The biggest influx of college students today, besides young adults fresh out of high school, are moms who have decided it is time to focus on their own needs and finally obtain a college education. Some do this even as they raise small children, hold down a job and maintain a smooth running household. It is not easy, but there just is no substitute for a college degree.
There are several financial aid programs that are designed just for moms ready to go back to college. This aid takes on five basic forms:
- Federal grants
- Federal or private loans
- Federal tax incentives
- School specific scholarships
- Circumstance specific scholarships
Federal grants are money that the US government provides to moms ready to go back to college. Because these are grants, the funds do not ever need to be repaid. An income based aid program, the amount given to the recipient is based on their economic status and may fluctuate between recipients.
Federal or private loans are typically low interest loans that actually do need to be paid back. In some cases payments are deferred until graduation and in other cases payments need to be made immediately. In general, the federal loans provide better financial aid for the mom planning to attend college, including lower interest and extended payment options.
Federal tax incentives for moms planning to head back to college is a financial aid program wherein a tax credit is issued for college expenses. This means that the amount of the aid is applied towards any federal tax that the mom may owe. If none is owed, then the financial aid is simply given outright as a tax refund.
School specific scholarships are financial aid programs that are given by the individual school that the mom will be attending. While most of these scholarships are given by individuals or corporations, the administration of the program is via the financial aid office of the college. These scholarships are outright aid programs in that the funds do not need to be repaid.
Circumstance specific scholarship are financial aid programs that are given to recipients regardless of what school they plan to attend, but are tied to specialized circumstances for the student. For instance, a scholarship to study nursing, a scholarship for Vietnam War veterans or a scholarship for moms who were victims of domestic violence.
Regardless of what type of financial aid program that the mom student decides to accept, a college education will not only allow her to advance professionally but will also give her a good dose of self-confidence. Also, she will be role modeling for her children the very positive impact that a college degree will have on them as well.