Local nonprofit, the single parent scholarship program is making college dreams become a reality.
According to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research report there are 22,000 single Oklahoma mothers are enrolled in college. Only 8% percent of those are expected graduate.
That’s why in 2016 Ellen Ingram started the single parent scholarship program. Since its inception, the program has awarded $100,000 to single parents attending college.
Most recipients receive $1,000 per semester, available twice a year, to use any way they need it.
Melanie Armstrong found out about the program through an email and was able to put the money to good use.
“I got new tires on my car.” Armstrong said. “I was able to get four new tires for the first time ever.”
In addition to the money, each participant is paired with a mentor for added support.
Katie Resneder went through the program and now has her master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. She now serves as a mentor with the program.
“It is hard, it’s not easy. It takes lots of will power and determination and focus, and lots of organizing your time,” Resender said.
Ingram said they currently have 21 parents in the program from the spring semester and expect 20-25 for the fall.
“We encourage you, if you think you are eligible, please apply.” Ingram said. “We will reward scholarships again in August for the 2021 semester. “
Some of the requirements for the program are based on income. The college must also be located in Oklahoma, Cleveland, or Logan County. There is a list of qualifications on the foundation’s website.
Ingram said many of the participants are the first person in their families to go to college. She said when the kids of those participants see the determination and hard work by their parents, it raises the bar for the family.
“What happens is those kids are much more likely to go to college themselves.” Ingram explained. “So, we are changing families for generations.”
The program is available for single moms as well as single dads and is ongoing for as long as needed for participants to get their bachelor's degree.