Heading back to college as an adult is never easy. Many of us have families, jobs and other demands on our time. Then, of course, there’s the financial strain it can place on our budgets. I know, because I have been there. Nine years ago, I made the decision to quit my job and go back to college to finish my degree. I was worried about being the oldest student in my classes (I wasn’t!) and how I was going to pay for everything without disrupting my children’s lives. I didn’t want them to give up any of their activities or make any huge changes to the way we lived. Why should my dream make their lives miserable? So, I did some research to see if I might be able to find some free money for college. I had a son, who was a sophomore in high school, and he was already applying for college scholarships. I found that many of these programs were also open to me. Unfortunately, he wasn’t really thrilled to be competing against his mother for scholarships, so I tried to find programs that were more suited to my skills and needs. I soon found several programs that targeted women and mothers, which meant I could apply without the worry of eclipsing my son. I’ll never forget the first award I won; it was right before Mother’s Day and my children put the notification letter in a box with a silver charm that said ‘winner.’ It’s still one of my favorite gifts to this day.
If you know a mom (or any woman), who’s heading back to college and could use a little financial assistance, be sure to wrap up this scholarship list and present it to her this Mother’s Day.
Any U.S. woman, 31 or older, may apply for this $10,000 scholarship. Applicants must register on the Scholarships4Moms website. Deadline: May 15, 2103.
The Colorado Women’s Education Foundation offers scholarships, ranging between $300 and $1,000 each. Women must be 25 years or older and enrolled in a Colorado college or university. Deadline: May 31, 2013.
California single parents, who are graduating from high school or currently enrolled in college, may apply for this $1,000 scholarship. Deadline: July 15, 2013.
This award is for single mothers, 17 or older, who meet the annual family income guidelines and are planning to pursue a technical/vocational, undergraduate or graduate degree. Five scholarships, valued at $3,000 each, will be provided. Deadline: August 1, 2013.
Residents of Illinois, who are single parents, may be eligible for this award. Applicants must be the mother (or father) of twins, triplets or other multiples. Four scholarships, valued between $100 and $300, will be offered. Deadline: August 31, 2013.
Any U.S. woman pursuing an undergraduate degree in mathematics may apply for this scholarship. Up to six awards will be offered, ranging from $250 to $1,000 each. Deadline: September 15, 2013.
My worries about fitting in at college soon evaporated. I found the class discussions to be exhilarating and enjoyed the challenges presented with each assignment. I should have known that my multi-tasking skills as a mother would come in handy, as juggling the demands of life at home and those at school soon became second nature to me. Throughout my time at college, I continued to apply for scholarships and won several. I was happy to graduate with very little student loan debt and now share my scholarship strategies with my daughter, who will head off to college in two years. Hopefully, some of my good luck and determination will rub off on her.
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