Education Grants for Single Mothers and Fathers

Going back to school is within reach

Students studying in classroom

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Do you ever wonder whether ads promoting "free grants for single mothers” are authentic? Unfortunately, many of the promotions for single mother grants or single parent grants are not genuine, cost-free grant programs. Some of them lead to lists of financial aid programs that you can purchase, and others are simply scams aimed at taking money from those who most need the assistance.

Key Takeaways

  • There are legitimate educational grant opportunities for single parents, but be wary of scams or websites that charge a fee for lists of grants or scholarships.
  • The Federal Pell Grant program is a good place to start looking for education grants, whether or not you're a single parent.
  • Repaying a student loan with an income-driven repayment plan is another option to put college within reach for single parents if grants aren't an option.

However, there are some authentic programs offering grants for single mothers and fathers, including those listed below. There are also merit-based educational grants for single parents and programs to help repay borrowed funds.


The programs covered here are only for grants, which are typically awarded based on financial need. You should also apply for any scholarships for which you might qualify, as those are often awarded based on academic performance independent of financial need. A good place to start is the Education Department's brief list of major grant programs (several detailed below).

The Federal Pell Grant Program

The Federal Pell Grant program is not limited only to single mothers, but it is often touted as a “single mother grant,” because government Pell Grants have helped many single mothers—and fathers—to go back to school and increase their income potential. Federal Pell Grants are offered primarily to undergraduate students and are based on the applicant’s financial need. The first step in applying for a Federal Pell Grant is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which you can do online through the FAFSA website.

The maximum Pell Grant amount for the 2022–23 school year is $6,895.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant programs are run by individual states and operate much like the Federal Pell Grant. They are generally awarded to students who demonstrate the most need based on their FAFSA application.

If your financial needs are high enough to qualify, you can receive between $100 and $4,000 per academic year.

State Grants for Single Parents

Many states also offer their own education grants, which single mothers and fathers can take advantage of. These grants are designed to encourage students to seek higher education. Like the Federal Pell Grant program, state grants are not limited to single mothers or single parents. However, some state programs, such as California’s Cal Grant, take each applicant’s family status into consideration, with the greatest aid going to disadvantaged and low-income families.


To determine whether your state offers grant programs for students, and the details about applying, visit your state’s financial aid website.

Loan Repayment Grants for Single Parents

Although there aren't specific loan repayment programs for single mothers and fathers, there are a number of options for loan repayment assistance based on career field or public service. The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, for instance, offers repayment assistance for those employed in government or nonprofit sectors who have made 120 payments on their federal loans while working for a qualifying employer.

There are also income-driven repayment plans through which you can adjust your monthly payment based on your income, and eventually have your loan balance forgiven. Some forms of forgiven student loan debt are considered taxable income but have been made tax-free through the end of 2025 due to a provision in the American Rescue Plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of grants are available for single parents?

The Federal government offers several education grants, and although none are specific to single parents, they can help defray the cost of college. To find other grants (and scholarships), check with your state's financial aid department (if it has one), and your college or university financial aid office.

Where can I find education grants?

Two resources to begin a search for education grants and scholarships are the Labor Department's website CareerOneStop and The College Board's scholarship search page. Both can tailor results to your particular situation, helping you sort through thousands of available grants and scholarships.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Federal Student Aid. "Federal Pell Grants Are Usually Awarded Only to Undergraduate Students."

  2. Federal Student Aid. "FSEOG (Grants)."

  3. California Student Aid Commission. "Cal Grant Programs."

  4. Federal Student Aid. "Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)."

  5. Federal Student Aid. "Income-Driven Repayment Plans."

  6. "H.R. 1319," Pages 182-183.

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