Home > The 20 Best Colleges for Single Parents

The 20 Best Colleges for Single Parents

For many single parents, earning a college degree may seem like an insurmountable feat. Over a quarter of all undergraduate students in the U.S. are raising children while attending college; single mothers make up 43% of the student-parent population, while single fathers comprise 11%. Tuition can be expensive for any student, but for single parents, additional costs like child care and living expenses also factor into the price of higher education. But without a degree, single parents may struggle to find a fulfilling career that can support a family.

Fortunately, many schools have created programs that bring college help for single mothers by offering benefits like year-round family housing, child care, and academic support. Financial support is also crucial for single parents in college, which is why a growing number of grants and scholarships, vocational programs, and debt-reduction programs exist for low-income single parents to invest in their education. These 20 colleges have been especially accommodating in welcoming single parent families to campus.

Paying for College as a Single Parent

While paying for college can be challenging, there are a variety of college programs for single mothers, including financial aid options to help offset the costs of earning a degree. Single parents pursuing higher education are often faced with a greater need for financial aid than traditional students, with childcare, housing, and additional living expenses factoring into their school considerations. Grants, or gifted awards that do not have to be repaid, are available through federal, state, and private funding and are especially sought-after by single parents. They can also help to reduce student debt and minimize the necessity for risky student loans overall.

As a single parent, you may be eligible for a number of different types of specialized financial aid. Depending on your individual circumstances and the types of aid available through your school of choice, awards can range from a small stipend to a full scholarship. The terms and conditions of the award may also change from year to year. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer one dedicated single-parent scholarship, while others offer numerous aid opportunities with more general eligibility requirements that simply include single parents among all non-traditional student types. The following are just some of the many grants and scholarships available to single parents:

  • Capture the Dream Scholarship: This scholarship, specifically for minorities and single parents, is awarded to low-income Bay Area residents who are single parents enrolled in a two- or four-year college program. The deadline is June 30 for this $1,000 award.
  • Kentucky Colonel’s Better Life Scholarship: Each year, at least one single-parent student at each of the 16 districts under Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College is awarded $2,500 to assist them in completing an associate degree through full-time study. The deadline for this scholarship is March 1.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: This federal grant is awarded to undergraduate students of low-income status with “exceptional need, ” or the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients. Deadlines vary; awards range from $100-$4,000 per year.
  • BYU Marriott School Single Parent Scholarship: BYU’s Marriott business school awards this scholarship to current students who are single mothers and fathers with custody of dependent children. The deadline is March 1 for this scholarship, in varying amounts.
  • Park Foundation Scholarship: New York’s Tompkins Cortland Community College awards the Park Scholarship to one single male and one single female full-time student each year; each must be head of their respective households with dependent children. The deadline varies for this $2,000 award.
College Finder