Are There Pell Grants for Single Mothers Available?

Written by Michael Bennet

Is it true that there are specialized Pell Grants for single mothers available? The truth is no, there is only one Pell Grant available for students from all different races, genders, backgrounds, and demographics, and the only way to apply for the Pell Grant is through the FAFSA.

Recently single mothers have been asking me about the existence of special Pell Grants for single moms, and the reality is that most of this hype can be attributed to various online marketing campaigns that are making promises that they simply cannot keep.

Single mothers can of course become eligible for the Pell Grant program, they simply need to submit a FAFSA and go through the conventional application process just like everyone else. While there are educational grants and scholarships available that cater almost exclusively to single mothers and women who may be facing significant financial trouble, the federal Pell Grant is what it is, and can only be applied for via one method.

The great thing is that there are Pell Grants for single mothers available, they are just the same grants that everyone else is applying for as well, although there are a few things that may give single mothers an advantage when attempting to qualify.

Single Mother Pell Grant Advantages

Single mothers may not be able to apply for a unique type of Pell Grant award, but they do have a leg up when attempting to become eligible. This is because the Pell Grant is based primarily on financial need, and does take into account the single mother’s income level to determine eligibility. Because single mothers typically only have one income, and because they need to provide for a child, and perhaps even children by themselves, their level of financial need is normally higher than what it would be for the average applicant.

This will make it easier to exhibit the necessary amount of financial need to be able to qualify for the Pell Grant, and perhaps other kinds of federal aid as well that are based on need. Financial need is mainly determined via the expected family contribution, which is based primarily on income.

While it is difficult to say what type of annual incomes may result in specific EFC values, the hard and fast rule is that to become eligible for the Pell Grant the EFC must be below 5,081. Single mothers should have an easier time getting their EFC below this figure because they shouldn’t have to factor in their spouse’s income, and because they have to support a child, and possibly children.

For the single moms who want to apply for a Pell Grant and take their chances, the FAFSA must be submitted by June 30, although it is highly recommended to get it in as soon as possible after January 1, as most federal student aid is given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Keep in mind that there are Pell Grants for single mothers available; they’re simply not any different than the grants that everyone else ends up receiving, even though single mothers may have an advantage in becoming eligible.