With the average cost of a private, four-year college is well over $20,0001 per academic year, few students are able to foot the bill for a college education. Let alone single mothers who are struggling to ‘make ends meet’.

If it weren’t for financial aid, it is nearly impossible for these women to go back to school, re-enter the workforce and provide a better living for their family.

To help single moms pay for their education expenses, financial aid is available in the form of college grants for single mothers.

College grants are awarded to eligible students on the basis of financial hardship which do not require any repayment, making it more attractive than a loan.

One of the most popular college grants for students is the Pell Grant – special federal fund for low-income (disadvantaged) students to attend college.

The Federal Pell Grant

If you are one of the most financially strapped single mothers, you may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. The amount of grant money2 you can receive through a Pell Grant is determined by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the lower your EPC the more financial aid you’ll be awarded.

To apply for this grant, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov as early as January 1. Read more

Federal Supplementary Education Opportunity Grant

The FSEOG is a federal college grant that is awarded to students with “the absolute highest levels of need” – those with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFC). Priority is given to single moms who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients.

Eligible single mothers can receive awards between $100 and $4000 per year depending on the gravity of their financial need. To apply you must file a FAFSA. Read more


TEACH Grant is a unique program that provides up to $4,000 per year in grants for single mothers who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four academic years at schools classified as serving low-income students.

However, unlike other grant programs, if you do not fulfill the 4-year teaching obligation, your TEACH Grant will be permanently converted to a loan with interest.

State Student Incentive Grant

State Student Incentive Grants (SSIG) are awarded by individual state governments to residents who demonstrate substantial financial need to attend postsecondary schools.

The SSIG is given on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who have qualified for Pell Grant and, by law, to state residents. The maximum award that a student may receive is $5,000 per academic year.3

Academic Competitiveness Grant

Update: As of July 1, 2011 the ACG has been terminated and is no longer available as of the 2011-2012 Award Year due to government budget cuts.

The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), is yet another type of ‘free money for college‘ that is given on an annual basis for first and second year undergraduate students who may have excelled academically.

If you’re already a Pell Grant recipient, you may also apply for ACG award which can be anything between $750 for the 1st year study and up to $1300 the year after.

In addition to federal educational grants, school grants for single mothers may also be available through their state government; each with its own set of eligibility requirements, application processes and award amounts.

However, keep in mind that these college grants (both federal and state) are limited and awarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. In these economic times, it’s critical to apply early way before the datelines.

If you are ineligible for free college grants, federal student loans are available to help pay your college education which often have lower interest rates & better repayment plans than most private loans.


  1. What It Costs to Go to College []
  2. The maximum Pell grant for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012) is $5,550 []
  3. Source: http://www.ed.gov []