I'm so happy I found this thread. I am finally away from my ex and the only options I had were a shelter or to stay at my parents. Despite the issues I have with my parents I thought it would be better for my kids since my dd and I have visited them a few years ago. Now I'm not to sure. They live in a very rural area ten miles from the nearest town where there is no bus, so I can't get a job or go back to school until I get a car to drive. I'm not even sure if I will be able to make it to the tanf appointment I have in a couple of weeks! All I want to do is get a job to get my own home and pay off the debt my STBX accrued in my name and start a RN program in a year when I'm a resident again. Plus my ex knows where my parents live and in the back of my mind I'm afraid of him traveling over a thousand miles without a drivers liscence and warrants to get some type of revenge on us. I have had no friends for nearly five years since he would scare off any friends of mine from school. I feel like I am starting from scratch plus two kids!
Single Moms with no support network... - Page 2
Going back to school can be a great option and schools will give you amazing financial aid - but you have to do your research and strongly advocate for yourself. Lots of info to follow and I tried to be brief so I hope it doesn't sound blunt lol! Just went thru hell in the last yr or so - but learned a LOT in the process that might be helpful to others.... I just wrote up the info/ideas as if they were brief bullet points. Hope it is helpful!!
Several helpful things to know: grad plus loans (not sure what the undergrad equivelant is) have no limit. They go to the limit of "cost of attendance". Costs of attendance are the school's tuition costs PLUS costs of living expenses which are based on national averages. If you can show that your expenses are more than national averages of students' living expenses (for example, I live in a 2 BR apartment w my daughter whereas many students live 4 people to a 2 BR apartment) then the school can give you more money to attend. You can also get extra money for childcare and for one time expenses such as a laptop computer.
If you are an undergrad, then research grants. If you are poor, there are state and I think federal ones. Grants do not have to be paid back, ever!
All financial aid is based on previous years income. If your ex had a good income (and even if not) you can get a letter from your atty to submit with your financial aid, showing that you are completely separate from that income and now have absolutely no income and are living with family (or whatever the case may be).
If you cant' afford an atty, call legal aid. They will provide you with a free one.
Research "income based payback" of loans and look at your projected income with your degree and what you will have to pay monthly with the income based payback plan. There are online calculators for loan payback and national averages for careers. (Estimate low on income and then take out 30% for taxes and insurance to find your net. Then make a projected budget for that income incl the loan payback. You don't want to spend years in school and end up with a job that doesn't make ends meet!) With the income based payback, you will pay back the same amount monthly if you owe 20k as if you owe 200k . The amt you pay is based on INCOME not on what you owe. If you pay consistently for 20 yrs all debt is cancelled. This is only true of federal loans though!!!!!!!
Read about financial aid at www.fafsa.edu.gov and call them if you have questions. They are pretty helpful! I found out all of the above info by researching on this sight.
Attending school online is a GREAT option, espec if you don't have transportation at first. My state has a state university online option. There are tons of online colleges. Just make sure it is regionally accredited or your degree will be relatively worthless, not to mention you won't be eligible for federal financial aid.
I would imagine many college's counseling centers would discuss/do testing to help you decide on a career path.
NEVER EVER depend on what financial aid folks say until you have it in writing (don't ask how I've learned that one!) espec when it comes to the day you will get your check lol.
When you are paid by the semester for school, pay your rent for the entire semester at once (if you aren't planning to move). Your landlord will love you and it will help to build a good recommendation if you ever need it. In my case, I've found it makes them super quick about repairs too lol.
Barter for babysitting. Trade kids one day per wk and use that as a homework day! Or do hw on the day your ex has them. Be vigilant with managing your time and make self care a HUGE PRIORITY! Take a bath, do yoga, meditate, go on hikes, have too many mochas - whatever it takes to get through.
I was not sure how I was going to keep a roof over our head at first! Thought I would end up in a shelter. Family was not willing to help. We had roomates for a while til I got into school. I feel so grateful for what I have now, but it has been a long, hard path. I am currently working on a doctorate in psychology, partly online and with monthly weekend residencies and two wks per year residencies. I homeschool my daughter and I do most of my hw on the two days per wk she is with her father. I have the max I can get in loans. After a 5 yr doctorate program, I will owe way more than I will pay back in 20 yrs on an income based payback! But, my income and job prospects are good enough that I feel ok having to pay for 20 yrs based on my income. Plus, this allows me to be home w my daughter for the next 4 yrs at least. My dream is to find a small fixer upper in the country and homestead parttime and then have a part time private practice - and still be home part time for my daughter as she gets older. She is 6 now.
Hi I have been separated for 6 years now and I feel exactly as you describe. I make good money and stuff but I have no support network at all, no one trustworthy to talk to. I think a lot of us single mamas are left alone like that. At least glad to see I am not the only overwhelmed one ;-)
I have twin boys, three years old.
Mom cannot be bothered with us.
I get no help from family and no financial support.
I have a decent job, but childcare with my work hours is nearly impossible to find.
The stress is unreal and I am always exhausted.
I make it hour by hour, but somehow, have kept it together.