student mamas- how do you pay for child care? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-04-2008, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't usually hang out here, I'm usually in single parents and unschoolers. But I'm hoping to belong here when I start school this fall! I want to get my RN. We have a great community college program here, and I was all set to go- just waiting to find out about financial aid and take the placement test so I could enroll. Now it looks like I can't do this!

I have four kids, ages 10, 7, 6, and 4. I homeschool, so no-one's in school (with the side benefit of free childcare!). I was under the impression that I was applying for some kind of 'child care block grant' when I filled out the fafsa. But when I got my award letter, it was obvious that financial aid would only be good for tuition and books. Now I don't know what to do, or should I just give up on school for now?

I was under the impression that other single moms do this, even homeschooling. What kinds of arrangements do you all make for childcare?

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Old 08-04-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Honestly….we took out the maximum student loan DH could get and that is how we are paying for day care the next 3 years So that will add an extra $30K onto our debt by the time he graduates.

It sucks but the only way to make it work. I am the only income right now and so I can’t quit to watch DS.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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We live on assistance, so we get aid to cover daycare. I also get in enough in financial aid each semester to receive a decently-sized change check as well.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aliviasmom, is your childcare through dshs? I called them and they will only pay for childcare if I'm going for a certificate that takes six months or less, and working 20 hours a week. Maybe your state is more generous or something. I live in Washington.

CanidFL, I'm afraid to consider loans- it's going to take me longer to get my RN than usual. Of course I also shudder at the idea of all that debt. I have to hire a nanny, and she makes $10 an hour. ((shudder)) That would add up after 6 years or so.

I'm afraid I might just have to give up this idea until the kids are old enough to not need child care anymore. Sigh.

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Old 08-04-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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Student Loans are less this year - it is not your imagination! I just heard a story on NPR about it. If the kids had a sitter then would they still be home schooled? If you graduate and get a job, then are your kids going to go into daycare or public school? I think you best way to make this happen is put the kids in public school and then go for it. My mom went to school full time while my sister and I were in school.

But you have to reassess your priorities...All of moms are sacrificing something!

~ Professor Mama to Gabito (July '07) & Danita (April '10) ~
A PhD = + +
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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loans. not fun.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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I'm planning on loans and praying for childcare assistance from the county. I did have to quit homeschooling. I just continue to spread myself so thin. Healthcare programs are demanding.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Carita- All good questions. My priorities are with my kids first, as with all of us. I was planning on going part time for at least a couple of years. And along with the price tag comes really great child care. I unschool my kids, so for us homeschooling means more like 'attentive support for exploration' than school in a traditional sense. A great child care provider can do that for the kids as well as I can, at least part time.

As for after I graduate, by that time my kids will be beyond needing childcare for the most part, and I plan to work only part time. That's got a lot to do with why I chose nursing- high paying, family friendly jobs. And there's the possibility of being able to travel with my kids.

When it comes down to it, my real goal here is to be able to buy my kids a house. We live in a subsidized apartment and while it's ok, my kids really want bedrooms and a yard. If it weren't for the house thing, I'd probably just keep doing what I'm doing until the kids are several years older.

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Old 08-05-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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Are there any community colleges that offer free after school childcare or childcare at a reduced rate?

Have you considered online classes to complete your prerequisites?

I have to pay out of pocket for childcare, but I have come across quite a few programs for students with limited incomes.

Also find out if you qualify for WIA a program that assists underemployed women with tuition and childcare.

Seek out all of your options before you throw in the towel.

+ + =
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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I hope I can add a bit of help, or some advice at least. I just finished a double major in History and Anthropology, and will be attending Grad school in the Fall. Prior to my school days, I was a SAHM and loved it. I started out slow, with a few classes when the kids were in school. I increased my work load as they were in school longer and my graduation date was closer. I have made MANY sacrifices to make my education possible, but I know it is the best for my family. My children get to see how important education is and they see a positive role model.
The first thing is to take your award letter and make an appointment with a financial aid officer. Ask what assistance is available for you and your situation. Many times the grants and aid will not just be given out, but if you know how to ask just the right way, money can be found. Ask what scholarships are available for child care assistance, specifically. Many times there are special assistance for single mothers to complete their degree. Especially in the nursing field! It's a high demand career and sometimes local hospitals are willing to pay for tuition if you will work part time while in school. Oh and some schools have on site day care while you are in class.
Another thing to check into is different schools in your area. Most times community colleges do not have the federal funding that Universities or private schools do. Therefore, they will only give funding for tuition and books only. If you are accepted to a four year university or college, they assume that you will be focusing your energy more on education so financial support is greater. I attended culinary school at a comm college prior to the Univ, and I definitely saw the difference in financial support.
I know how difficult the situation is to not be a SAHM, but in my case, it was all worth it.
Good luck with your future studies!
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelakemama View Post
Most times community colleges do not have the federal funding that Universities or private schools do. Therefore, they will only give funding for tuition and books only. If you are accepted to a four year university or college, they assume that you will be focusing your energy more on education so financial support is greater.
This might be true where you live, but in my research i have found that two year schools offer more non tradtional suport to women with children, especially those with low to moderate incomes. Yes 4 years schools often have more federal funding, but State aid is generally poured into smaller schools to help women find careers that will all them to be productive members of society. Allied health careers which generally include 3 year RN programs and LPM programs often qaulify under state grant initiatives.

And I do agree that s sometimes you just have to ask.......make an appointment with the Director of financial aid or their assistant. Someone who is in a position to help you.

+ + =
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I will try talking to someone there. I called there and was told that financial aid is pretty much just to cover tuition and books. I said I didn't think I could go to school without child care, and she said maybe this wasn't a good time for me to be a student. Not too encouraging. But I don't know who I was talking to, either.

There is a program for displaced homemakers, but the funding is only for your first quarter. The information about scholarships on the net seems to be about 99% bogus. Can anyone direct me to some scholarship search websites? I guess it's a little too late for that this year, but at least if I can't go this year I can apply for scholarships like crazy and maybe come up with the money for next year.

A four year college is not a possibility at this point- I'm a high school dropout. But I will keep that in mind. All I have to do is get really good grades for a couple of years if I want to transfer.

I found out that Oregon, just south of us, has subsidized child care for low income students. Arrrrgh! So much for the liberal state of Washington!

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Old 08-05-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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My kids are 10, 8 and 6. They go to public school and I took out max. loans and grants, also. Family babysits for free ad my BF's teen has been bbsitting for pay a bt, but she's off to college this Fall, too. &2- I'm goig for my RN, too!

My fin. aid laid out how much was going toward what- I got a housing allowance. You sure its only books and tuition? Can you trade some bbsitting with other unschoolers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
I don't usually hang out here, I'm usually in single parents and unschoolers. But I'm hoping to belong here when I start school this fall! I want to get my RN. We have a great community college program here, and I was all set to go- just waiting to find out about financial aid and take the placement test so I could enroll. Now it looks like I can't do this!

I have four kids, ages 10, 7, 6, and 4. I homeschool, so no-one's in school (with the side benefit of free childcare!). I was under the impression that I was applying for some kind of 'child care block grant' when I filled out the fafsa. But when I got my award letter, it was obvious that financial aid would only be good for tuition and books. Now I don't know what to do, or should I just give up on school for now?

I was under the impression that other single moms do this, even homeschooling. What kinds of arrangements do you all make for childcare?
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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Can you trade some bbsitting with other unschoolers?
this is how a friend of mine affords babysitting for her kid. She shares with another mom.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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I'm looking at a childcare nightmare myself for 4 children. Our state funding is out, there is no welfare aid for childcare. It makse no sense b/c if you receive welfare (which I do not qualify for anyway), you have to work with a child over 18 months old, but the jobs don't pay enough to cover childcare for 1, let alone 4.

Even if I were to get a job in my field of accounting, the pay is $30K and the childcare for 4 when school is in session more than I can earn and I have a bachelor's degree for crying out loud.

My MBA program I'm in is at night, that is another issue all together.

I thought you could use financial aid toward childcare. I do know you qualify for the child day care credit form 2441 for income taxes if you are in school full-time over 10 months of the year. Not that it is a huge help, but it's a little bit of something and it maxes out at $3000 per child per year!!!
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The financial aid award I got was just some amount (I don't know how they figure it). I'm pretty much dirt poor, so my expected contribution was 0. It sounds like they just figure it so that fin. aid is enough to cover tuition and books, plus about $50. They told me I could come down and look through their scholarship file, if I wanted to. I can't believe I haven't missed all the deadlines by now, though.

Maybe I should just put this off until next year or winter quarter or something, and try to get enough scholarships to cover some child care.

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Old 08-07-2008, 10:02 AM
 
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Does your state pay for childcare if you work? A girl at my job was just awarded state funded chilcare because she is low income. Perhaps you could find a work study job or some other part time employment and then be eligible for childcare assistance based on your work status. That shuld be much easier to obtain that childcare assistance.

+ + =
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Old 08-07-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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When I filled out my fafsa, I was awarded a pell grant
and two different type of grants for Florida low income residents.
Whoo hoo!
(Only got the pell grant in NC.)

Now, my community college offers scholarships and loans.
I have not applied for the scholarships yet.

In FL, if you qualify for subsidized child care, it is easier
to get it for babies/toddlers/preschoolers.
IF you get it for school aged children and the funds are available, you
only get it for before/after school and summer time.
You would not be able to use it for homeschooled kids.
(Unless you are going to school at night.)
AND you have to go to a state approved home daycare or
daycare center that accepts the states subsidized program.
In FL, it is awarded to student mamas if you are going full time or working
part time and going to school part time.
Also, the children have to be up to date on vaccines.

There is a program for displaced homemakers, but the funding is only for your first quarter.
Can you use this and still get your grant money?
I know some scholarships pay for your books/tuition and then you keep the grant money.
You could use the grant money towards childcare this term and then start applying for those scholarships!


Best of luck to you!

Hope
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by piad View Post
Does your state pay for childcare if you work? A girl at my job was just awarded state funded chilcare because she is low income. Perhaps you could find a work study job or some other part time employment and then be eligible for childcare assistance based on your work status. That shuld be much easier to obtain that childcare assistance.
Yes, I can get assistance for childcare, but only while I"m working. They make you document the hours. They will also help with school if you are working on a certificate that will be completed in six months or less, and also working 20 hours a week.

They aren't too encouraging at the financial aid office. Scholarships are around $500 to $2000 for the year- and how many am I personally going to be awarded?

I don't know- at ten dollars an hour for four kids, the cost of child care will add up to thousands of dollars a year. I'm too chicken to borrow that money. I mean, the point is to have the income in five or six years to be able to afford a house. I'm thinking now that I might be better off waiting for another year or two. In two years, I won't need as much child care.

I also found out that the child care center at the college is run by the YMCA. They will give scholarships for low income families- it just takes time. They also only take school age kids in the evening. But I should be able to take my prerequisites online, so I could do those on my own schedule.

This isn't going to be impossible, just a lot harder than I thought! Thanks everyone for your input!

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