Pregnant students are protected under Title IX from any gender-based discrimination in higher education, including access to grants and scholarships. In addition, once the baby is born, students may qualify for child care subsidies while they are studying at least half-time at university. In addition, several foundations offer scholarships and grants specifically to help pregnant and parenting women attend college.
History of Title IX
Passed in 1972, a federal law called Title IX covers state and local agencies that receive Department of Education funds, including 3,200 colleges and universities and 5,000 for-profit schools. According to the Department of Education's website, programs and activities which receive these funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner, including, but not limited to, admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. As a result, pregnant students are eligible to receive grants and scholarships from any school or university that a non-pregnant student would also be eligible for. Additionally, she may apply for and receive state and federal grants, such as federal Pell grants, based on her level of income.
The cost of attending college for pregnant students may eventually include childcare expenses. Luckily, several colleges and universities offer subsidized childcare for their students, which also counts as reportable income to those students. Check out the Single Mother College Guide's website, http://katherinearnoldi.com/SearchforColleges.html, for a listing of colleges and universities by state that have these subsidies.
Grants and Scholarships for Pregnant Women or Mothers
College Mom Magazine, run by the same publisher as the Single Mother College Guide, lists several scholarships and grants for pregnant or parenting students at http://collegemommagazine.com/scholarshipsformoms.html. Some examples include: Association for Women in Science; Soroptomist International; and the Sister Thea Bowman Foundation, for African-American single mothers to attend the College of St. Mary in Omaha, Nebraska. The website also lists many other scholarships that are specific to women but do not require parenting status.
Grant Opportunities Based on Personal Characteristics
Pregnant or parenting students will also find grants and scholarships available based on personal characteristics in addition to their gender, such as age, ethnicity, leadership ability, academic ability, and subject of academic study. College Mom Magazine lists many such opportunities, ranging from the Gates Foundation to the Anita Borg Scholarship.
Attending college while raising a family may not be easy, but rest assured that many have done so before you, and it is very possible to excel at both parenting and motherhood simultaneously. It helps if you can qualify for enough financial aid and scholarships to study full time.