My daughter Amy was 19 years old when she got pregnant. She was too scared and did not tell us till she had finished her first trimester and so by the time our girl was 20 she had delivered a baby. Amy dropped out of college, came back to live with us and slowly began to slip into a depression. A lot of money had already been spent on first year of college and now with the baby around and all that, between her father and me we did not have enough funds to send her to college.
Amy tried to pick up a job after about 6 to 8 months of her delivery and got one at the local library. She was studying to be a lawyer when she conceived and the library job was just making her feel worse. She hardly ate, would stay in her room most of the days and things just kept getting from bad to worse. She stopped interacting with her friends from college and would hardly even focus on the baby. Within a year from her delivery, Amy tried to take her life.
It was then that we all got jolted into looking for a pro active means of pulling Amy out of her depression, rather than just watching her slip by. One of the first steps was to try and get her back to college and this was not easy since we did not have enough saved up. Her dad and me had a retirement fund but did not want to mess with that. We were willing to look after the baby and Amy would not have to give us any rent or pay for the food, but the tuition fee and all would have to be managed, which is where we were at a loss.
I searched the net for options and came across a lot of information. Based on this information we were able to take a partial loan for Amy and this helped her get back to college. Since we lived in New Jersey, we chose Princeton for her and slowly and steady Amy began to get back on track. It’s been over a year now and my daughter is a changed person. She studies hard; she is happy, has a lot of friends, enjoys her life and dotes on her daughter. And to think we could have lost her completely if she had been successful in her attempt.
Some of the steps that helped us get organized in finding the right student loan for Amy are detailed below. I hope that this information will help other girls in similar circumstances where they are single mothers looking to get back to college.
Explore college options. Everyone has a unique situation and when looking to go back to college begin by exploring all your options. There are single moms who may not have a problem moving to another state also while in some cases even moving to the next city may be an issue. So depending on your limitations and advantages look up the many options have you have. A simple search on the net will bring up a list of all the colleges that the country has to offer and also their rankings. Decide up on the subject that you wish to pursue and go through the work options that you will have once you are done with the degree. Stay realistic about your choice since while you may be tempted to take up courses that have a higher salary promise, you must also be sure of your capabilities and situation. There is no point in taking up something big and then realizing a little down the line that you cannot carry it through and have to abandon the course.
Do your homework and estimate cost. Once you have narrowed down on the course of your choice and the college where you want to do it, estimate the cost of the education. You will have to take the tuition fee into account as one of the most important costs. The course you choose and the college where you wish to apply will influence the tuition fee. Since Amy was going to live with us, we did not bother about the boarding lodging and all of that, but did take into account that she will need to buy a fair share of books etc. She would need a lap top and so we put that into our calculations also.
Look for loan options. When we started looking for student loans, we realized that when the parents took the loans for the kids college they had to pay higher amount of interest and also the repayment began the same month as the loan was taken. On the other hand if the student took the loan they government offered much lower rates of interest and the student also has the option to begin repayment once the person gets a job after completing the course. This worked much better for us and we applied for the loan on Amy’s name.
Search for grants. There are a fair number of grants that can be looked into as well. Amy did not have the grant option in her case so we went with the partial loan but other single moms must look into it. There is the Federal Pell Grant. There is a TEACH grant also and a few more. A good link to find these grants is http://www.singlemom.com/scholarships-grants-loans/
Now apply. Once you have figured out your plans, get moving on the paper work. Be prepared to go through a fair amount of paper work and please girls read everything that you sign. Understand what the requirements are and make sure you fully know the conditions of the loan or grant. Once this is sorted you are good to get back on track.
If all this information has been of any help to any other single mom out there, I would feel I did a good job.