One of the hardest parts of being a single mother is living with the fear that you aren’t providing enough for your growing child or children. However, you may have hit a degree-requirement blockade in your current career and aspire to get further. Getting a college degree can open up new career pathways for you that will provide more money and even the all-important health benefits. Whether you want to climb the corporate ladder or blaze an entirely new trail, paying for college as a single mom will seem like a herculean task. Here’s some advice to get you through your financial woes.
When your budget doesn’t look big enough to afford college, getting a degree may seem like a distant wish. This is when you need to educate yourself about college grants. Grants are payments to you from the state or federal government that you don’t have to pay back. While scholarships are awarded based on your merit as a student, grants are assigned based on your financial situation. One of the largest federal grants to look for is the Pell Grant, which currently gives a maximum amount of over $6,000. You may not receive the maximum amount, but the Pell Grant will give you a solid chunk of cash for school.
To apply for any grants or financial assistance, fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a timely manner. Answer financial questions honestly for maximum benefits.
Modern student loan repayment programs have become more lenient toward low-income households. Before you take out a student loan, read the fine print. Federal student loans come from the national government and may have many repayment options available to you after you finish your degree. Whether you’ve just finished your degree or are looking to start one, you’ll want to adjust your loan repayments to an amount you are able to afford.
Income-based repayment plans are a good place to start until you have a better salary. Once you can afford to make higher payments, go for it. Until then, your livelihood and that of your family are more important than your loans.
One of the easiest courses of action for a degree as a single mother is to enroll in an online degree program. Online colleges and universities may be less expensive than a traditional college, and they will also allow you to complete your degree from home. More time at home means more time you can spend with your family, which will make it easier to juggle home, work, and school. Make sure that the school has the proper accreditation before you give them your business. How you get your degree won’t matter down the line, so focus on paying for college as a single mom first.