There are no special student loans available to single mothers. They have access to the same options as other borrowers. This includes federal student loans, which continue to be the de facto standard for paying for college.
Read on to learn more about how being a single mother may impact your ability to borrow and repay student loans.
Federal student loans for single mothers
With no age or family restrictions, federal student loans are a great option for single mothers.
You must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for federal student loans. S. citizen or permanent resident with a Social Security number. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed and submitted by the school’s deadline in order to be considered for federal student loans.
Colleges use the FAFSA form to determine what kind and how much financial aid you are eligible for. You won’t be eligible for federal student loans until the following year if you don’t complete the FAFSA or miss the deadline.
Federal Direct Loans are available to undergraduate students, and Direct Loans and PLUS Loans are available to graduate students. Additionally, parents of undergraduate students may borrow money through Parent PLUS loans to help pay for their children’s college expenses.
The federal government divides students into two categories: dependent students and independent students. Independent students have higher federal loan limits than dependent students. In the case of a single mother who qualifies as an independent student, more financial aid may be available. You can check your dependency status on the federal student aid website.
What a self-sufficient student may borrow in federal loans and how much of that may be subsidized is as follows:
|Year in school||Total annual borrowing limit||Total that can be subsidized|
|Third-year undergraduate and beyond||$12,500||$5,500|
|Graduate or professional student||$20,500||None|
|Aggregate||$57,500 for undergraduate students and $138,500 for graduate students||$23,000 for undergraduate students and $65,500 for graduate students|
What can a single mother use student loans for?
Only eligible educational costs, such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, technology, and supplies, are eligible for federal student loans. Additionally, single mothers might be able to use their student loans to pay for daycare costs.
When applying for federal loans, you can specify whether you want the maximum amount, just enough to pay for tuition, or just enough to pay for both. If you borrow the maximum, you can use any money left over after paying for tuition to cover room and board and other necessary costs.
Can single mothers get student loan forgiveness?
Depending on your profession, you may qualify for a variety of loan forgiveness options if you’re a single mother with federal student loans.
The PSLF program (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) is one of the most popular choices. You must make 120 payments while employed full-time for a recognized government agency or nonprofit organization in order to be eligible for PSLF. Additionally, you must continuously follow an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. You can apply to have the remaining loan balance forgiven after making 120 payments.
Single mothers who are eligible for PSLF should fill out the annual employment certification form, which requires information about their employment and student loan status. Filling out this form annually will ensure that your payments are being counted correctly for PSLF.
Here are some common jobs that will qualify for PSLF:
You can choose to have your loan forgiven based on your income if your employer doesn’t comply with the PSLF requirements. Depending on the plan and the kind of loans you have, you must be on an IDR plan for 20 or 25 years to be eligible for this program. Your remaining loan balance will be forgiven once the term is over.
Borrowers won’t be required to pay taxes on the forgiven balance until 2025. According to some experts, this will remain a constant feature of the program.
There are also various loan forgiveness programs for specific professions. For example, the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program offers up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for teachers who work in a low-income school for five consecutive years.
For pharmacists, mental health counselors, nurses, and other health professionals, there are additional loan forgiveness and repayment programs. Special loan repayment programs are also available to attorneys who work for nonprofits or the government.
Any private company that contacts you and offers to forgive your debt if you sign up with them should be avoided. They might be identity thieves or con artists attempting to trick you into paying for a service that is already free.
Private student loans for single mothers
When federal student loans are at their maximum and single mothers need additional funds, they can turn to private student loans. Sadly, private student loans might be more difficult to get than federal loans.
You will frequently need to meet credit and income score requirements from private student loan lenders. To be eligible for a private student loan without a cosigner, your credit score typically needs to be at least 650. Income requirements vary depending on the lender.
The cosigner will be held accountable by the lender if you stop making payments or default on the loan. As long as they comply with the lender’s requirements, you can choose whoever you want to serve as the cosigner. Most people choose a relative, partner, or close friend.
Applying for a student loan through Ascent or Funding U, two lenders that don’t require cosigners for their student loans, is an option if you don’t have anyone to ask.
>> Read More: Best private student loans
How private student loan terms compare to federal loans
Particularly for undergraduate students, private student loans frequently have loan limits that are higher than those of federal loans. You may be able to borrow up to the annual cost of attendance less any other financial aid in some circumstances.
Sadly, private student loans have higher interest rates as well, sometimes reaching double digits. Additionally, they lack flexibility and infrequently provide options for extended deferment and forbearance or income-driven repayment.
Private student lenders also rarely offer loan forgiveness programs. There may be some federal and private loan repayment programs that are applicable to certain occupations only, such as those in the legal and medical fields.
>> Read More: Adult student loans
Alternatives to student loans
If you’re a single parent, you might be eligible for other forms of financial aid like grants and scholarships. Scholarships and grants, in contrast to student loans, are not repaid. This generally makes them a better option for students.
You will likely be eligible for need-based aid, including federal and state-based grants like the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The Pell Grant can pay up to $6,895 per year and the FSEOG award can pay up to $4,000 per year.
Some single mothers might also be eligible for work-study, a type of financial aid in which students are given a job on campus or with a connected organization. Work-study positions typically average 10 to 15 hours per week and are paid at or just above minimum wage.
Fill out the FAFSA
Filling out the FAFSA, the same form you must use for federal student loans, will automatically make you eligible for work-study and federal grants. If you want to be eligible for federal financial aid, you must submit the FAFSA each year.
Because some grants, like the FSEOG, are only available on a first-come, first-served basis, try to submit the FAFSA as soon as you can. Additionally, many institutions have a cap on the number of internal grants and scholarships they can offer.
You should also look into both need-based and merit-based scholarships. Inquire about the process for applying for internal scholarships at the university and whether a different form is required. Mention that you are a single mother without hesitation; the institution may have special resources for parents who are also students.
Finally, you should search for scholarships through third-party sites.
If at all possible, look for scholarships created especially for parents or single parents. Additionally, search for scholarships relevant to your field of study, interests, or background. For instance, if you are a first-generation college student, look for scholarships for that demographic.
Is there student loan forgiveness for single mothers?
If you’re a single mother with federal student loans, depending on your profession, you may be eligible for several different loan forgiveness options. The PSLF program (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) is one of the most popular choices.
How do single moms pay off student loans?
- Refinance student loans.
- Explore your options for student loan forgiveness.
- Sign up for income-driven repayment.
- Defer or forbear student loans.
- Increase your income.
- Use public assistance.
Who qualifies for student loans forgiveness?
What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)? The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans following 120 payments while you are employed full-time by a qualifying federal, state, local, tribal, or nonprofit organization.
What is the income limit for student loan forgiveness?
Your annual income must have been less than $125,000 for individuals, $250,000 for married couples, or the head of household in order to be eligible. If you were awarded a Pell Grant while in college and earn the required amount, you may be qualified for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness.