For the third part of this ten-part series pertaining to single moms going back to school, I wanted to talk about money, the heart of the matter. When I decided to start school from home, the greatest concern, and fear was the financial end of paying for school. Yes, I knew that finishing my degree was going to push me ahead in my job or a new job, making more money so my kids could enjoy a better life. However, I also knew I would have to make some initial sacrifices to achieve my goal, which was scary.
I am 100% sure that you are just as I was, wanting to give everything possible to your children. The thought of tightening the purse strings even more after a divorce or death of a spouse requires some serious consideration. In fact, I had almost convinced myself at one point that I simply could not afford to go to school. However, I also knew I was never going to reach my goal if I did not do something.
Determined, I visited a local college that offered online courses. After meeting with a counselor, I learned that this particular school offered a variety of classes specific to the degree I wanted to earn and they had a great financial support program. Because my income was not very high at the time, I qualified for a number of Pell Grants, which is money loaned for tuition and books but also money that is not paid back, unlike a student loan.
Within one month of talking to the counselor, I had signed up for two classes, both that could be taken online. I discovered that the classes were highly convenient, I had great communication with my instructors, I could work at a pace that allowed me to spend quality time with my children and because of the Pell Grants, I had zero stress financially. The entire situation motivated me and while I did not do well in high school, I ended up carrying a perfect 4.0 until the last half of my senior year in college. At graduation, I walked across the stage proudly with a 3.87 GPA.
The bottom line is that you should NEVER allow finances to stop you from getting your education. Today, colleges and universities bend over backwards to create programs so people can gain higher education. Therefore, no matter what your situation may be, do not be discouraged. In fact, I recommend you do as I did, meet with a counselor. Now, if the online school is not locally, most reputable colleges will have counselors that can be reached toll-free, also providing you with excellent guidance for you and your family’s future.