Single parents who elect to continue their education face a far more difficult task than undergraduates fresh out of high school. They have to balance studying with work and children, and running a home. The greatest pressure can be financial, so it important to plan ahead and have as much financial aid as possible in place. Having an end goal in mind helps too, and can give incentive to the single parent student to pursue their college dreams.
In order to be able to fund college, as well as coping with the everyday expenses of running a home and paying for childcare, single parents are well advised to contact their state department to apprise themselves of all available grants. Some states offer special assistance to single parents returning to college and even provide assistance with childcare.
State grants are available to students who attend college full or part time. The state education department may also be able to give advice on other grants available to single parents, or these can be sourced on line, or with the help of the financial assistance office at the chosen college. Individual colleges sometimes have special funding available.
It is important for single parents to understand that they are entitled to federal financial aid which is available once the FAFSA has been submitted and completed. Federal aid is available in the form of grants and low cost loans, and age is no barrier to obtaining federal aid. There is no credit check required to obtain federal student loans and single parents with dependant children are considered independent students.
Returning to college can set a great example to children about the value of education. Single parents who are reluctant to run up student loan debt knowing that one day it must be inevitably repaid could consider applying to a state run forgiveness program. Federal programs are also on offer after graduation.
Those interested in a specific career within the public sector may consider teaching after graduation, as special programs are in place to repay student loan debt for those who enter the teaching profession in specified areas. Programs are most usually run in areas of the state where there is a teacher shortage. This can fit in very well with bringing up children as the hours involved will mirror those of school age children.
Other federal programs to consider are available in nursing, social work, law, and medicine. With an end career in mind which also helps to repay the costs of college, a college education becomes far more accessible.
Single parents who successfully return to college are often more driven to do well, and have the necessary maturity to balance college life with home life. A degree can then open doors to better opportunities which result in higher incomes and a better standard of life for the family to enjoy.