Single mothers, married mothers both come up against the same issues. Let’s face it, the struggles are pretty much the same. Daycare costs, husbands that work full-time to support wife and children, too much month at the end of the money. We have a system that doesn’t support returning to school very well at all in this country. If your not lucky enough to have parents that helped plan college costs while you were in high school or well before it’s tough. Because of the reforms in welfare you have limited time to pursue higher education goals, with help from the state funded programs.
Here’s how I have handled my financial status: first, I have decided that being without state help is best for less stress on my family and myself as a student, with the exception of food-stamps, a medical card for my son and myself. My husband is uninsured at his job. Second, I got involved with my neighbors here at the University housing and we swap babysitting time. Without this I could not afford to keep going. I use my daycare provider sparingly, to save money. My son attends school for half-days Monday -Thursdays and this helps him to get his education, socialization and of course household budget is eased. Third, I joined the non-traditional student union to keep my voice heard about daycare subsidy issues affecting families of single parents, and two parent households returning to college.
Next, I use all of the college provided services, health center, dental clinic, counseling centers to help keep my family and me out of the red, and student life is full with laundry, housework, paperwork, study groups, projects in study groups, presentations, essays, mid-terms, and of course finals. I am not able to take much in the way of breaks and vacations, Those will have to come in the years following graduation.
No, student life is not a way of life that is easily lived for more than a few short years. Until we decide in our great country to make it less of a burden for non-traditional students to go back to school and be successful as a society, it is left up to the individual to plan, arrange and carry the burden of higher education goals. My advice is this, make a good solid plan that can be carried out. If you can get your degree in two years all the better. Reach out to friends, neighbors, and family as much as possible for support. Sorry I don’t have miracle cures or shortcuts. That is a fact of life. I only chant a quote that is well known : “the tassel is worth the hassle”. Poor for a few years and struggling – or poor for life. 2 choices really- choose wisely.