Being a parent is hard enough when you have a spouse who shares the responsibility, so doing it on your own can seem downright impossible. Most single parents work full time to support their families, and some even have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. It's not surprising either. The cost of raising a child these days averages out to more than $10,000 a year [source: Center for the Improvement of Child Caring]. Now, imagine being a single parent with multiple kids. It's overwhelming to say the least. Luckily, there is help available in the form of single parent grants.
There are several grants that have been developed to help single parents with the financial burden of raising a child. If you are raising your kids alone, chances are you qualify for a number of these grants. They can help you pay for everything from school to health care to housing costs. So what do you have to do? Well, you're already off to a good start. The first step is researching what's available and finding out whether or not you qualify for them. Once you've determined your eligibility, the next step is to apply for the grants that you do qualify for. It sounds easy, but you'll have to do your part to make sure you meet all of the requirements and fill out applications properly [source: U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development].
Keep in mind that there are many single parents out there just like you who will be filling out applications as well. During the process it's important to keep a positive attitude. You may not get the first few grants you apply for, but that's not a good excuse to give up. The more grants you apply for, the more likely you are to get one. At the end of the day, your perseverance will likely pay off.
Keep reading to find out more about the different types of grants available to single parents.
Types of Single Parent Grants
There are several types of grants available to help single parents. Whether or not you qualify for them depends on your individual situation. Factors that may determine your eligibility for a grant include your income, the number of children you have and your level of schooling, just to name a few. For many parents, a better job can be the solution to all of their problems. After all, a better job means more income, and more income will undoubtedly ease the financial burden of raising children. In order to get a better job however, most people need more education.
Luckily, there are several grants available to single parents that can help them go back to school. One nonprofit corporation that offers these types of grants is Raise the Nation. Their goal is to help women who are single parents pay for their continuing education or repay existing student loans. They offer both a Student Loan Repayment Grant, which is offered to women who volunteer their professional talents, and a Scholarship for a Continuing Education, which is available to women who wish to go to college or continue their college education [source: Raise the Nation].
If you're looking for financial assistance for things other than continuing your education, you still have several options. For example, you may be able to obtain a grant or some other type of financial assistance to buy a home. Start by contacting your local housing authority to see what your options are. You can find a list of these agencies on the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association website, PHADA.org [source: Public Housing Authorities Directing Association]. Another great way to search for grant opportunities is using the Grants.gov Web site. It was set up specifically to help people find and apply for federal grants [source: Grants.gov].
Once you find the grants you qualify for, you'll have to fill out applications. Keep reading to find out how it works.
Applying for Single Parent Grants
The only way to get a grant, of course, is to apply for one, and the application process will differ depending on the type of grant you're trying to get. However, the first step is always the same. Before you apply for a grant, it's up to you to make sure you qualify. Find out what the requirements are, and make sure you fit them. If you don't, you'll just end up wasting your time, and as a single parent, you probably don't have a whole lot of time to waste.
For most grants, you'll be able to download an application packet online. If you use Grants.gov, you'll need to download a free program called PureEdge Viewer to complete the application process. This software will allow you to do the entire application online. Once you've downloaded the necessary grant application packet, make sure you read the directions thoroughly. You don't want to miss a step. One feature users may find helpful is that PureEdge Viewer won't let you submit your application unless you've filled out all of the necessary fields [source: Office of University Partnerships]. That doesn't mean, however, that it checks your answers as you go. It's up to you to fill out everything properly.
Private grants may have a slightly different application process than federal ones. Sometimes it'll be as easy as filling out a form. Other times it may involve writing an essay or providing proof of your income [source: Grants.gov]. The application process can be frustrating at times, but remember that these grants were created to help people like you. The payoff is almost always worth it, and perseverance is very often the key to success. Always double check your applications. You may even want someone else to look them over before you submit anything.
For lots more information on grants that are available to single parents, see the links on the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Bergman, Mike. "Single-Parent Households Showed Little Variation Since 1994, Census Bureau Reports." U.S. Census Bureau. March 27, 2007. (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households/009842.html
- Center for the Improvement of Child Caring. "Effective Parenting Newsletter." (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.ciccparenting.org/NewsLetters/Costs_of_Raising_Children.htm
- Grants.gov. "General FAQs." (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.grants.gov/help/general_faqs.jsp
- Grants.gov. "Find. Apply. Succeed." (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.grants.gov/
- Labor Law Center. "State Minimum Wage." (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.laborlawcenter.com/t-State-Minimum-Wage-Rates.aspx?gclid=CKWakIXgop8CFSgVagodb1L1_g
- Office of University Partnerships. "Finding and Applying for Grant Opportunities." (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.oup.org/files/egrants/egrantsbrochure.pdf
- Public Housing Authorities Directors Association. "Links to Housing Authority Websites." 2010. (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.phada.org/ha_list.php
- Raise the Nation. "Grants and Scholarships." 2006. (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.raisethenation.org/index.cfm?fa=scholarship.grants
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Desktop User Guide for Submitting Electronic Grant Applications." February 2007. (Jan. 13, 2010)http://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/grants/deskuserguide.pdf