are built-in, so students have a window in which to secure employment before repayment begins.

Direct Loans, formerly known as Stafford Loans, come with six-month grace periods following graduation. If your Direct Loan is subsidized, the Federal Government pays the interest during the grace period, after which your regular repayment schedule commences. Not the case with Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Instead, you begin paying the interest as soon as the loan is funded.

Find the right funding for college

If you’ve been wondering about how to pay for college, now you know that certain financial aid is at your disposal. And fortunately, you can find opportunities that are designed for single moms, such as single-mother grants for college.

Before resorting to student loans, don’t forget to apply for grants and scholarships. You might apply for first-generation student scholarships, for example, if you’re first in your family to seek a degree.

When applying for financial aid, find ways you can differentiate yourself on applications. After all, you’re more than a single mom. You’re a future college student, too.