President Obama’s Plea To Single Mothers
There really aren’t any federal grants for single mothers specifically. But there are grants any single mom who qualifies can get money for college and even day care expenses. The reason so many believe there are grants just for single mothers, probably comes from a speech given by President Obama. He mentioned that single mothers should go back to school and get their degrees. He knows that the 26 million single moms in this country don’t stand a chance in the future if they don’t do something now to better their situations.
When the President gave that speech a couple of years ago. Some began to suspect he was trying to hint at coming budget cuts that would impact anyone trying to attend college. But especially single mothers who often by default, are more likely than most to struggle financially. As mentioned previously, federal grants for single mothers don’t actually exist. But the federal money set aside for education does exist. But what was the President really trying to say? Unfortunately, that was an information he could not share publicly. But even now the President continues to stress the importance of getting a degree.
In January of 2012, a single mom named Jackie Bray from North Carolina. Got the chance to sit next to the First Lady Michelle Obama while the President delivered the State of The Union Address.
Why was this single mom so important?
She was important because she was an example of what the President has been encouraging all single mothers to do. Go back to school! Jackie Bray is a single mom who was laid off from her job. But she didn’t give up. She took the advice the President gave. She enrolled in a community college. Just like you, she went looking for federal grants for single mothers.
What she found was the Pell Grant. She used the grant to pay for her tuition. Because she listened to the President’s speech, she now has a full time job at one of the largest manufacturing companies in the country. Making around $23 an hour. Not bad at all for a single mom who before she went back to school wasn’t sure she’d be able to make it on her own.
Now in 2012, the ”hint” of changes given by Obama seems to be coming true in a big way. The federal grants for single mothers and anyone else, available to pay college tuition costs has been cut drastically. Now this doesn’t mean you can get an education grant. It means, thanks to Congress, there is less money to go around. Plus the income requirements have also changed. Making it more difficult for everyone to qualify. If you’re considering going back to school there are some facts you need to be aware of.
Pell Grant Changes – 2012
Awards for the Pell Grant program are for the most part the same as they were in 2011. Which is a maximum of $5,500. But because of other changes, the average awards are now lower than they were before.
Tougher Income Requirements
The previous income maximum was around $30,000. Meaning your total household income could not exceed this amount. This allowed a large percentage of those looking for federal grants for single mothers and everyone else to qualify for grant money.
But Congress lowered that amount in 2012 to $23,000 a year. You can imagine the number of single mothers and others who cannot not qualify now. That amount represents the most income you can have in your total household income. Millions are now no longer eligible and find themselves looking for other alternatives. Unfortunately, for most that may mean either applying for student loans or dropping out completely.
Even if you already have a Pell Grant based on the 2011 criteria. The new terms will impact you if you do not meet the criteria. If your income is above $23,000 your award will be discontinued.
“Ability To Benefit” Test 2012 Changes
Many single moms had to drop out of high school to take care of their child. With the ongoing day to day needs of a child, getting a job becomes more important than getting a high school ?diploma or GED. Plus most single moms are aware that they can enroll in almost any college or university by taking the ”ability to benefit” test. This test accomplishes two things.
One, it allowed an institution to see if the prospective student could benefit from taking college level course work. Based on their test scores.
Second, taking and passing this test is essential for those students who also were in need of financial aid to get their tuition.
The 2012 changes made by Congress has made a potentially devastating scenario for many. Now the ”ability to benefit” test is no longer accepted for federal grants for single mothers or any one else who needs help to pay for their education. Instead beginning July 1, 2012, you must have either a GED or high school diploma to apply for and receive federal education grants.
This change has caught everyone off guard. So if you’ll need grant money to attend school, you only have two choices.
1. You can enroll before the July 1, 2012 deadline and apply for your financial aid. But, even though you can still qualify for federal grants for single mothers. Since you have to reapply each year, if you still do not have your GED you will not be eligible for further assistance.
2. The other option is to go ahead and get your GED now.
It’s important to get things squared away as soon as possible. Since the Pell Grant program and other grants have been cut. This means that hundreds of thousands looking for federal grants for single mothers, will learn about these changes too. You can expect a huge increase in applicants.
Now that you know federal grants for single mothers are really grants for everyone. You can do what needs to be done to increase your chances of getting the financial help you need. The President has made it clear. Now is the time. Things are changing rapidly. Do what you need to do, to change your life for the better. He’s counting on you. Your child is counting on you too!
Single mothers looking for financial help for their college expenses may find federal grants for single mothers truly a blessing. First, grants are a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid. Second, it would be a way for them to finish college and eventually achieve financial freedom.
Federal Grants for Single Mothers that are Based on Needs:
1. Federal Pell – a need-based grant available to undergraduate students and single moms who wish to return to school. All federal grants for single mothers and most private grants require a federal Pell eligibility as a basis for qualification. Pell grant recipients may receive a financial aid package from $400 to $5,000. The actual amount that a single mom can get would depend on her family income, her status as a student (whether she’s a part or full-time student), and the total costs it would take for her to attend college.
2. FSEO Grant – like many federal grants for single mothers, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant is open to students demonstrating the most need for financial assistance. This is referred as “supplemental” because it is to be used to supplement other government grants that she may be receiving.
3. TEACH Grant – also known as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant program. It aims to provide financial assistance to single mothers who are interested in a teaching career. This grant may be a bit different from the other federal grants for single mothers because applicants should agree to serve and teach in an elementary or secondary school after graduation.
Federal Grants for Single Mothers that are Based on Merits:
1. National Smart (National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grant – is a program designed to provide federal student aid to 3rd and 4th year college students. These students should be enrolled full-time and taking up major courses in engineering, technology, the sciences, and mathematics.
2. Academic Competitiveness Grant or popularly called ACG – this is offered to first and second year students; also non-traditional students like single mothers. This program was conceived to support single moms who showed outstanding academic performance in high school; are currently pursuing major studies in high-need fields. High-need courses may include Bilingual and English Language acquisition, Reading, Special Education and other subjects considered high-need by the Department of Education.
1. Applicants of federal grants for single mothers must be citizens of the United States
2. They must be undergraduate students and show proof of financial need
3. Must comply with the required grade point average (GPA) and fulfill other necessary academic requirements
4. Must keep a satisfactory academic record once enrolled
5. Must obtain a valid Social security number (a requirement for FAFSA filing)
How To Apply for a Federal Grant
When applying for federal grants for single mothers, it is important to file applications as early as possible.
1. Fill out a FAFSA (Federal Student Aid) form.
1.1 Completion and submission of the FAFSA can be done online
1.2 Single mothers applying for grants may download a FAFSA form from the government website and submit at fafsa.gov
1.3 Ask for a paper application, fill in the necessary information, and send by mail
2. Make sure to spare some time to study the FAFSA. Get all required documents and information ready: Social security number, school records, driver’s license, and such.
3. Resolve to submit the FAFSA after January 1 and not later than June 30. Delayed and incomplete submission will only mean delayed help.
Nothing should be left to chance when taking advantage of federal grants for single mothers. It is the best chance for single moms to go back to school and earn a degree. They should remain focused on their search for grants, keeping in mind, always, that a college education may be the key that will unlock a better future for them and their children.