According to the Pew Research Center, one-quarter of children in the United States are raised by a single parent.
Growing up as the child of a single parent can present its own set of unique opportunities and challenges, even if it isn’t as uncommon as it once was. Some children report stronger familial bonds, whereas others struggle to make ends meet.
Educational costs can be especially burdensome for single-parent families who only have one income. Fortunately, there are a number of high-quality scholarships available to students raised by single mothers, fathers, or other single guardians.

Read More: 5 Benefits of E-Learning Resources for Growing Kids

Many of these single-parent scholarships require you to fill out the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA®) and calculate your expected family contribution (EFC) to your college education. Not sure where to start? Use our custom tools to calculate your EFC and answer the most difficult questions on the FAFSA®. Then join Going Merry to find even more scholarships tailored to you.

20 Scholarships for Children of Single Parents

It makes no difference if you lost a parent due to illness or an accident, or if your parents simply divorced when you were young: these awards are available to dependent children from all types of single-parent households. Start your scholarship search here if you were raised by a single parent.

1. Vincent Bennett Jr. Memorial Scholarship

The sum is $20,000

First Responders Children’s Foundation is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a college, university, technical or vocational school
The child of a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty
Application Prerequisites: Transcript, three letters of recommendation, a student aid report, a financial aid award letter, proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency, proof of acceptance or enrollment, a personal statement, a headshot, a list of honors and awards, a picture of the first responder’s ID, or a letter from the employer this four-year award, named after Vincent Bennett Jr., a dedicated member of the First Responders Children’s Foundation, provides financial assistance to one exceptional college freshman each academic year.

To be eligible for the Vincent Bennett Jr. Memorial Scholarship, you must be the child of a fallen firefighter or law enforcement officer. While there is no required field of study, engineering students will be given preference. Community service and academic excellence will also help you stand out.

2. The Toby Merrill Scholarship

The total amount is $9,700.

The Toby Merrill Scholarship Fund is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or university full-time
Application Prerequisites: Essay, extracurricular activities list, honors, and awards list Toby Merrill was a dedicated father, husband, and friend who tragically died of cancer.

To honor Toby, his family and friends established the Toby Merrill Scholarship, which assists students who have lost a parent in paying for their higher education.

Due to Toby’s dedication to community service, scholarship recipients will be required to complete 10 volunteer hours each year in order to renew their scholarships. While it is not a requirement for entry, students experiencing hardship due to bereavement and/or cancer are given priority.

3. First Responders Children’s Foundation Scholarship

The amount varies.

First Responders Children’s Foundation is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a college, university, technical or vocational school
A first responder’s biological, adopted, or a stepchild who died in the line of duty.
A transcript, three letters of recommendation, and a student aid report are all required for the application.

financial aid award letter, proof of US citizenship or legal permanent residency, proof of acceptance or enrollment, personal statement, headshot, list of honors and awards, photo of first responder’s ID, or letter from employer you’re the child of a fallen first responder, the First Responders Children’s Foundation Scholarship could help you pay for college.

The award amount varies from year to year, but the maximum award amount is $6,250, and it can be renewed annually for a maximum of four years. Applicants whose parents died while on the job are given preference. (Stepchildren of deceased first responders are also eligible if they were listed as a dependent on their parent’s tax returns prior to the first responder’s death.)

4. Jennifer Casey Alderman Scholarship Award

The sum is $10,000.

Twisted Pink is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Residents of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, or Tennessee
A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
a child whose mother died of metastatic breast cancer
Application Prerequisites: Essay

Twisted Pink promotes research and cares for people with metastatic breast cancer. The Jennifer Casey Alderman Scholarship Award was established in memory of Jennifer Casey Alderman, a mother, and wife who died as a result of the disease.

To apply, you must write an essay on any topic of your choice. (Do you require assistance with your essay? Use the essay tips from Going Merry to help you write the perfect one.) You must also provide proof of your eligibility in the form of an obituary, death certificate, or letter from your parent’s medical oncologist. Scholarship recipients may renew their award for an additional $2,500 each year.

5. Ava’s Grace Scholarship

The sum is $5,000.

The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Residents of Missouri or Illinois (limited to the following Illinois counties: Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, or St. Clair counties)
A minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
Child of a parent who is or has been incarcerated in a federal prison in the United States (state or federal)
Application Prerequisites: Transcript, FAFSA® completed, student aid report, personal statement, and resume the Ava’s Grace Scholarship is offered by the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis to students who have at least one incarcerated parent.

The scholarship was named after Ava, who established it in response to her own mother’s incarceration and her desire to use education to break the cycle of incarceration. To be eligible, you must have lived in Missouri or a few select counties in Illinois for at least two years. Students with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $1,500 or less are given priority.

(If your EFC is higher than $1,500, you can still apply, but you must show extenuating circumstances.) In your personal statement, explain how having an incarcerated parent has impacted your education, development, and future goals. This grant is renewable for a maximum of eight semesters.

6. The 9/11 Promise Scholarship

The amount varies.

9/11 Promise is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
People under the age of 25
Child of a first responder or member of the armed forces who died in the line of duty
2 letters of recommendation, an essay, a personal statement, and a list of honors and awards are required for application.The 9/11 Promise Scholarship was established to honor those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.

Today, the award is given to 11 deserving young students whose lives have been irreversibly altered as a result of the death of a first-responder parent. The amounts range from $5,000 to $15,000. This college scholarship can be used to pay for undergraduate or graduate studies, as well as trade or vocational school.

The essay prompt asks students to write about what they’ve learned from having a parent as a first responder. (You must also provide proof of death and documentation of your parent’s military service.)

7. ReWritten Scholarship

The amount varies.

ReWritten is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Enrolled in or planning to enroll in a college, university, trade school, or vocational school
A child brought up by a single mother
Application Prerequisites: Personal assertionStatistically, children raised without fathers are more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods, face incarceration, commit suicide, or flee their homes but ReWritten wants to change that story.

They established the ReWritten Scholarship to assist students from fatherless homes. The award, which ranges from $500 to $5,000, is intended to assist college students in gaining access to a better future. To apply, students must submit a written plan for their future education as well as proof of financial need.

8. Life Lessons Scholarship Program

The amount varies.

Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
17 to 24 years old
Child of a deceased parent or legal guardian
Application Prerequisites: Essay

If you’ve lost a parent or guardian, the Life Lessons Scholarship Program can help you pay for college. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for this award. To apply, submit an essay or a three-minute video discussing how your parent’s death affected your life and your future plans.

This award is sponsored by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, so please explain how a lack of appropriate life insurance affected your family financially if applicable. The amount of the award varies, but the total amount for all prizes (usually around 40 total) is $250,000.

9. The Family Scholarship Fund

The amount varies.

The American Society of Safety Professionals Foundation is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
A parent’s child who died in a workplace accident
Transcripts and essays are required for applications. The American Society of Safety Professionals Foundation established the Family Scholarship Fund as part of its mission to assist those pursuing careers in occupational safety or health. The fund helps students who have lost a parent in a workplace incident with their college costs. The award amount varies depending on the year and financial need. Because the application requirements are fairly flexible (students can pursue a degree full-time or part-time, for example), the selection committee evaluates each application individually. Write an essay about how the death of a parent affected your life for the best chance of winning.

10. Operation Second Chance Scholarship

The total amount is $3,500.

Operation Second Chance is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Enrolled as a senior in high school
Child of a veteran who died as a result of combat-related injuries
Unmarried
A transcript, student aid reports, and proof of acceptance or enrollment are required for the application. Operation Second Chance helps veterans and their families. To that end, the organization provides the Operation Second Chance Scholarship to the children of veterans killed in action.

To apply, you must be a high school senior who plans to further your education in the coming school year. There are no GPA or standardized test score requirements, and students can plan to attend any type of post-secondary school, including community colleges, universities, vocational schools, and trade schools.

11. Colwell Law Single Parent Scholarship

The sum is $1,000.

Colwell Law

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Attending college or university
A child raised by a single mother
A transcript, essay, and resume are required for application.

Colwell Law, a firm that specializes in family and divorce law, understands how expensive it can be for single parents to send their children to college. They endow the Colwell Law Single Parent Scholarship to help bridge that financial gap.

The award is open to both children of single parents and single parents. The application asks applicants to write an essay about how growing up in a single-parent household shaped their values, character, and goals.

12. The Quell Foundation Survivor Scholarship

The sum is $1,000.

The Quell Foundation is the provider. Fund in memory of Irene Pasierb

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 3.4 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
Suicide-related child of a parent, carer, or sibling
Application Prerequisites: Personal statement, transcript

The Quell Foundation is a charitable organization. The Irene Pasierb Memorial Fund is committed to improving education and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. The Quell Foundation Survivor Scholarship is awarded to students who have lost a parent, carer, or sibling to suicide on an annual basis.

Current high school seniors planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree, as well as current undergraduate and graduate students, are eligible for the scholarship. Your personal statement should explain how the death of a family member has impacted your life and education. (Refer to our advice on how to write a compelling personal statement that will set you apart from the crowd.)

13. Encore Protection Victims of Drunk Driving Scholarship

The sum is $1,000.

Encore Protection is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
A parent’s child who died in a drunk-driving accident
Application Prerequisites: Essay, transcript

Encore Protection offers roadside assistance to motorists throughout the United States. Encore is committed to putting an end to drunk driving as part of its overall goal of improving driver safety. In order to help this cause, they established the Encore Protection Victims of Drunk Driving Scholarship.

This award assists students who have lost a parent in a drunk driving accident in financing their post-secondary education. To apply, you must write an essay about the effects of drunk driving on you and the community as a whole.

14. The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund Scholarship

The sum is $1,000.

The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
Child of a parent who died as a result of drug, alcohol, or prescription drug abuse
Application Prerequisites: Transcript, acceptance or enrollment proof, essay

The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund was established in memory of Lisa Michelle, a mother who tragically died as a result of an addiction. Every year, the Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund Scholarship assists a deserving student who has lost a parent to alcohol or drug abuse.

Students are asked to write an essay about their experience of losing a parent to addiction for this scholarship opportunity. According to your assertion, Make it a point to explain how a college education will benefit both you and your family.

15. FOZA Scholarship for Maternal Mental Health Awareness

The sum is $1,000.

Friends of Zayne Adams, Inc. is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

A minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, and/or Native American
Enrolled in or planning to enroll in a college, university, trade school, or vocational school
Child of a parent who committed suicide due to postpartum depression
Application Requirements: Essay, transcript

According to the National Library of Medicine, postpartum depression is a common and often undiagnosed illness that affects up to 15% of new mothers. One of them was Zayne Adams’ mother. His mother’s friends and family came together to create the FOZA Scholarship for Maternal Mental Health Awareness after he lost her in the first month of his life.

This scholarship program assists children whose mothers committed suicide as a result of postpartum depression. To apply, you must write an essay about why community service is important to you. Students pursuing undergraduate, associate’s, and/or trade degrees are eligible for this award.

16. Tuition and Fee Exemption for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans Grant

Total cost: Full tuition and fees

The state of Indiana is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Inhabitant of Indiana
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
Persons under the age of 33
Child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who died or was permanently disabled in the line of duty
Application Prerequisites: FAFSA® completed, student aid report

The Tuition and Fee Exemption for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans Grant, unlike many of the scholarships on this list, is a grant program funded by the Indiana Department of Education.

This program was designed specifically for students who live in Indiana and intend to pursue a college degree there. Students must remain enrolled in a degree program at a public university or college to maintain eligibility. If you are eligible for this grant, you will have up to eight years to use it, allowing you to pause your studies at any time and return to school as needed.

17. Redrick Leijon Nicholas Williams Scholarship

The sum is $5,000.

Greater Emmanuel Temple Church is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Male Black/African American from Los Angeles County
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
A child brought up by a single mother
Application requirements include a transcript, three letters of recommendation, an essay, and a video essay. Greater Emmanuel Temple Church, a pillar of the Los Angeles Black community, established the Redrick Leijon Nicholas Williams Scholarship to assist Black men raised by single mothers.

The award is named after a strong community leader and Greater Emmanuel Temple Church member who worked tirelessly to support his single mother and four younger siblings. This award is given to one graduating high school senior each year to honor his strength.

To qualify, you must be starting a two- or four-year program. Students must submit a 90-second video about their mother, including her sacrifices and the role she played in the applicant’s life, in addition to a written essay.

18. The Foster Hope Award

The sum is $500.

Foster Hope is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Wisconsin native
A minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
Attending college or university
Have you been through a traumatic life event?
Application Prerequisites: Transcripts, two letters of recommendation, proof of residency, and an essay are required. The Foster Hope Award, which was originally designed for children raised in the foster care system, has now been expanded to include all Wisconsin students who have experienced childhood hardship.

To win, you must have experienced a traumatic life event, such as the death of a parent, and be able to write an essay about how you have demonstrated hope in the face of adversity.

Applicants who are Central Wisconsin residents or who have attended the Royal Family Kids Camp will be given preference during the selection process. You must also be enrolled in an in-state college or university.

19. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

The amount varies.

Provider: United States Department of Education

Requirements for Eligibility:

Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
Child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who died while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan
Your expected family contribution makes you ineligible for the Pell Grant, but you meet all other Pell Grant eligibility requirements.
Application Prerequisites: FAFSA®, student aid report and proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency are all required. The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is a U.S. Department of Education grant program.

To be eligible, you must not be eligible for the Pell Grant because of your EFC, but you must meet the other Pell Grant requirements for financial need and US citizenship. The amount of the award varies each year, but it cannot exceed the cost of your tuition.

If you meet the criteria, you can receive this grant for up to 12 semesters. To renew, simply continue to complete the FAFSA® each year.

20. Children of Veterans Tuition Grant

The amount varies.

The state of Michigan is the provider.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Michigan native
Currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a college or university
between the ages of 16 and 26
Child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who died or became permanently disabled while serving
Application Prerequisites: FAFSA® completed, student aid report

The Children of Veterans Tuition Grant is a grant program designed to assist Michigan students in obtaining their desired college degrees.

To be eligible, you must have a veteran parent who died or became permanently disabled while serving in the military. The award is renewable for up to four years or $11,200 if the recipient maintains a GPA of 2.25 or higher overall.

The amount of the scholarship varies depending on your financial need as determined by the FAFSA® and your course load, but the maximum for a full-time student is $2,800 per year.

Get more scholarships delivered to you with Going Merry

Losing a parent, whether through death or personal circumstances, can cause unimaginable grief, not to mention significant financial hardship. This is especially true if you grew up in a low-income neighborhood.

Having only one breadwinner can make attending college more difficult, but it does not have to prevent you from receiving your degree. Financial assistance is now available to children from single-parent households, thanks to an increase in the number of scholarship opportunities.

Going Merry can help you keep track of application deadlines, understand financial aid, and find other relevant scholarships. Our user-friendly platform selects awards based on your financial need, personal preferences, and interests. Sign up for Going Merry today to streamline your scholarship search and application process.