CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Applications are open for moms of school age children looking to complete 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.
Founder Susan Andersen says when she graduated from high school, her family couldn't afford to send her to college. She was ultimately able to attend and graduate from UNC Charlotte with the help of a local organization's scholarship.
"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, the scholarship has been awarded to more than 125 women earning their two-year associate degrees or four-year bachelor's degrees in Mecklenburg and the surrounding 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 of Education Statistics, high school graduates are more likely to go to college within three years of graduation if at least one parent has a college degree or certificate.
Amy Roberts, a mother of three, is a junior at UNC Charlotte and a recipient of the ANSWER Scholarship.
"[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 comes with a mentor and a network of other moms who are all going through a similar situation.
Scholarship funds range from $2,750 a year for two-year degrees to $5,500 a year for four-year degrees.