Going Back to School and Not Working

Updated on April 10, 2007
L.L. asks from Tulsa, OK
30 answers

So, I am going to start going back to school in June, my issue is, I don't want to work while I am in school. I want to know if there is anyone that has been able to not work and go to school. Can you get enough finicail aid to do that. We will still have my hubbys income, but that doesn't cover all of the bills. Any advice would be awesome.

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A.M.

answers from Tulsa on

I was able to be a single mom and go to school full-time without working. I applied for several scholarships and grants (Pell Grant, OTAG, tuition wavers for transfer students, Dean's tuition waver, etc.) and got my tuition paid for. My living expenses were paid through low-interest loans, that I didn't have to pay back until I graduated.

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S.M.

answers from Tulsa on

Sometimes a bit of extra income helps - and won't send you over the limits to disqualify you from financial aid. I work from home, setting my own hours - with a company that is very flexible and totally workable around a school schedule! Feel free to check out my website - and if you're interested, just fill out the GET MORE INFO form and I'll be in touch. Best wishes to you on your new journey! www.healthyhome4family.com

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B.S.

answers from St. Joseph on

Congratulations on the decision to go back to school!!!

I went back two years ago, originally thinking we could do it on one income....it turned out that I didn't get enough grants for us to make it (our credit card bill was getting out of control), so I had to find a part time job...I started driving a school bus! I go in every morning and drive, then go to school, then go drive again in the afternoon and am still home with my kids in the evening!!! It really works out perfectly... I guess what I'm trying to say is be sure to explore all of your options...don't "expect" to make enough in grants and things to be able to do it...that was the worst part for me (expecting it and then realizing that it wasn't working out)

Good Luck!

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J.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

You should try filling out a FAFSA ( www.fafsa.ed.gov ) or go to your schools financial aid office. You need you most current tax form to be able to fill it out, but the website will walk you right through it. Also, schools offer loans. If you don't qualify for enough free aid from FAFSA then ask you school about loans. I know that I get enough free aid from FAFSA to cover my tuition but nothing else. So I take out extra loans, for books, notebooks, pens, supplies etc. One semester I even took out enough extra so my daughter could go to a sitter 2 days becaue I had class on campus. Anyway, thats about all the info I can think of, if you have any more questions let me know.

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C.O.

answers from Lawton on

I went back to school this last fall and have been working 30 hours a week this spring since I am taking 14 hours. It has been a really hard road and I have a wonderful husband, parents, and in-laws helping me every step of the way. That is the only way I can do it and work too. I am about to have to take more hours per semester though, so I will be looking into our Department of Human Services and Health Department to see if I qualify for food assistance programs, etc... Good luck and let me know if you find extra outlets I could maybe utilize!

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J.E.

answers from St. Louis on

I am a SAHM and a full time student. When I decided to do this we did not have enough money to do this, so I really had to do some thinking about how I could make this work.
First we had to refinance the house and add some bills into our refinance so that I could stay at home. We got rid of a few bills also, such as netflix and we cut down our cable and cell phone plans.
Now I had to find a night school because we wouldn't have enough money to put our daughter in daycare while I went to school.
Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) will get you enough money for school, as long as it's not a super expensive school. Which ever school you choose can help you with your FAFSA and they should tell you right away if Financial Aid will cover the cost.
I'm not sure where you live, but in St. Louis, Webster has a great fastrak night program that Financial Aid covers. My husband attends Webster and he is full time 2 nights a weeks. I attend Fontbonne. Class is one night a week and I meet with my group (some fellow classmates) one night a week - which isn't all the time. This is a fastrak program I am doing and they told me upfront that financial aid would not cover the cost. I have been through one semester and I had to pay $150 out of pocket after financial aid went through.
There are always options out there for you - you just need to find them and do a lot of research. I hope you are able to work this out, good luck!

J.D.

answers from Kansas City on

I went back to school full time back in August of '05. Unfortunately though we'd just moved from Washington state & started off living with my sister-in-law. When we finally moved out we moved into a tiny apartment so that I wouldn't have to work & my husband's income would support us - just barely though. He got a new job since then and I'm still going to school full time, we just make sure to stay as close to his income as possible. It takes a lot of cutting back though, but it's doable.
This semester was the first month I was finally able to get a loan though, when I first went back I wasn't eligble for anything because we'd made too much money the year before. It took the whole year (and my husband having a job that only paid $9.00/hr.) for our financial status to drop before I could get anything.
Like I said, it takes a lot of work, cutting back, watching finances, etc. but it is doable. We have a 6 year old girl too, so I know what you're going through. Good Luck & no matter what you do, stick with it.

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T.L.

answers from Peoria on

Hi L.,

I am going back to school full-time right now. My son just turned 2. I started in January. Before I started, I was extremely worried we would not be able to make ends meet. However, somehow it is all working out. Moneywise, we made just on the border...not enough to make it easy but not little enough to get financial aid. There are many scholarships out there to apply for too! Many for moms like us, who are trying to better our lives for our family. Look on the internet. Some sites compile all scholarships you can apply for for you!

My advice is to keep looking to the future and remember why you're going to school. It is temporary, and you can always pay back a loan. I've found that I'm so busy now, that I don't have time to do a whole lot, and that's forcing us to save more money!

One last thing, I am not sure what your major is, but sometimes if you find an employer to work for you can make a "deal" with them—they help you out by paying for some of your school when you need it, in return for you signing a contract to work for them for a certain length of time. I am going for nursing, so there are things out there like that too.

Good luck with everything! It can be done!
T.

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L.K.

answers from St. Louis on

I quite my job in September to go to school. I received financial aid to cover my classes only, but as an undergraduate and mother I was able to receive extra money for living expences. It depends on the University. Also, to earn a couple hundred dollars extra a week I substitute teach, which I love. You can choose your days and your hours all online. Some weeks I can only work one day, others everyday.

Hope this helps and good luck going back to school. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

L.

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D.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Good for you for wanting to go back to school! Both my husband and I are currently going to school full-time. My husband works full-time and I stay at home with our 19 month-old little boy. His income is enough to cover the bills, but we were still able to qualify for some grants and more than enough in loans to cover tuition and books and still have some left over (if we want to take the extra). I would recommend doing some research on grants to see what you may qualify for. Since your husband doesn't make enough to cover the bills on his income alone, you may qualify for more grants than we did (which would be great since you don't have to pay them back). What you don't qualify for in grants, you would probably need to get student loans for to make up the difference. Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck!

D.

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B.S.

answers from Kansas City on

I'm a SAHM who is finishing up my degree this May. We've done it on one income (usually barely scraping by and with lots of luck!) but make sure to talk with your finanical aid office and let them know your situation. They can help you find grants and scholarships--especially more non-traditional ones for those that are mothers or with certain family/background situations.

You may have to pick up a very part-time job to make ends meet. I personally am an independent consultant for The Pearl Strand (my aunt's company) www.thepearlstrand.com. That added income has helped us a time or two and has been great b/c I can do it at my own hours and convenience. But you could also waitress somewhere where you can make great tips (like First Watch on weekend mornings) or part-time evening job depending on your hubby's work schedule.

Good luck going back to school--that is very admirable! You are setting a great example for your daughter.

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K.H.

answers from St. Louis on

First of all, you said that your husband's income is not enough to cover the bills. I would recommend that you work at least part time so that your bills get paid.
As for financial aid, there are a lot of options; grants, scholarships, student loans. Student loans are nice b/c you don't have to pay them back for 6 months after you graduate. Of course, you still have to buy your books...which is expensive! I currently work full-time at a bank. I am also in school full-time. My husband works nights as a police officer, so I do all of the housework and take care of our 2 year old daughter. I am also on the chamber of commerce board of directors and help lead the drama team at church. You may wonder how all of this is possible. I'll tell you....I go to an AWESOME school. Check it out. www.liberty.edu It is a Christian school in Virgina. I do it 100% online. Online classes are not easy b/c you have to be extremely self-disciplined, but they are very convenient. Good luck!

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A.P.

answers from Kansas City on

If your husbands income doesn't cover your bills, you're going to need to work, at least part time. Most of the time that I was in school, I waited tables in the evening and stayed home with the kids during the day, attending evening classes on my nights off. That worked great, but you have to have a flexible employer. There have been other mentions of grants, and great places to look for money, make sure you utilize all of them as much as possible. I just finished and will be walking in May. What a great feeling, and so worth all the hard work! Good luck.

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B.D.

answers from St. Joseph on

Well, as a non trad you can get about 2500 extra a semester if you take out your unsubsidised loans and the rest depends on what you take. You get approx 10000 a year, but your tuition comes out of that. (If I remember right, and that's just loans)

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C.D.

answers from Topeka on

I started back at school when my son was 2, I was a single mom and was able to get enough grants and financial aid due to being a single mom (which they call a non-traditional student)but I think you could still get alot from having a child and still being married. I am going to a state college, I'm not sure if that is the same for community colleges and all other colleges or not. You should fill out the FAFSA on the internet, just google it, and it should be able to give you a good idea of what your financial aid would be. You should also call your financial aid office at you college. I think my first year back to school I got about 2,000 in grants and 2,000 in loans per semester. You will get more each year. Hope this helps!

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N.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi my name is N. and I am a Sales Director with Mary Kay. I would love to share with you how you could make some extra money with a Mary Kay business. When I started my business I was a full time college student. You can work Mary Kay around your family. New consultants start out by making an average of $50-$75 an hour, and you are having fun. We have no territories. So if you need to move you can take your business with you. Let me know if you would like some more information on how to make some extra cash, for those little extras.

Thanks,
N.
www.marykay.com/nbrown5
You can go to my website, and click on about the company to learn more.

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R.P.

answers from Wichita on

i went to school at vatterott while my husband worked. we have two boys and at the time he was working second or third shift so it worked for us. i got the most money that financial aid could give but it all depends on how much you and your husband make throughout the yr. they usually look at your w2's to find out how much you can get from financial aid. it worked for us but we still had to pay for some of the schooling through a student loan. wish you luck, R. p.

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J.L.

answers from Wichita on

L.,

When my youngest was about 5 1/2 months old I went back to school. I stay at home with my youngest and IU am raising her and going to school. I applied for FAFSA (Financial Aid) and got the full grant even with my husbands income. My husbands actually told me when our daughter was 3 days old that I was not to return to work. So, I am a stay at home mom and I go to school online. That way I am here for my youngest and I will still be here for my family when get finally get back together again.

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J.B.

answers from St. Joseph on

Yes, you can. I'm a single mom going to a university and i only work one day a week. My finacial aid covers everything plus i have about 6,000 left over every semester. There are all sorts of scholarships and aid available to mothers trying to get an education. so fill out your fafsa and see what they can do. my loans covered my books cause they give us a book voucher and take it out of the loans. i go full time so if i can do it i know you can. Good luck!!

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L.B.

answers from Joplin on

Hey L., I am a full time student with 4 kids, and yes you can make it work, but it does take work. For starters you can look at what you spend your money on, and chisel that down. Trust me, there are things you can live without like cable, and weekly manacures. Think about what you really need ie house payment, utilities, food, car ect. ect. Besides grants and loans check in to getting scholarships they are out there but you have to look for them. Grants and loans will help cover some of your exspenses, but I would now start putting back for when you start school. If you are frugle it will work. One way to save money is to buy the walmart brand of diapers. They are 50% cheaper. I will be in school for probably another 6 years, and we are managing to be able to buy a house when we move for my grad school, so it can be done with only 1 income

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M.B.

answers from St. Joseph on

Hi L. L.

Have you gone to www.fasa.com yet? You may be eligible for a pell grant or some other form of federal aid. I also work full time and am going back to school online. I have a three and a half year old daughter. You might also want to check with the financial department of your school to see if they can suggest other forms of financial aid for you as well.

M. B.

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J.M.

answers from Kansas City on

I had to quit a good paying job when I went back to school full time, yet we still needed some money, so I got a job at school (Park University) as a work study. I work when I'm not in class. Yes I only make about 7.00 an hour, but I get to set my schedule and it's not stressfull. You might try that. It's not easy, but it's really going to be worth it in the end. Good luck.

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M.R.

answers from Kansas City on

I am at Devry right now I have a 2 mo old and 20 mo old. My husband just started with the Fire Department. It can be done. I am part time in school, but I still got financial aid and a grant, what is your major gonna be and maybe I can point you in the direction of my advisor or some other resources.

Be Blessed, remember God honors any decision you make to better your life for you and your family it will ALL come together. There is no way that I should have been able to quit my job. I was a full time in retail management before quitting in September.

Talk to you soon,

M.

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J.H.

answers from St. Louis on

It would be a huge commitment... but my siser in law is in the Air Force right now and when she gets out in a few months she plans to go into the Air Force reserves and go to Nursing School full time and not have a "real job".
I shoot wedding photography "on the side" and that helps me to stay at home. Maybe there is something like that you could do? Perhaps a weekend job? Going bck to school is a huge commitment, but well worth it, don't give up, you'll be surprised how little money you can live on once you widdle down your expenses enough.

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A.S.

answers from St. Louis on

L.,

I am hoping to do the same in May! I am currently in the same situation... only I will NOT be able to work because of my course load. I will be going back for my Masters which I will have clinicals so will not be able to work! This has not been an uncommon thing for me and my husband we have both supported each other through school. My husband and I both attended school at the same time and I was the only one working to support us. He was going to Medical school and unable to work and I worked full time and took all online classes. In order to make ends meet he had to pull out the full amount of money to live on. I did receive a PELL Grant since we were both in school and had a child. Now it is time for me to go back to school and not work but I don't know that I will qualify for all of the grants we once did. It will be a huge determining factor on whether I go back. (So apply for school and fill out the FASFA and see what loans/grants they offer to see if you can go without working). Another option is to do an Astrive Loan. It is a private loan that will allow you to pull up to $40,000 out (based on how much your school costs). Be careful not to pull out more than you need, it is a bit higher interest rate than standard student loans. There are many different options out there for you.

Feel free to email me at any time if you have any questions!

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M.P.

answers from Tulsa on

Does your school offer loans, if so you could get a stafford loan and that would cover your bills, just try not to max them out and only get what you need, because they do add up fast and you do have to pay them back or maybe you can do a home business.

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L.H.

answers from Enid on

Hi L.....L. here also! I have been going to school full time since January of 2005. I did work for awhile, but the further you get, the harder it is to do both. I don't have a regular job now. You can get financial aid and student loans to help out. But if that isn't enough, you can do what I did and start a home based business. I am a consultant for The Body Shop at Home. I do in home spa parties. It's alot of fun. I set my own hours so I can work around my school schedule and if I am bogged down with school projects, then I can take some time off easily. It also makes it easy to work around kids activities. (I have 4 kids and 2 stepkids) Good luck with your classes. I hope this helps! If you need encouragement or help...let me know! You can do it!!

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C.H.

answers from Topeka on

I have an opportunity for you to work from home and keep your family healthy if you are interested. Email me at [email protected]____.com.

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S.P.

answers from Kansas City on

Part of it depends on what you are going back to school for, and where. At UMKC, where I'm going, there is a significant amount of financial aide. For regular aide, call the student financial aide office at your school and ask them to help you figure out your options. I know there's a form to fill out. For scholarships and fellowships (fellowships I think are only open to grad students), you have to call the department and ask them where to look to find these funding sources. At UMKC, for example, each department has some aide to give out, the dean's office has some, the women's center has some, etc.

Good luck. I find that keeping up with my school work AND a family IS a full time job.

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S.H.

answers from Wichita on

I was in that same boat there for a while. WIC is wonderful and healthwave, too if you dont have insurance or if it went way up to cover the baby. Those are the only two things I used and WIC buys all the formula. Five cans are about $65 and they pay for that for a while or more depending on how much you need. You also get juice and baby cereal. Ive heard things about food stamps but I have no personal experience with that. You can call or visit the health dept. for more info. Hope this helps!
--S.

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