Having a child does not mean the end of your education. In fact, for many mothers, giving birth comes hand in hand with the realization that your current level of education might not be enough to raise and care for a family.
According to a study cited by ThinkProgress, only 15.2 percent of single mothers have their college degree , and according to another study cited in the LA Times, people with a bachelor’s degree make 84 percent more over a lifetime than their counterparts .
The problem here is not dedication. As a mother, you are dedicated to making your child’s life the best that it can be. The problems are time, money, and resources. Luckily, there are ways for you to get the college degree you need while making sure that your children are taken care of.
The first thing that probably comes to your mind when juggling a child, school, and possibly even work is what your child will do while you’re in class. Luckily, a wide range of schools—such as Vanderbilt University, University of California-Irvine, and University of Georgia—have childhood education centers that take care of kids from six to eight weeks old to 12 to 13 years old. Best of all, a lot of these daycares are subsidized by the Department of Education, so sending your child there will cost little to nothing.
The cost of an education nowadays can be intimidating. Regardless of if your child’s daycare is subsidized, going to school often requires taking out loans. Plus, it limits the amount of hours you can work, so less income is available to pay bills or get necessary provisions.
Luckily, there are scholarships available for single mothers in need. Here are just a few:
- The Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation Scholarship helps low-income women, including and especially women with children.
- The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund (ASPSF) provides supplemental financial assistance for single parents living in Arkansas going back to school to increase their income earning potential. ASPSF’s 62 affiliates have awarded over 37,000 scholarships totaling over $22 million to recipients in all 75 counties of Arkansas, according to Ruthanne Hill, Executive Director of ASPSF. The scholarship, Hill explained, makes more than just an education possible. “Once they’re making livable wages, we see our graduates moving out of subsidized housing and gleefully saying goodbye to public assistance, later we see them buying their own homes, taking real family vacations, volunteering in their communities, donating to their church and charities,” she said.
- The Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarships helps women over 25 who are returning to a community college or trade school in Arizona to advance their career opportunities.
- The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards provides $3,000 or $5,000 to women who are primary wage earners in their families so they can return to school to increase their income. “We estimate that since 1972, about $30 million in education grants have been disbursed to assist tens of thousands of women to help them achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families,” said Lori Blair, Senior Director of Program Services at Soroptimist International of the Americas.
Tackling homework and regular work outside of class time can add to any mom’s stress. Many universities, like Yale or Misericordia University, have babysitting programs outside of daycare. These programs, which are sometimes subsidized by the university or run by volunteers, allow mothers an hour or two during the week for studying.
Additionally, the babysitting website UrbanSitter.com has a page specifically for mothers living on university campuses. Rates range based on babysitter, area, and time, but this is an excellent option for a mother who needs a babysitter on short notice.
The resources mentioned here is just the beginning. There are many other great opportunities for mothers looking to go back to school. The only thing stopping you, really, is yourself. And there is everything to gain from furthering your education. “I think the thing that is most inspiring to me is how it helps to build self-esteem and self-confidence,” Blair said, “each year, between 90 and 100 percent of surveyed past recipients tell us it increased their self-esteem and helped them to serve as a role model for their children.” And, as a former board member and volunteer of ASPSF once said, “when you bring single parents out of poverty, they bring their children with them.”
1. Haplin, J. (2013, March 18). Why Single Mothers Are In Economic Crisis And What Can Be Done About It. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
2. Hsu, T. (2011, August 5). College graduates earn 84% more than high school grads, study says. Retrieved May 9, 2015.