Though college can be expensive, there are many resources available to you. With grants, scholarships, and loans all available and with different eligibility requirements, the options can seem very overwhelming. Here is a quick look at ways you can make your education more affordable.
Where to find help:
If you are not aware of the resources your school has to offer pregnant and parenting students, talk with a counselor at your school. Guidance counselors should be available to help you navigate balancing your education with being pregnant and/or raising a child. Other sources of support on campus include the Title IX office, campus ministry, and the health center. Be sure to check out “Your Rights As a Pregnant Student and Mother.”
Types of financial aid and assistance:
There are several options for financial aid and assistance. You can apply to receive both aid and loans from the federal government or the state government. You may also be eligible for support from your college or university or other private and nonprofit organizations.
The Department of Education awards $150 billion a year through grants, loans, and work-study programs. In total, over 15 million people receive funding from the federal government in some form. You could be one of them!
Here is some important information to keep in mind:
- Grants are financial awards which do NOT have to be repaid.
- A loan is borrowed money from your university which DOES have to be paid back, with interest.
- Work-study programs offer students a way to earn money to pay for their education.
Limiting your student loans is important for the future financial security of your family. A loan recipient may receive a lot of money but must pay all of it back; bankruptcy will not forgive your student loans. Only take on the minimum amount of debt necessary to pay tuition expenses.
In addition, you may be eligible for additional funding if you or one of your parents have served in the military. There can also be tax benefits for going to college. The American Opportunity Credit offers up to $2,500 a year for your first four years of college. The Lifetime Learning Credit offers up to $2,000 a year to use on tuition, fees, books, technology, etc.
Each state offers different financial packages. To learn more about what you may be eligible to receive, contact your state grant agency.
Make sure to explore the financial options that come from your school itself. Often, colleges and universities will offer their own aid, grants, scholarships, as well as institutional work-study programs. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information on what you may be eligible for.
Nonprofit and Private
In today’s world of technology, crowdfunding has become an easy way for young people to reach out to their friends and family for financial support. Consider using a crowdfunding page to raise money for tuition.
Countless organizations and foundations exist to provide scholarships for women who are mothers or pregnant in college:
- Federal Pell Grants: available to all college students with financial need
- Live Your Dream Awards: available to single mothers
- Emerge Scholarship: available to women have had significant real-life experiences, such as pregnancy
- Scholarships4Moms: available to women who are mothers, including pregnant women
- Lifetime Adoption Foundation: available to women who experienced an unplanned pregnancy and chose adoption
And many more!
Other ways to save money:
Once you decide on an affordable tuition plan, there are a number of ways to reduce additional costs. Avoid expensive textbook bills by shopping frugally:
- Ask your professors which books you will really use during the semester—don’t purchase what you won’t need.
- If you have a friend who has taken the class before you, ask to borrow his or her book or see if he or she will sell it to you for a low cost.
- Campus bookstores often have buyback or rental options.
- If you have access to a laptop or tablet, often you can purchase or rent e-books for a reduced cost.
- Some other popular places to buy or rent used books at reduced cost:
- If you do purchase a book, use it gently—no dog-eared corners, highlighting, or other markings on the pages—so you can sell it when you are finished with it.
Technology such as smart phones, tablets, and computers are expensive, so consider what is necessary before making any purchases. Collegiate libraries come equipped with computers and printers, but laptops are helpful and sometimes necessary for taking notes in class. You can save money by purchasing used or refurbished devices from the manufacturer (such as Dell or Apple).
While paying for school can seem overwhelming, remember that it is ultimately an investment in your future. There are many things you have to navigate as mother, but don’t underestimate yourself!