Is Tuition Assistance Available for Single Parents Earning a College Degree Online?

For single parents who are considering going back to school but who are also afraid that they won’t be able to afford it, there’s good news: tuition assistance is available for online degree programs. Single parents often place their children as their first priority, which means they spend the majority of their time playing with them, running errands, and working long hours to provide for their family. Shouldering these responsibilities with little income means that attending college probably feels like an impossible feat. However, there are several types of financial assistance that single parents may use in order to earn an online degree and secure a financial future for themselves and their families.

Grants and Scholarships

Although single parents usually get some type of government financial assistance to cover the cost of their online degree, private grants and scholarships can help, too. Many private foundations offer merit- or need-based scholarships to target a diverse population of students, including those specifically designed for single parents. However, keep in mind that some scholarship providers are hesitant about online education as they still perceive online education as a lower-quality education, but others are open to online learners. Single parent students should research beforehand to determine whether they are eligible for certain scholarships if they are pursuing an online degree.

Remember that you should rely on more than just your status as a single parent. Expand your search and look for scholarships that are related to your religion, ethnicity, hobbies, career interests, field of study, and more. Is there something unique about you? There could be a scholarship program that fits your situation. Also, if you are currently employed part-time or full-time, take the time to check for tuition reimbursement programs that companies offer employees for the purpose of professional development.

State and Federal Government Financial Aid

The Pell Grant is a need-based grant available to all students who meet specific income guidelines set forth by the federal government. Often considered to be the “main weapon” in helping increase access to college education, the Pell Grant often provides more money to single parents than traditional college students, mainly because the amount of financial aid awarded is calculated based on need. The number of dependents you have, including children, weighs heavily in the approval equation. As with other types of state and federal aid, single parents pursuing an online degree must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, parents may search for state-level grants that offer free financial assistance to single parents and low-income students. In particular, students living in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, and Arkansas may be eligible to receive special help in order to attend a public state school.

Although finding the monetary resources, energy, and time to pursue a college degree may seem out of reach for single parents, they should not be held back from pursuing their dream careers. Although some programs do not recognize online learning as a valid way of earning a degree, other providers are more than happy to offer financial aid for distance education students. Thankfully, these types of tuition assistance programs can help to drastically reduce the financial burden for single parents, and with a college degree in hand, you will benefit from greater job security, more job opportunities, and higher earning potential in order to provide a more secure life for your family.

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