Author: Melissa Maypole
Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
Reading Level: Grade 9
Reading Time: 25 minutes, 23 seconds
Original Publication Date: October 2021
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 15 million children in the United States are raised by single mothers. That number represents 20% of families across the country and a whole lot of moms who are taking on parenthood alone. While single moms and stay-at-home moms who are struggling in the trenches may feel as if their options are limited, higher education shines a beacon of hope on their path to making a comfortable life for themselves and their children.
Today, single mothers have access to programs and resources that put higher education within reach despite the demands of raising kids. Not only has online education made it possible for stay-at-home moms to study from home, but an increasing number of colleges and universities are focusing their efforts on facilitating academic success for single parents. This article identifies 10 of the best online colleges and best online degrees for working adults who are also single moms.
Rating and Ranking the 10 Top Online Schools for Moms
Single and stay-at-home moms have unique needs and preferences when choosing online programs. With this in mind took a different approach to rating and ranking schools for this article. We chose our initial pool of colleges and universities based on their efforts to support their enrolled single parents. We then filtered these schools by cost, eliminating schools with expenses of over $30,000 per year. Finally, we ranked the schools based on the number of online programs they offered at the undergraduate level. In cases of a tie, the more affordable school received the higher ranking. Tuition costs were taken from the NCES College Navigator.
#10—Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Undergraduate Tuition: $4,059
Number of Online Program Options: 12
OCCC offers its single-parent students through its Single Parent Academic Resources Collaborative. It is funded by the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma. The program encourages and supports students. They can pursue their degree programs while parenting their children. Students will have access to resources such as:
- Child care
- Financial assistance
They’ll also be able to choose from a dozen of the best credentials for busy moms, including associate degree programs like:
- Associate in Science (AS): Business
- Online AAS: Child Development
- Online AAS: Speech Language Pathology Assistant
- Online AAS: Clinical Research Coordinator
The Higher Learning Commission accredits Oklahoma City Community College.
- Supportive faculty
- Small class sizes
- Financial aid can be difficult to navigate
- Some issues with administrative communication
#9—Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara, California
Undergraduate Tuition: $1,234
Number of Online Program Options: 12
Santa Barbara City College has some of the leading online degrees for stay-at-home and single mothers. They offer convenience and affordability. Parents can choose from among a dozen different online associate’s degree programs, including:
- Associate of Science (AS) in Computer Information Systems
- Associate of Arts (AA) in International Business
- Online AA in Film and Media Studies
- Online AS in Cancer Information Management
The school also offers a summer bridge program. It is designed to help prepare single parents for the rigors of college academics. The Single Parents Arriving Ready to College program (SPARC) provides students with:
- Food vouchers
- School supplies
Santa Barbara City College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
- A diverse learning environment
- A high student-to-faculty ratio
#8—University of Louisville
Undergraduate Tuition: $12,520
Number of Online Program Offerings: 15
The University of Louisville supports enrolled single parents and working moms. They have a dedicated scholarship and the Student-Parent Association (SPA). It is offered through the university’s Women’s Center. They provide social and emotional support for single moms navigating college alongside parenthood. The school also offers a host of online bachelor’s degree programs, including:
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Organizational Leadership and Learning
- Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
- BA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
UL is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
- High number of academic programming
- Offers credit for life experience
- Graduation rate is lower than national average
- TAs teach a lot of the classes
#7—Kent State University
Undergraduate Tuition: $12,464
Number of Online Program Options: 16
In addition to offering some of the best academic options for working moms. Kent State has a Literacy and Independence for Family Education program. It supports busy moms and single parents. Together with the Center for Adult and Veteran Services, LIFE helps single moms find housing and childcare. It enables them to attend classes and study. The program also sponsors a scholarship initiative for single parents. Students also have access to educational workshops and resources for parenting. Single moms will find a host of convenient online degree programs at Kent State. Kent state offers bachelor’s degree programs such as:
- Online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Applied Technology
- Bachelor of Business Administration: General Business
- Bachelor of Radiologic and Imaging Sciences Technology
- BS in Public Health
Kent State’s accreditation status with The Higher Learning Commission makes these online programs possible.
- Great networking opportunities
- Supportive faculty and staff
- Inconsistency in education
- Limited course offerings
#6—Gateway Technical College
Undergraduate Tuition: $4,766
Number of Online Program Options: 16
Gateway Technical College offers support and resources through its Step Up program. Single parents and stay-at-home moms have access to many good majors. This “best online program” is designed for single parents and adults. As such, it provides:
- Instructional workshops
- Career development tools
- Job placement
- A single-parent peer support group
Once enrolled, students can choose among 16 of the best degrees for parents. It includes associate degree programs like:
- Associate’s in Business Management
- Associate’s in Health Information Management
- Associate’s in Information Technology: Web Development
- Associate’s in Small Business Entrepreneurship
The Higher Learning Commission accredits GTC. This is a testament to its quality education offerings.
- Supportive community
- Program/faculty flexibility
- Some degree programs can be difficult to get into
- Can be a lack of student resources
#5—Texas Woman’s University
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,311
Number of Online Program Offerings: 17
Single moms going back to school for a degree should consider Texas Woman’s College. TWC offers a “best online college” experience. The Campus Alliance for Resource Education Office has a host of resources. Besides family housing options for on-campus students, the school has a variety of resources for its distance learners. Here, students can access services like:
- Social networking opportunities
- Personal support
TWU also offers online bachelor’s degree programs for single parents, such as:
- Associate’s in Business Management
- Associate’s in Health Information Management
- Associate’s in Information Technology: Web Development
- Associate’s in Small Business Entrepreneurship
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Texas Woman’s University.
- Great variety of available programming
- Strong reputation for healthcare related programs
- Lack of diversity
- For on-campus students, the location can be a problem
#4—SUNY-Broome Community College
Binghamton, New York
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,704
Number of Online Program Options: 19
SUNY Broome Community College is regarded as one of the top colleges for adults in the SUNY system. It is also one of the best sources of online degrees for single parents. This is thanks, in part, to its Family Empowerment Program. This program allows single parents to access things like:
- Academic support
- Wellness resources
- A social network of like-minded students
The program may even pay for childcare for qualified students. Moreover, the school also offers some of the leading online degrees for stay-at-home moms, including:
- Online Associate Degree of Science (AS) in Business Information Management
- Online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Security & Forensics
- Online AS in Health Studies
- Online AAS in Hospitality Management
SUNY-Broome is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Ed to confer these online credentials to busy moms.
- 100% Acceptance rate
- Good student support network
- Issues with the financial aid office have been reported
- Issues with student advising have been reported
#3—Metropolitan Community College
Undergraduate Tuition: $3,285
Number of Online Options: 20
Metropolitan Community College is home to some of the best online degree programs. It offers resources for single mothers through its Single Parent Homemaker Services program. Students enrolled in this program will be granted access to resources such as:
- Financial aid support
- Educational workshops
- Career resources
Working moms may choose from a wide range of online associate degree programs. They include:
- Associate of Science (AS) in Management Information Systems
- Associate of AAS in Business Administration
- Associate’s in Medical Office Management
- Associate’s in Database Management and Data Analysis
Many career certificates are also accessible entirely online. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited MCC.
- A wide variety of programming
- Small class sizes
- Students have reported a lack of challenging online academic programming
- Some issues with advising have been reported
#2—Front Range Community College
Undergraduate Tuition: $4,126
Number of Online Offerings: 27
Front Range Community College has a robust suite of single-parent resources and initiatives. This makes it a great college for single moms interested in continuing education. Students enrolled in the school’s Single Parent Program will enjoy:
- Personalized academic and career support
- Educational workshops
- Social networking opportunities
In addition, the school offers more than two dozen of the best degrees for stay-at-home moms as well as single moms, including:
- Online Associate of Arts (AA) in Early Childhood Education
- Online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Information Systems
- Online AAS in Accounting
- Online AA in Business
Front Range Community College holds its institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission.
- Faculty is very attentive
- Online programming is highly rated
- Lack of faculty communication has been reported
- Some issues with admissions/financial aid have been reported
#1—Eastern Kentucky University
Undergraduate Tuition: $9,844
Number of Online Study Options: 31
Eastern Kentucky University is home to an impressive number of online degrees for moms. It includes both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. Standout options for continuing education include:
- Applied Associate of Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies
- Associate of Science (AS) in Paramedicine
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA): Management
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Services Administration
In addition to some of the best degrees for moms, EKU also houses the Center for Student Parents. It offers single parents academic, career, and personal support. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits EKU.
- EKU accepts dual and AP credits
- A wide range of academic programming
- Graduation rate is 25% lower than the national average
- Some issues with faculty support in the nursing department have been reported
Advantages of Education for Single Moms
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, single mothers are less likely than others their age to complete a degree program. With their child-rearing responsibilities and providing for their families, it’s no wonder. Even so, studies have shown that there are incredible benefits for single mothers who can invest in their education. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the biggest reasons single moms (and stay-at-home moms, too!) should consider returning to school for a degree.
More Lucrative Careers
It’s a vicious cycle that many single moms and stay-at-home moms find themselves in. With just a high school diploma, they lack the skills and education for high-paying jobs and career paths. They have to keep working for low wages in order to put food on the table for their children. Higher ed is perhaps the only thing that can break the cycle. It allows hard-working single parents a chance to improve their lives with higher-paying jobs. By returning to school, single moms increase their earning potential significantly. They’re also more likely to:
- Remain gainfully employed
- Access jobs that pay good money with benefits
- Enjoy greater overall health and wellness
Increased Opportunity for Advancement
Single and stay-at-home moms with a career can still benefit from returning to school. Individuals with educational goals are more likely to receive raises and promotions. These career opportunities can result in significant wage increases throughout a career. It stands to reason that single and stay-at-home moms with more knowledge will experience more job satisfaction. Online programs enable them to manage work responsibilities while also pursuing a degree.
If you’re a single mom, you may have moments when you wonder who you are anymore. Becoming a parent is a huge transition, and it’s easy to lose yourself in motherhood, no matter your level of education or family situation. This loss of identity may be even more debilitating for single mothers. Raising children is a noble pursuit and can be fulfilling in its own right. It can consume young mothers, especially single ones. They may feel they spend every waking moment working a low-wage job or changing diapers.
Higher education allows single and stay-at-home moms to rediscover their intellectual potential. For many of these mothers, a college degree was once a dream that had to be put aside for the sake of having kids. For educational goals to reawaken is often a defining event for parents-turned-college students. It can breathe life into their entire families. Many single moms feel they’re better parents to their children after being in a degree program.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reports that when single moms get a degree, they increase the likelihood that their kids will do the same. This is great news for those who feel guilty for taking time away from their children to get their degree. Knowing their efforts and sacrifice will likely affect their kids may motivate them to keep working hard. What’s more, attending college as a single mom also has more immediate effects on children. This includes increased performance in academic areas like reading and math. Returning to school creates a win-win scenario for single mothers and their children!
The Greater Good
A common concern for single mothers returning to school is thinking that it’s selfish. Not only is this “mom guilt” detrimental to one’s mental health but it’s also rooted in a lie. In reality, the opposite is true. Single moms considering a degree should know that the benefits they reap will impact their families and society in general. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. Single mothers with a college degree will likely earn higher wages. Therefore, they will pay more taxes than those with just a high school diploma. This tax money goes towards improving their communities. Moreover, the US is currently facing a labor shortage. Many of these jobs require a college degree
Benefits of Online Schools and Degree Programs for Single Moms
Higher ed in any format has the power to transform a single mom’s life and livelihood. There are particular benefits of online college for single, stay-at-home moms.
One of the hallmark advantages of online programs is their extreme flexibility. Being able to work online toward a degree provides perks for all types of students. Single moms may enjoy the most significant benefit. Time. For single parents, time is perhaps their most precious commodity. Young children require 24/7 care. so every moment of their day seems to be accounted for even before they have time to make plans for themselves. Because they are their children’s sole and primary caregivers, any time spent alone must be paid for as childcare expenses. For this reason, many single moms have given up on the idea of attending college classes.
Enter online learning. Advancements in distance education have been a game-changer for single parents who want a college education. Finally, single mothers can make their own course schedules through online programs. Avoiding the need to adapt their daily routines to accommodate traditional college classes. Many online courses can be completed anytime and anywhere. All students need is Internet access to work virtually. That means you can study while the baby naps or watch an online lecture while waiting in the car line to pick up your school-aged child. Online college programs can turn the dream of earning a degree into reality for single moms.
Online Student Support
If you’re a single mom interested in online programs, you might think all this hullabaloo about education sounds too good to be true. Ok, so you can access course content online, but what happens when you have a question about an assignment or have to go to the library and can’t find a sitter? These are valid concerns. They’re the same concerns that online colleges have considered when designing their programs. Most providers also offer a robust suite of online student support services. This can assist their busy and working students as they pursue their degrees. Some of these resources may include instant online access to things like:
- Professors and academic advisors
- Online library resources
- Virtual tutoring
- Mental health and wellness support
These support services can be accessed from the comfort of your home or anywhere there’s Wifi.
Imagine getting stuck in traffic and missing your class. You then must turn around and pick up your child from daycare. Daycare that you paid dearly for but turns out you didn’t need, after all. Single parents pursuing on-campus degrees experience this type of frustration regularly. Online programs eliminate the commute thus erasing many of the daily hassles and expenses associated with a car or bus ride to campus. With online school, you can wake up in the morning, grab your coffee, and start studying before the kids even begin to rouse. Likewise, you can spend all day with them and leave your studies for after they’re in bed for the night. No commute is required.
Greater School Selection
Another advantage to online education for single moms is the ability to choose from a larger pool of colleges and universities. Because learning happens online, you can access schools and degree programs from around the country. You are not limited to a certain radius surrounding your location. These increased options can mean higher quality, more affordable degree programs. In fact, some of the leading online schools for single moms offer discounted tuition rates for their distance learners. Many charge the same tuition rate as they do for in-state students
Top Online Degree Programs and Classes for Single Mothers
As long as you choose a reputable, accredited online college, you almost can’t go wrong when pursuing a degree. Still, some programs are more beneficial than others to single parents. This section discusses some popular and advantageous online degree programs for moms.
A little-known fact about distance ed is that not all online degrees and courses offer the same levels of convenience and flexibility. In fact, synchronous online programs are often quite stringent about required school hours. These programs follow schedules like those of traditional degree programs. They do give students access to course materials and online meetings. Students in a synchronous online course have to log in to their virtual classroom at a specific time to log school hours. For instance, keeping track of how many times per week students are required to contribute to discussion forums can be tedious. Lectures are often live-streamed making your virtual attendance mandatory.
Asynchronous online classes and degree programs are much more flexible. It makes them the better choice for single moms. These options afford students much more freedom regarding when they access course content. There may still be deadlines, but there aren’t specific meeting times or live attendance requirements. If you’re a single mother and are given a choice the two programs, be sure to choose the latter. This decision will free up a lot of extra time for you to attend to your children and family responsibilities as necessary. Clearly, the best online degrees for parents are the asynchronous ones.
Single mothers contemplating higher ed options may think it’s an “all or nothing” decision. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially with online programs. These flexible options are designed for students who are short on time. Working mothers or single parents definitely fall into this category! Therefore, they don’t often require full-time enrollment. Instead, they allow students to take as many or as few courses at a time as they wish. This is not often the case for traditional, in-person programs. Many of them require a full course load of classes. Even those that admit part-time students may require a minimum number of credit hours per semester. This can make it difficult for single moms with significant childcare obligations. It’s not hard to see why most of the top online degrees for stay-at-home moms allow for part-time enrollment.
Fully Online Degree Programs and Courses
When we think of distance ed, we tend to call to mind fully online programs and classes. But be warned, this isn’t the only type of offering you’ll find under the umbrella of distance learning. Hybrid programs also exist. They combine online and in-person meetings for a blended learning experience. While there are advantages, they’re rarely ideal for single parents because of their on-campus requirements. If your schedule won’t allow for trips to campus, be sure to opt for fully online classes and programs. That way, you can eliminate the commute entirely and spend more time with your children.
Free Online Courses for Stay-at-Home Moms
Higher ed can be an intimidating prospect, children or no children. For single moms who are unsure about committing to a completely online degree program, we recommend they try free online courses. They are sometimes referred to as Massive Open Online Courses or MOOC. These options allow students to experience college-level education without the cost or commitment. Moreover, top U.S. colleges and universities offer many of these free online courses. It gives students a realistic idea of what an online college class is like. These individual options are available in virtually every academic discipline imaginable. They’re usually not part of a degree program but can sometimes be transferred to a college or university for credit. You can’t go wrong with free online courses!
Types of Best Online Degrees for Single Moms
Single moms with a high school diploma or GED usually have two options when it comes to an onlint degree:
- an online associate’s degree program
- an online bachelor’s degree program
Online Associates Degrees
If you consider higher education a ladder, an associate’s degree would be the first rung. As such, it is often among the best credentials for moms returning to school. Typically, these online programs require two years of study. The degree can lead to a good-paying job in a career/technical field. It can also lay the foundation for future study in a bachelor’s degree program. An online associate’s degree usually requires about 60 credit hours of coursework. The payoff is usually worth it for single moms who can invest in an online associate’s degree program. Those with an associate’s degree make about $150 more per week on average than those with a high school diploma. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, the wage gap is much more significant in some fields. For many single moms, this increase in earnings could be put to good use towards rent, groceries, childcare, and more.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Bachelor’s degree programs represent another very popular option for single mothers.. These four-year programs require roughly 120 credit hours of study. They can often be completed entirely online. Online bachelor’s degrees require about twice the investment of time and tuition. It’s not surprising that the rewards are often greater than with just an associate’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a bachelor’s credential made $1,305 per week in 2020. Associate degree holders made $938 per week.
Best Fields of Study for Single Moms/Stay-At-Home Moms
Many single moms eager to return to the classroom still struggle to choose a field of study that’s right for them. They may experience some anxiety over whether to pursue their passions (think liberal arts). Or should they select a safe degree path associated with career opportunities like high job security and wages. Ideally, these single mothers can find a high-demand academic discipline that satisfies their interests and salary requirements. Below, we’ll discuss some of the fields that our higher ed experts have deemed particularly advantageous for single moms.
Business and Financial Studies
If you’ve ever had dreams of inhabiting a corporate office, then your goal may be a bachelor’s in business or finance. Business is a field that is considered one of the good majors for stay-at-home moms and single moms alike. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the business field is growing steadily. More than 700,000 new job opportunities are expected to be available in business by the year 2030. These aren’t minimum-wage jobs, either. On average, professionals working in business and finance make over $72,000 per year. That’s much higher than the median for all occupations.
An associate’s degree in business can get you a foot in the door of this growing occupational field. But most jobs in business require a minimum of a bachelor’s-level business degree. Below, you will find some examples of career opportunities in business:
Accountants and Auditors
The BLS reports that by 2029, there will be nearly 100,000 new jobs for accountants and auditors. These professionals document and analyze financial records for companies and individuals. On average, accountants and auditors make more than $73,000 per year.
Financial analysts are among the highest-paid people in the field of business and finance. They make over $83,000 annually on average. These professionals have fulfilling careers, too. They help businesses and individuals grow their investments by analyzing market trends and providing financial advice. Jobs for financial analysts are growing about as fast as average right now, according to the BLS.
Logisticians are in charge of a company’s supply chain. They determine how a product moves from production to consumption. The demand for logisticians is currently on a steep incline. This is thanks in part to the growth of e-commerce. The BLS reports a 30% projected growth in this specific occupation by 2030. Logisticians are well-paid, earning more than $76,000 per year on average.
One of the fastest-growing occupations in business and finance is a management analyst. Jobs are expected to grow at a better-than-average pace over the next decade, according to the BLS. Management analysts are sometimes called management consultants. They advise managers on best running a company or organization. Pay is also above-average for this occupation. Management analysts bringing in a median annual wage of over $87,000.
Healthcare and the medical field have long been considered one of the best fields for moms. Currently, that couldn’t be more true. A large portion of the United States population is approaching an advanced age. They will be in need of increased healthcare services in the coming years. This and the pandemic explain why the healthcare and medical field is growing much faster than average. This is good news for single moms who wish to become a nurse or other type of healthcare professional. Many in-demand healthcare positions require only an associate’s degree in health sciences. That’s right–you don’t have to go to medical school! Many of the best colleges for adults have many health sciences degrees available. Below, we list some of the top occupations in healthcare for single and stay-at-home moms:
It’s well-known that one of the leading online degrees for stay-at-home and single moms is the online RN. That’s because these degrees prepare moms for the in-demand job of a registered nurse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth for registered nurses is comparable to the average growth for all occupations. Because the occupational field for RNs is so large, this will result in more than 275,000 new jobs. Registered nurses are well-paid, too, earning a median salary of over $75,000 per year.
According to the BLS, the demand for dental hygienists is growing faster than average. It pays a handsome salary and has minimal educational requirements. This makes dental hygiene one of the best degrees for stay-at-home moms and single mothers. After completing an associate’s degree, single moms can work as dental hygienists. They will assist dentists in cleanings and examinations. A job as a dental hygienist will set healthcare professionals up for a median annual wage of over $77,000.
Dieticians and Nutritionists
An aging population and trends in wellness contribute to a growing demand for dieticians and nutritionists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this field is growing faster than average. Dieticians and nutritionists may work independently or for a healthcare organization. They advise clients on what food they should eat and which diets they could adopt to increase their health and wellness. The average pay is over $63,000 annually, and a bachelor’s degree in health sciences is typically required.
Another healthcare occupation that single moms may be drawn to is the job of a medical sonographer. These medical professionals conduct sonograms of the human body in order to examine the condition of organs and tissue. Medical sonographers need only an associate’s degree to begin practicing, yet average yearly wages are over $75,000. This makes a two-year health sciences degree in medical sonography one of the best online degrees for stay-at-home moms and single parents. Demand is high for medical sonographers, too. The BLS reports that jobs in this field are growing faster than average at the moment.
Jobs for radiation therapists are growing steadily. Plus, the average salary for these healthcare professionals is over $86,000 per year despite RTs needing only an associate’s degree for entry. This makes radiation therapy one of the best credentials for moms returning to school. After completing a two-year degree, single mothers can begin working in the field, helping patients needing radiation therapy, including those with cancer.
Single moms interested in working in the healthcare industry would be wise to consider a career as a respiratory therapist. These healthcare professionals are very much in demand right now; jobs are projected to grow by 23% by 2030. The position is also associated with a decent wage, with respiratory therapists making nearly $63,000 annually on average. Of course, the job is taxing, and respiratory therapists often work with sick patients who have difficulty breathing.
Computer and Information Technology
Another occupational field that single moms should keep top of mind when going back to school for a college degree is the field of computer and information technology. Tech jobs, including those beyond software development, are often high-paying, even entry-level, and are growing faster than the average rate.
Computer Systems Analysts
Single moms interested in both technology and business should consider a career in computer systems analysis. Also known as systems architects, systems analysts work on behalf of businesses to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their systems and processes. Jobs in this field are growing steadily, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and they’re well-paid too. On average, systems analysts make nearly $94,000 annually.
Database Administrators and Architects
In the age of big data, single moms looking to go back to school can take advantage of the increased demand for database administrators and architects. These IT professionals work to develop and/or manage databases on behalf of businesses and organizations. The average pay for this occupation is very nearly six figures per year, making database administration easily one of the best jobs for moms in terms of earning potential.
Information Security Analysts
Cyberattacks are on the rise, so companies need trained information security analysts to protect their computer systems from hackers. These analysts are very well-compensated for their work; the BLS reports their mean annual wage to be over $103,000. Due to the high wages and unprecedented demand in this field, a bachelor’s degree in info security is one of the top online colleges for single moms.
Computer-savvy single moms may want to pursue a career in software development. Software developers and software development specialists are currently in demand due to the rise in consumer and professional products that rely on software applications. Additionally, the growing healthcare industry is continually looking for advancements in software development to manage its patient databases. Due to this demand and six-figure median wages, bachelor’s degrees in software development are among the best degrees for stay-at-home moms and single parents.
Another good major for stay-at-home moms and single moms is web development. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for web developers are growing faster than average right now due to the continuous growth in e-commerce. These professionals make a decent salary, too, earning an average of $77,200 per year as of 2020. Many web developers can work from home, which is another big draw for single parents and why web development is considered one of the best fields for moms.
Paying for School As a Single Mom
Locating online degrees and finding the top online colleges with resources for single parents can be challenging, but it’s really just half the battle. As a single mother strapped for cash, you may face even bigger obstacles when it comes to paying for your college pursuits. Fortunately, some financial aid sources can help fund your tuition.
Scholarships for Single Mothers
Many colleges and third-party organizations recognize the unique plight of single moms. They also acknowledge the great potential of single parents to give back to their communities when given the opportunity. That’s why there are hundreds of scholarships available specifically for single parents. Our editors have identified the following schools that offer scholarship opportunities for single moms:
- Cameron University: Cindy Ross Scholarship for Single Parents
- Central Ohio Technical College: The J. Gilbert Reese Scholarship Fund for Single Parents
- University of Arkansas- Little Rock: Phyllis A. Keltner Foundation for Women Scholarship
- Lincoln Technical Institute: Single Parent Scholarship Program
- South Arkansas Community College: Union County Single Parent Scholarship
- Washington State University: Single Parents Scholarship
- Austin Peay State University: Fortera Foundation Bridge Scholarship
- Sonoma State University: The Custody X Change Giving Fund
- Central Washington University: Ruth Harrington Luncheon Single Parent Scholarship
When applying for scholarships at a specific school, you should be aware that there are certain eligibility requirements. Some of these financial aid opportunities are need-based, which means they’re only available to students who can demonstrate a certain level of financial need. That means you may have to submit financial documents for the school’s review, such as pay stubs or tax returns. Other scholarships are merit-based, meaning they are awarded to high-achieving students. The school will request your GPA and academic transcripts to determine your eligibility for these types of scholarships.
Grants for Single Parents
Look for schools and organizations that offer grants. Like scholarships, grants are coveted sources of financial aid for single moms and dads because they don’t have to be paid back. Plus, grants are usually a little easier to access than scholarships, and you may be able to skip the lengthy application process. In general, there are two types of grants for single parents: federal grants and state grants.
Did you know the federal government can offer grants to fund online degree programs? The most popular federal grant for single moms is the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is available to any undergraduate student who can demonstrate financial need, but many single parents receive funds from the Federal Pell Grant Program each year. To be eligible for a Pell Grant, you must enroll in school at least part-time and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each school year of your enrollment. The amount of your Pell Grant will depend on the cost of your tuition and the extent of your financial need. The maximum award amount is approximately $6,500 for the 2021-2022 school year.
State Grants for Single Moms
Individual states have also developed grant programs for single moms returning to school. Many times, these grants are awarded in order to boost the economy of a particular state by investing in a trained workforce. The application process and the amount of your award will vary based on your place of residency. Perhaps the best part of receiving a state grant to pursue higher ed is that it can usually be combined with federal grants for even more significant savings! To determine if your state offers college grants for single moms, visit the state’s official education department website.
Child Care Payments/Reimbursements
Many single moms stress over the cost of college, not only in terms of tuition expenses but also because they have to pay for daycare when they need time to study or attend classes. Fortunately for single parents, many schools factor childcare costs into the equation when offering students financial assistance. Depending on the college or university, the school may waive the costs of childcare for an on-campus facility, pay a portion or total childcare expenses, or reimburse students for payments to daycares and babysitters.
Though tuition and childcare represent the most significant college-related expenses for single mothers, there’s more to worry about as well, including rent, food, and utilities. Many of the best online colleges for adult learners and single parents have resources to help you with all of your needs as well as the needs of your child. Essentially, these schools had the great idea of making it their mission to eliminate all barriers for single parents who desire to pursue higher education. They’ve got you covered from food pantries to coat closets, emergency funds, free housing, and more. Just bring yourself, your kid, and your dreams of earning a degree!
With the number of colleges and universities offering not only flexible online degree programs but also entire departments and programs devoted to helping single parents succeed, there’s never been a better time for single mothers to pursue a valuable academic credential. In the higher ed space, the days of letting moms struggle alone are finally over. You now have the support in place that you need. So what are you waiting for? Go choose from the top online degrees available, and take the first step towards a brighter future for yourself and your child!
- Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work
- Online Information Technology Degrees (Bachelor’s)
- Online Bachelor’s in Computer Networking
- Important Tips for Moms Returning to School
- Best Online Colleges and Universities
- Affordable Online Psychology Degrees
- Online Colleges for Early Childhood Education
- What is an Associates Degree in Science?
- Top Dental Hygienist Associates Degrees
- 30 Colleges Helping Students Manage Finances
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Education Pays, 2020
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Institute for Women’s Policy Research: Single Mothers in College: Growing Enrollment, Financial Challenges, and the Benefits of Attainment
- United States Census Bureau: Number of Children Living Only With Their Mothers Has Doubled in Past 50 Years
- U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid: Pell Grants