There are over 10 million single-parent families in the United States and nearly 80% of those families are headed by single mothers. Most people with student loan debt feel that they will likely die with the debt still unpaid. To add to this, more often than not, single parents tend to leave school with higher debt and accumulate debt at a faster pace.
The good news? If you are a single mom (or a single parent), there might be some ways to lower your debt or have it forgiven completely. Let’s go over some helpful resources for you as you navigate student loan debt.
If you want some additional free information to build your net worth and budget like a boss, check out my free guide here.
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs, Grants, and Repayment Options:
This is the official U.S. Department of Education website for federal student loans. Single moms can find information on loan options, repayment plans, and loan consolidation. Find more on their website here.
2. Income-Driven Repayment Plans (IDRs)
These plans base monthly payments on the borrower’s income and family size, which can be beneficial for single moms with limited income. They can explore various IDR options, such as Income-Base Repayment (IBR), Pays As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pays As You Earn (REPAYE).
3. Loan Consolidation
Single moms can consolidate multiple federal student loans into a single loan with a fixed interest rate through Direct Consolidation Loan.
4. National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
This website provides an overview of all federal student loans, including loan balances, servicer information, and loan statuses. Access the website here.
5. AmeriCorps and Peace Corps
Joining these organizations can provide opportunities for loan deferment, partial loan forgiveness or a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Learn more here.
6. State-Based Loan Assistance Programs
Some states offer loan assistance programs for residents. You should check with your state’s higher education agency or Department of Education for available programs.
7. Non-Profit Organizations
Certain non-profit organizations may provide financial assistance or resources for single moms with student loans. Examples include organizations like the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund.
8. Student Loan Counseling Services
Consider seeking guidance from non-profit credit counseling agencies that offer student loan counseling to understand repayment options and financial planning.
9. Crowdfunding Resources
Opportunities like GoFund Me and other crowdfunding websites might be worth exploring if you have student loan debt that needs to be paid. Crowdfunding websites have become increasingly popular and it’s not uncommon for people to receive help with things like college tuition or student loan debt.
10. Local Resources
Check with local community organizations, women’s shelters, and social service agencies, as they may have resources or information on financial assistance for single moms.
State-Specific Options for Loans, Grants, and Debt Forgiveness:
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) offers several grant and loan forgiveness programs, such as the California Dream Act for undocumented students, that can provide financial assistance to single moms pursuing higher education. Click here for more information.
2. New York
The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) provides various financial aid programs, including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Excelsior Scholarship for eligible single moms. Learn more here.
The Texas Education Coordinating Board (THECB) administers grant and loan forgiveness programs like the Texas Public Educational Grant (LRAP), which can be beneficial for single moms managing student loan debt. Click here to learn more.
The Florida Department of Education offers the Florida Student Assistance Grant (FSAG) and the Florida Work Experience Program (FWEP), providing financial aid opportunities to single moms in the state. For more details, visit this website.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) provides grants and scholarships, including the Monetary Ward Program (MAP) and the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG), which can be valuable resources for single moms pursuing higher education. Check out this website for more information.
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) offers grants and loan forgiveness programs, such as the Pennsylvania State Grant and the Loan Forgiveness Program for Nurses, that can assist single moms with their student loans. Learn more here.
The Michigan Department of Treasury provides grant options like the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), which can be valuable for single moms seeking financial aid for education. Visit here for details.
The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) offers the HOPE scholarship and the HOPE Grant, along with other financial aid programs, providing support to single moms pursuing higher education in Georgia. Find more information by clicking here.
The Ohio Department of Higher Education offers the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) and the Choose Ohio First Scholarship for qualified single moms, which can provide financial assistance for educational pursuits. Visit here for more details.
The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) provides the Washington College Grant and various other financial aid resources, offering support to single moms in Washington state. Learn more here.
Student Loan Relief Programs, by Profession:
1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
This program provides loan forgiveness to individuals who work full-time for qualifying public service organizations, including government and non-profit employees. After making 120 qualifying payments, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven.
2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Offers loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 on Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans for teachers in low-income schools.
3. Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
Offers loan repayment assistance to registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse faculty who work in critical shortage areas.
4. National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
Provides loan repayment assistance to healthcare professionals (such as doctors, dentists, and mental health clinicians) working in underserved communities.
5. Legal Education Public Service Loan Forgiveness (LSAP)
Offers loan assistance to law graduates working in public interest law.
6. Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program
Provides loan repayment assistance to health professionals working in Indian health programs.
7. Military Student Loan Forgiveness
Offers loan forgiveness programs to service members in certain branches of the military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard.
8. Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)
Provides loan repayment assistance to veterinarians working in designated shortage areas.
9. State-Specific Loan Forgiveness Programs
Some states have their own loan forgiveness programs for professionals working in specific fields and underserved areas.
10. Federal Agency-Specific Loan Repayment Programs
Certain federal agencies have specific loan repayment programs to attract professionals to critical positions within the agency.
Beware of Scams
When it comes to student loan forgiveness, beware of scammers! You can never be too cautious in protecting your resources, time, and identity. Here are some easy steps to ensure you stay safe:
1. Double-check the source
Only trust those well-known sources like the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Student Aid. Some scammers may even try to pretend to be one of these sources, but there is usually something “off” about how they present themselves. Maybe the link isn’t an official Department of Education website, maybe they give a personal Gmail account to contact, or maybe you just sense something funny in their choice of words and approach. It’s always worth double-checking the source by calling their official number and researching them online.
2. Do a little homework
Make yourself familiar with legit forgiveness programs (like the ones above) and see if you meet their eligibility criteria. If any program promises instant forgiveness or asks for money upfront, run the other way!
3. No upfront fees
Remember, legit student loan forgiveness programs don’t need money upfront. So, if anyone asks for payment before they offer help, just say no.
4. Stay in the loop
Keep yourself updated on the latest news about student loan forgiveness. You never know when a new opportunity might pop up!
5. Keep your personal information safe
Hold tight to your personal details, Social Security number, and financial info. Don’t share that information with anyone you don’t fully trust.
6. Report it
And lastly, if you think that you’ve stumbled upon a scammy situation, don’t hesitate to report it. Let the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state’s Attorney General know about it!
By taking these precautions and staying informed, you can protect yourself from student loan forgiveness scams. As a single mom, I would venture to guess you have a lot already on your plate. The last thing you need is identity theft or even worse. Keep your wits about you and remember to listen to your gut if something feels “off”.
If you are a single mom with student loan debt, you are not without options. Know that you are not alone and, thankfully, there are potential solutions to help you lower your debt or have it completely absolved. Living with the stress of student loan debt can be costly for your wallet and your emotions. If you are looking for options, it’s definitely worth investigating state-specific and career-specific options to help lower your debt. If you have yet to attend college or are currently in college and are worried about the debt you have accumulated, there are grants and scholarships that might cover your expenses. With a little bit of investigating, you might be surprised how many resources are available to you!
If you want to know my favorite student loan refinancing option, check out Juno here.