College Grants for Single Fathers: How to Apply for Scholarships and Financial Aid

The information in this article is current as of January 28, 2022.

Congratulations on making the life-changing decision to further your education, juggling the costs of raising children, keeping up with mortgage or rent payments, and now paying for school as a single father. It doesn’t have to be. Help is out there.

If you’re looking for college grants for single fathers or need help paying for your college education or career school, look no further. This guide helps dads on a budget find information on college grants, scholarships, federal or state grants, and financial aid.

What Is Financial Aid and How Does it Work?

Financial aid can come from either federal, state, school, or private sources to help you pay for college or career school. Financial aid makes college more affordable and includes:

  • Grants
  • Work-study programs
  • Loans
  • Scholarships       

What is a Grant?

Depending on the grant, grants are forms of financial aid provided by the federal government, state government, your college or career school, or a private nonprofit organization. Grants help students pay for college or career school. Unlike loans, most grants typically do not have to be repaid — read on to learn more about repayment.

A variety of federal grants are available to students, including:

  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College
  • Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

If I Receive a Grant, Do I Have to Pay it Back?

There are some cases where you would have to pay back your grant. For example:

  • Leave school or withdraw from school early
  • Change your enrollment status like switching from a full-time to part-time student
  • Obtain outside grants or scholarships — this reduces your need for financial aid
  • Receive a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant but didn’t meet the required service obligation

The Federal Pell Grant

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid gives more than $120 billion in financial aid to help students pay for college or career school every year? The Federal Pell Grant isn’t just for single dads, and it’s a popular option for undergraduate students seeking financial assistance from the federal government. To apply for the Federal Pell Grant, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form each year you plan to apply for financial aid for college or graduate school.

Amounts change every year. However, the maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2021-22 school year is $6,495. This amount depends on financial need, the cost of attendance, full-time or part-time student status, and your plans to attend. If you’re planning on going to school for less than a full academic year, the amount of financial assistance can vary.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

Another option for single dads is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant. Like the Pell Grant, the FSEOG is a grant for undergraduate students that demonstrate exceptional financial need. The FSEOG program is handled by the financial aid office at your school. However, not all schools participate. It’s best to check with your school’s financial aid office before applying.

To qualify, you must first file your FAFSA. Your school’s financial aid office awards FSEOGs to students who need financial aid the most. What’s great about the FSEOG is that you may not need to pay it back if you meet the special qualifications. Though not as high as the Pell Grant, qualified students can get between $100 to $4,000 per academic year. Those funds can come in handy for single fathers.

State Grants for Single Fathers

Did you know that many states also offer education grants? Perfect for anyone in need of college funding, state grants are for students interested in attending college. Like the Federal Pell Grant program, state grants are not limited to single fathers or single parents.

Some states use your FAFSA and your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) to determine if you qualify for state financial aid. It’s a good idea to speak with your financial aid office or school guidance counselor for specific eligibility information and deadline details.

What Is a Scholarship?

Think of scholarships as financial gifts or awards. Scholarships do not have to be paid back. There are thousands of opportunities to receive scholarships. It’s essential to research these offers to make sure they’re legitimate. There are many scams out there, so please be careful. If it’s too good to be true, it just might be.

Merit-based college scholarships are earned by meeting or exceeding requirements set by the scholarship-giver. Merit scholarships can be won because of academic achievement or on a combination of impressive grades along with a particular interest, talent, or sport. In addition, there are scholarships based on a student’s financial need or for groups of people such as women, military families, graduate students, and more.

A scholarship can either cover the entire cost of your tuition or be a one-time award of a few hundred dollars. Whether it’s a little or a lot, it doesn’t hurt to apply and save some money on the cost of your education.

Who Offers Scholarships for College?

Scholarships are another form of financial aid and can be provided by:

  • The school of your choice
  • Employers — this could be your current employer or your parent’s employer
  • Individuals
  • Private companies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Professional and social organizations
  • Religious groups, etc.

Have your parents or grandparents check with their employer for possible scholarship offerings. Many companies, such as Burger King, Coca-Cola, and Dell, offer certain dependents scholarships.

A perfect example of this is The Coca-Cola Scholars Program. This achievement-based scholarship program welcomes children and grandchildren of Coca-Cola employees to apply. Scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors recognized for their ability to lead and serve and their commitment to impacting their schools and communities. This program has provided over 6,450 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $75 million in educational support.  

Does It Pay to Attend College?

Attending college can be a big decision for some. You may find yourself asking, “Does it pay to go to college?”  Before you begin the process of applying for grants and financial aid, consider the pros and cons.

What will you gain from furthering your education? Is the experience worth it? Talk to family, friends, and mentors with have completed college. Speak to former teachers.

According to the 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with a bachelor’s degree can earn nearly double their weekly earnings compared to workers with a high school diploma. Check out these stats:

  • Workers with a bachelor’s degree earned a median income of $1,305 per week
  • Workers with a master’s degree earned a median income of $1,545 per week
  • Workers with an associate’s degree earned $938 per week
  • Workers with a high school diploma earned a $781 per week
  • The unemployment rate for bachelor’s-level workers was 5.5 percent,
  • The unemployment rate for workers with a high school diploma was 9.0 percent

Additional Assistance

While furthering your education and career, you may require additional assistance with other must-haves for you or your children. Check websites like Amazon, Chegg, or eBay for used textbooks. Why not take advantage of these helpful resources perfect for single dads?

Get a Tablet for $10.01

Access to the Internet is essential for college students. Now for a limited time, get an 8” tablet for just $10.01 when you qualify and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Once you’re approved for the program, we’ll send you a separate email to unlock your one-time discount on a brand-new tablet.

Click here to get started!

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

If you qualify for federal college student loans or grants, you most likely qualify for Lifeline service. This federal benefits program gives low-income consumers free or heavily discounted communication services.