Finding out how to afford college can be a very tricky thing. As a single mother, you’ve probably tried to put away a small percentage of each paycheck while still putting food on the table and paying all of your other bills. Doing so however, can be a great challenge, especially when you need to maintain a savings account for emergencies, birthdays and holidays. Student loans for single mothers are becoming a mainstream financial savior of sorts for those who’ve always dreamed of hitting the books again. Most loans for mothers can also be deferred until after you graduate, allowing you to concentrate on your studies and not on your bank account.
Types of Student Loans and Grants for Single Moms Now Available
Student loans and grants are currently being offered by the federal government, private corporations and wealthy individuals.
Applying for grants is the best way for single moms to pay for college. Grants, whether offered by the government or in scholarship form by a corporation, will help offset college costs without having to worry about paying off future debt. There are a variety of scholarships and grants that single moms can utilize:
- Association for Women in Mathematics – This scholarship is awarded to single moms with outstanding achievement in mathematics and who plan on attending college as math majors.
- Patsy Takemoto Foundation – This organization helps single moms pay for college by offering scholarships to cover tuition, books and related everyday living expenses.
- FAFSA Grants – FAFSA is the most common way to obtain money for college. Single moms can apply online and learn how much they’ll receive in grants within a matter of minutes.
What Documents to Single Mothers Need to Apply for Financial Aid?
The abundance of college loans for single mothers makes it easier to apply for multiple sources at one time. This cuts down on paperwork needed for the application and the number of times single moms have to dig up income and benefit paperwork.
The following documents will likely be needed to apply for both federal aid and private bank education loans:
- The student’s income information.
- Any type of identification, including passports and driver’s licenses.
- Current bank statements.
- W2s and income tax returns.
- Other any records or documents that might affect the financial or family status of the single mother.
The following documents might be needed to apply for scholarships that are offered private organizations or individuals:
- School related information, including name of high schools and any colleges attended, and overall GPA on record.
- An essay might be required depending on the scholarship that is applied for by the single mother.
- Basic information about the actual individual who is applying for the scholarship.
- A brief statement about what the applicant plans to do in the future and what their college plans are.
Maximizing College Loans for Mothers and Scholarships
While many college-bound individuals apply for either scholarships or single mom student loans, the best way to maximize a student’s personal contribution is to apply for both at the same time.
The FAFSA system is by the far the most comprehensive resource for college loans. Not only are there a variety of federal loans available online through the federal government’s website, but single mothers can apply for several grants with the same application.
In many cases, student loans might not cover enough college expenses. Those who apply for college loans for single mothers decide that they want to minimize the amount of debt that must be repaid after they graduate. In cases like these, the student loan amount taken out by single mothers should only cover a small portion of the total debt incurred while going to college. If possible, scholarships should be maximized first before the application process for single mom student loans has been initiated.
Choosing which Loan is best for Single Mothers
When including both private bank student loans and public student loans issued by the government, one can be overwhelmed with choices. This is why it is essential for single mothers to compare costs, repayment periods and other loan terms before signing on the dotted line.
Some of the biggest factors that will determine the loan that you choose as single mother should be:
- Percentage rate charged to the applicant.
- Actual amount of the loan that the applicant is approved for.
- When the loan will be due for repayment.
- Whether or not the loan is deferred until after the applicant graduates from college.
- Late payment terms and additional fees.
In most cases, the major differences will be the percentage rate and the actual amount of the loan. Single mothers should choose a student loan that offers them the lowest rate possible while maximizing the loan amount that will be issued by the bank.
Choosing which loan is best and applying for other forms of financial aid such as scholarships and grants will take up a significant amount of time. Single mothers who plan on going back to college should focus on completing one application a week to minimize stress and should always have copies of paperwork on hand for future use.
Single mothers should also never take out loans that have extremely high interest rates our outrageous repayment terms. Major banks issue loans that meet specific government guidelines however, predatory banks have been known to approach single mothers in an attempt to offer them loans with scrupulous terms.