If you are receiving cash aid or welfare to support your children, you may have given up on dreams of achieving a college education. Don't give up because many different federal scholarships, grants and programs are available to help low-income aid recipients to attend and graduate from college. Federal, state, college-based and private grants are available to those who are out of work and receiving welfare benefits.
Pursue Federal Scholarships
The primary federal grant for low-income college students is the Pell Grant. Obama scholarships for single mothers are Pell Grant funds that provide funds for part-time and online study who need a more flexible schedule and timeline. Visit your college's financial aid office and complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) online to determine how much you can receive from the Pell Grant for college. The maximum amount of a Pell Grant is $6,095, as of the 2018-19 school year. The amount you are eligible to receive will be based on your calculated need and the cost of attendance at the school you attend.
Government Grants for Education Majors
Apply for a TEACH grant that offers up to $4,000 per year if you want to study education and become a teacher. Access additional grants based on high financial need like the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or FSEOG. If you intend to study math, science, computers, technology, engineering or qualified foreign language or liberal arts programs, apply for a Science & Mathematics to Retain Talent or SMART Grant. Application steps include submitting the FAFSA, enrolling in a TEACH-Grant program, maintaining a satisfactory GPA and signing a TEACH Grant Agreement,
Tap State Grants
Every state offers some form of college grants for adults receiving public assistance. If you live in California, apply for the Cal Grant, which provides over $1,500 to pay for living expenses, books and equipment. Texas residents can apply for the TEXAS grant, providing between $1,780 to $6,780 for college. Be aware that most states have residency and high school or community college attendance and graduation requirements for their college grants. Most post-secondary schools and grant programs require completion of the FAFSA. College financial aid offices use FAFSA data to package aid for a student that may include a mix of federal grants, state grants, college scholarships, loans and work-study jobs.
Seek Educational Opportunity Programs
Most states sponsor Educational Opportunity Programs (EOPS), specifically designed to help low-income, minority and non-traditional students successfully complete college. Eligible students have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that is under $5,000. Apply for the EOP program through your college financial aid office. Attend EOP workshops and work with your EOP counselor to access the full grant benefits offered to you. The EOPS is unique in providing personal support and advising to disadvantaged students in addition to financial resources.
Consider Private Grants and Tuition Waivers
Access private grants, scholarships and tuition waivers through your school's financial aid and counseling offices and websites. Many community colleges and some four-year colleges will grant tuition and fee waivers to qualified applicants, which means you will pay no tuition or fees. Learn how other welfare recipients have gone from GED to Ph.D. through organizations that support those who are receiving public assistance for college students. Scholarship information may also be available at the school's women's center or nontraditional student office.
Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.