A family's financial circumstances often change upon divorce, especially when two parents divide their finances and must support separate households. Divorce may affect the family's ability to pay college expenses for a child or for one of the parents. Scholarships and grants may help divorced families who need financial aid to pay educational costs. Some scholarships serve the children of divorced parents, while other opportunities provide assistance to divorced individuals and single parents.
Specific Majors or Schools
Children of divorced parents might find financial aid through scholarships specifically providing assistance to students who come from single-parent or divorced-parent households. Some of these scholarships require enrollment in a particular major or matriculation. Western Washington University's College of Fine and Performing Arts, for example, offers the Oscar Olson Arts Scholarship to students from divorced, widowed or otherwise single parents. Students might find resources through their own colleges' financial aid offices or advisors in their majors.
Students from Single-Parent Homes
Other scholarships particularly welcome applications from students who come from single-parent households. The scholarship criteria might include a preference for students raised by single parents. For example, the Women's Connection program at Central Michigan University offers scholarships to students with single parents and students who are themselves single parents. These scholarships acknowledge the financial strain faced by single-parent families as they pay their living expenses while striving to meet their educational goals.
Other scholarships encourage higher education for single parents who might otherwise not be able to afford tuition and expenses. Some provide general support, while others emphasize financial aid for single mothers. The Single Parents Program at Champlain College, for example, includes scholarships to help with tuition for single parents. The Raise the Nation organization offers scholarships for single mothers who demonstrate leadership, community involvement and personal accomplishments. Divorced individuals with child-rearing responsibilities can contact their own schools regarding support for single parents, as well as search for nonprofit or foundation scholarships that aid single parents.
Some scholarships are targeted to help divorced women manage college costs, regardless of whether they have child-rearing responsibilities. The Margaret B. Edgar and Doris R.S. Miller Scholarship supports divorced women who are at least 55 years of age; recipients must be recently divorced and enrolled with the Reading Area Community College in Pennsylvania.
Divorced families can also consider general scholarships, including merit-based opportunities and scholarships based on financial need. Some families may need financial aid but can't qualify for the scholarships and grants reserved for families with the greatest amounts of demonstrated financial need. Students may find help through merit-based scholarships for middle-income families, such as the Advantage Scholarship program through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.