Pregnant women who want to attend college face nearly insurmountable odds. The cost of a college education and the cost of living have been on a steady incline in most parts of the country for the past few decades. Not only is it more expensive than ever to attend class and buy books, it’s also more expensive to feed yourself, pay rent, and put gas in the car.
Combine that with stagnant minimum wage rates, the lower pay-scale for females, and high unemployment, and it’s no wonder that more pregnant women than ever are looking for scholarships to help them pay for college. Pregnant women are tough, and many of them work throughout most of their pregnancy, as a necessity more than anything else. But pregnant women don’t have the same earning power as, say, a male of a similar age. Finding steady work as a pregnant woman is difficult, and of course, pregnant women have to think of the time after delivery, when they’ll have to work to support their new child.
Luckily, there are some scholarship opportunities pregnant women can take advantage of. The high cost of college (and the limited ability of pregnant women in college to earn a full-time wage) doesn’t have to be a roadblock. If you’re pregnant and looking to get into college, you have a handful of scholarship and other financial aid options.
Why Are Scholarships Important for Pregnant Women?
Going to college while pregnant is a sort of financial perfect storm. Doctor’s office visits are common during pregnancy, and they don’t come for free. Tuition rates are going up, and a pregnant woman in college may find she has to spend too much time studying to work enough hours to make a decent wage. Scholarships are important for pregnant women because they may not have enough cash to take care of their health, the health of the baby, and pay her college tuition.
There’s another side to the story; often, pregnant women of college age are ostracized or looked down on in their community. Young single mothers are something of a spectacle, the subject of shame from their peers , and don’t have access to the same resources as other young girls who have not gotten pregnant. Scholarships that support pregnant women do their part to turn an otherwise shameful pregnancy into a beautiful opportunity for personal growth on the mother’s part.
If a pregnant woman earns a scholarship and is able to work her way through to a four-year degree thanks to that aid, she’ll be better prepared to take care of her child. That’s the main concern of most pregnant women who are looking for scholarships: the ability to take care of their new family.
How Hard Is It to Find Scholarships for Pregnant Women?
Scholarships given especially to women who are currently pregnant aren’t very common at all. In fact, a little bit of Google searching comes up with not a single scholarship currently offered only to women who are currently pregnant. But that doesn’t mean that scholarships for pregnant women are impossible to find.
A pregnant woman’s best bet when hunting for a scholarship is to look for scholarships for moms. If you are pregnant but not married, you can also find plenty of scholarships for single moms. Because pregnancy is a temporary thing (even if sometimes it feels like it might last forever), scholarships committees tend to reward motherhood rather than simple pregnancy.
Finding a scholarship aimed at a mother or single mother means researching organizations aimed at supporting young mothers or mothers in difficult situations, talking to the financial aid offices at the colleges you’re interested in, and even talking directly to businesses in your area about starting a scholarship program for young mothers like yourself. Generally, as far as scholarships are concerned, you get out of your search what you put into it.
Here are a handful of the most popular scholarship offers for pregnant women.
Scholarship Offers for Women Who Are Pregnant
Thanks to the US government, pregnant students are protected from any sort of discrimination at the level of higher education. That includes giving pregnant women access to all grants and scholarships offered to other students. This is due to Title IX, a law regarding gender and other types of discrimination.
To make things a little easier on mom, when the baby is born, she no doubt will qualify for child care subsidies as long as she enrolls half-time at a college or university. Along the way, mom can contact one of several foundations that provide scholarships and grants aimed at helping pregnant women and young mothers pay for college.
The Sister Thea Bowman Foundation is an example of a group dedicated to a specific cause; providing funds for single African-American mothers to attend the College of St. Mary. That college, located in Omaha, Nebraska, works closely with the Sister Thea Bowman Foundation to hand out plenty of scholarships to young black single moms who want to better themselves. You can find similar organizations at colleges all over the country.
The Association for Women in Science scholarship may not at first sound like aid aimed at pregnant women or single mothers, and technically it isn’t. But we show this scholarship as an example of the sort of award that pregnant women or single moms should go for, even though the award isn’t tailored specifically for pregnant women. This award is good for up to $1,000 a year for any woman majoring in the field of science.
A final example of the type of scholarship a single mom or pregnant woman might be interested in comes from Soroptomist International. Their Women’s Opportunity Awards are given to women who serve as the primary head of their household, so basically single moms. Depending on the woman’s financial need and the cost of tuition at her chosen school, this award could pay for a mom’s entire college education.
The variety of scholarships and awards available to pregnant women is much larger than people assume. For a pregnant woman to earn a college degree is for her to support her family in the future, independent of outside help. Plenty of organizations are ready to support pregnant women through the financial difficulties of college, you just have to know where to look.
by Will Roby