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I'm researching some options and I'd really love any advice/knowledge from people who make it work by being full time students. Did you get a lot of grants? How do you cover all of your COL? Do you have your own apartment? Does your school have family housing?

I guess, where does one start to research if this is a viable option?
 

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First look and see if there is a daycare subsidy for students. A lot of states only give funding for daycare if you are in a year long technical program for a certification not a degree. Even though universities have daycares their are not many options for funding them. Check with the daycare and with financial aid because as a non-traditional student you can get a COL increase. I have had to work while in school doing pre-requisites for nursing programs. However my ex was a jerk so I had to pay for daycare (for when I was working and at school) with loans and now I can't use that as an option for tuition. Luckily where I just moved to the state pays up to 50% of daycare for students who don't work even for university students!

If your kids are school aged then you are lucky and can probably pick and choose classes when they have school. On campus student housing is usually a bit cheaper than off campus housing, but you can not have pets. I would be saving 100 in rent alone if I could live on campus. Also some campus housing includes internet and utilities and they often have playgrounds at the apartment complexes. If it is possible go check out the campus housing and bring your kids along to see what they think of the complex and neighborhood.

Grants rarerly cover more than cost of tuition unless you are in a state like CA where tuition is covered by either the Board of Govenors Fee Waiver or the Cal Grant. Then you also get the pell grant which the rest of the US has to pay tuition with... But in CA there is a very long waitlist for subsidized daycare and it does not cover daycare while you are in school (I was in CA and got sick of waiting for daycare so I left a month ago and now have a job). So chances are you will need to apply for a ton of scholarships if you want any of your cost of living covered! Either that or take out student loans, which I am wishing I had not.

Okay I hope that answered a few of your questions without creating too many more:)
 

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This is what I'm planning to do, starting next fall.

I have received $20,000 in financial aid, about half of which is in loans. (Yikes. I'm very nervous about this.) I am hoping to get into family housing, although I still won't know for another month or so. If I do, I will have a 2 bedroom apartment for myself and my kids for $472 a month, which includes utilities. I'll probably have to get on food stamps to be able to live.

My kids will be 5 and 7 when I start, so they will be in school full-time. I am hoping to plan my schedule around theirs so I don't have to mess with daycare. However, the school I'm planning to attend has a daycare on campus, and offers a scholarship/grant to pay for it.

Start by filling out the FAFSA. Research scholarships. There are suprisingly few scholarships out there for people who are starting back to school the first year, but there are a TON once you've been in for a year. I'll be able to apply for quite a few next year, but this year I'll be relying on the loans, mostly.

You need to apply for family housing early. I applied in January for this fall, and I think I applied too late. And if I had applied for the school last August,(for school in 2012) I'd have been eligible for another scholarship through the school. Oops, again, too late! I thought eight months was plenty of time, but apparently not.

I'm basically taking it one step at a time. I just started applying, and figured I'd see if it was a viable option as I took each step. I couldn't figure out how much aid I'd get without actually applying, so I just went for it.
 

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My University has a grant that covers all daycare expenses. It's through the goverment..it's called CCAMPIS (child care access means parents in school). You might want to check if your University daycare has this.
 

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I figured out that full-time school was/is a viable option simply because it was sort of my only option. So I did it backwards I guess: decided that I was going to be a single full-time student mom, then figured out what resources were in my area to make it work. Financially, I have a flexible good-paying cleaning job which only requires a few hours on the weekends, I receive child support, the state helps out with childcare (about half is covered), and we live in public housing. It's a smallish town and I'm only enrolled in the community college (so far) so things are fairly simple (short drives everywhere, etc).
 

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jaam, that's what I'm doing. Going to school is my only option, so I'm doing it, starting this fall. I figure I'll make everything work as I go.

How did you find the cleaning job? That's what I'd like to do. I think that would work out the best for me. Did you have any (paid) experience at cleaning?
 

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It's actually my dad's office that I clean. So he's pretty much doing me a favor by paying me to do it instead of a cleaning company, and no, I never had paid experience. I have no idea what I'll do once I have to transfer and move out of town. It's so nice to have that income, and not having to arrange for childcare for it (kids just hang out with me while I clean) It has been ideal.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix~Mama View Post

I'm researching some options and I'd really love any advice/knowledge from people who make it work by being full time students. Did you get a lot of grants? How do you cover all of your COL? Do you have your own apartment? Does your school have family housing?

I guess, where does one start to research if this is a viable option?
Yes!! It IS a viable option. But, I must warn you... it's not easy. In my case, I really feel like the benefits far outweigh the detriments.

As far as finances are concerned, I get the maximum amount of student loans, a small pell grant, and I get assistance (food stamps, WIC, TANF). It covers rent, a cheap pre-paid cell phone bill, the electric bill and my internet bill and the occasional gas tank full - my mom is retired and lives closer in to the city center, so she uses public transit most of the time and lets me use her car, which she pays for, including insurance. She also babysits Mr. Moo when I'm in class, but if she didn't I could probably qualify for child care assistance and my school has some child care grants as well. We try to eat whole foods and not a lot of junk, which helps more with the finances than you might realize (the health benefits are a happy side effect). We ask for "experiential gifts" for holidays, so we got a zoo membership for Christmas, which we use a lot.

My little one is almost 7 months old now. It's tough, but I do have my own apartment. It's a nice two bedroom with two baths, but it is in a CRAPPY part of town, so we don't exactly get out for walks around the neighborhood and I've installed extra locks, etc. I know it's not forever. My school does have family housing, but the student parent office on campus strongly discourages it based on reports they've gotten from student parents who have tried it. It's too loud, too gross, too scary, too smokey... etc.

I actually came here tonight, looking for someone who has gone to grad school as a single mom, because once I finish my undergrad, I'm hoping to go on for my PhD. If I do that, I'll likely have to leave the state and then I'll lose grandma as a babysitter, so that's a little scary. Fortunately it's two years away...

So nice to know there are other single student mamas!! I've found my tribe...
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Mommel, I'm glad to read your encouragement!

I didn't realize that TANF is available for full-time students. That's good to know. Do you work? (I know you are doing lots of work, I mean a paid job :) ) I'm very unsure of being able to work, because I'm hoping to plan all my classes around my kids' school, and I'd like to avoid daycare at all. I know no one in the town I'm moving to, and I'd like to spend all my non-school time with the kids!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenelopeJune View Post

Mommel, I'm glad to read your encouragement!

I didn't realize that TANF is available for full-time students. That's good to know. Do you work? (I know you are doing lots of work, I mean a paid job :) ) I'm very unsure of being able to work, because I'm hoping to plan all my classes around my kids' school, and I'd like to avoid daycare at all. I know no one in the town I'm moving to, and I'd like to spend all my non-school time with the kids!
TANF set an education goal for me to be able to stay on it... I actually had to go back to school to stay on TANF. Perfect! I don't work for pay. I have a part-time unpaid internship though, and I did some part-time consulting before I got on TANF. I could do more of that if I needed to I think, but there would be income restrictions. My Pell grant is reported income, but since my tuition is more than my grant, it doesn't really change anything. My caseworker just told me yesterday that I can keep getting TANF until Mr. Moo is five as long as I stay in school. PhD here I come (and all you naysayers can just back off)!!

Stick with me mama, we'll crash through that glass ceiling together!!
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