Applications are now being accepted for mothers with school-aged children who want to earn their first degree.
ANSWER Scholarship plans to award scholarships to 25 women in the counties of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Stanly or Union in North Carolina, or in South Carolina’s Lancaster or York counties.
Susan Andersen, the company’s founder, says her family couldn’t afford to take her to college when she finished from high school. She was eventually able to enroll and graduate from UNC Charlotte thanks to a scholarship provided by a local group.
“It impacted me profoundly,” Andersen said. “The lightbulb moment came and I said I want to pay this forward one day, and the opportunity came at the end of 2005 when I started the ANSWER Scholarship.”
Since then, more than 125 women have received the scholarship while they pursue two-year associate degrees or four-year bachelor’s degrees in Mecklenburg and adjacent counties.
“I felt like if you help a mom get an education, then you will also impact her children as well,” Andersen said.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, high school graduates who have at least one parent with a college degree or certificate are more likely to attend college within three years of graduation.
Amy Roberts, a mother of three, is a junior at UNC Charlotte and the ANSWER Scholarship recipient.
“[It’s for moms] who are trying to juggle all these things,” Roberts said. “It’s a way to relieve some of that stress, and help them get that first degree so that they can pursue careers that will support their family.”
The scholarship includes a mentor and a network of other mothers who are in a similar circumstance.
Scholarships range from $2,750 to $5,500 each year for two-year degrees and $5,500 to $5,500 for four-year degrees.