Wanting to Go Back to School - Liberty,MO

Updated on February 04, 2011
S.T. asks from Liberty, MO
5 answers

Hello all of you beautiful moms. This is my situation. I am married with 3 sons. I am now a stay at home mom. My twin boys were born in November and like my older son, were both born with bilateral cleft lips and palates. This is the reason i am a stay at home mom now, there is just no way for me to work and afford daycare or find someone qualified to take care of them. So, I would like to go back to school, maybe mostly online or just one day a week. I would like to have a good job when I am able to go back to work. Money, however, is EXTREMELY tight with us being just with one income. Does anyone know how I could go about getting the funding? Are there grants out there and how do i find them? Any good online colleges?

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answers from St. Louis on

I teach online college classes for Saint Louis University and for University of Phoenix. SLU is much more rigourous but much more expensive also. You will get what you pay for, but it really depends on what you want to study. Careers that require licensure (teaching, nursing, etc.) can be a lot more flexible with where you get your degree because they have a "checks and balances" system with the state licensure requriements. A school's reputation really depends on what you want to do with your degree. If you just want a Bachelor's degree to have a degree, then go cheap. If you want to challenge yourself and use the degree for career advancement, then you'll most likely have to put some money and time into it.

University of Phoenix is a decent college online, but it doesn't compare to the big name universities that will require more thinking and work.

As far as financial aid, let the school do the initial work for you. They have tons of financial aid counselors whose job is to find money for students. Choose some schools, contact their financial aid offices and let them sell the school to you. If you let them know you're looking around for the best deal, they will work to get you to their school. It's a business after all - they want your money.

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answers from New York on

Your financial aid will be based on last year's income. If you stay in state, you are eligible for state as well as federal aid. Financial aid consists of grants AND loans usually. I would look at community or State colleges who usually have some or a lot of online courses. Solely online schools can be very pricey and they usually do not offer much in aid since they are private and usually don't have endowments.

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answers from Seattle on

Every major university has online courses, as do most community colleges. I would *strongly* recommend going that route if you're going online. Both for credibility (in 10 years online schools may be taken seriously, they're mostly not currently, but a degree attained 90% online through a "real" university/community college actually comes with that school's name on the diploma and all the credits you'd get taking a class in person), AS well as federal and private scholarships, loans, and grants. "Real" schools come along with federal aid, and private scholarships can verify quite easily that you attend a "real" school... instead of being Joe Blow just writing for aid for an imaginary school. Even if it's a verifyable online school, many private scholarships will not consider you, and same token, even for those that do... many online schools are not set up to be given those scholarships to distribute to you.

As for funding:

- FAFSA is required for many applications for scholarships, in addition to handing it over to the college of your choice to apply for student aid.

- Apply for financial aid through your school. There is a formula based off of your FAFSA and number of credits you take that determines your aid. I got about 15k per year in aid (Pell Grants, Stafford Loans) while at CC, my husband got about 30k a year through his university - same financial picture, but the tuition at his school was higher = more money.

- In addition to regular student aid most Universities and some community colleges have "Women's & Minorities" programs, as well as "Family Services". As part of your financial aid package you can ALSO apply with these groups. Family services through the UW paid for my son to go to his *killer* montessori preschool for 3 years at apx $700 per month tuition. (I'm not including that in either my 15k or my husband's 30k).

- On top of money through your school & the govt. there are literally THOUSANDS of scholarships and grants that you can apply for. There is about an 8inch thick book you can find in regular libraries (reference section), and on school campuses. Bible thin pages. You can go through that manually... or get a leg up and about 30-40 you qualify for through the free service www.Fastweb.com . Do NOT sign up with any scam that has you pay dime one. Why would you use the monster book? Because Fastweb (and similar free services, but fastweb is the best) have you answer a ton of questions to sift through to see what you would qualify for. HOWEVER a lot of scholarships don't require that you, for example, be a mason. If it's a masonic scholarship, but has not requirement that you be a mason, write up the essay and send it in. Fastweb, however, won't pull up those scholarships. You have to find them manually.

TRICK: Most people write for big money. But those dinky little $50-$100 scholarships add up, and waaaaaaay fewer people apply for them.

A note of student loans: Most have such a low APR that it's essentially "free" money. You still have to pay it back, but the APR is essentially INFLATION. So they're not at ALL like credit cards where you pay forever. Student loans are also calculated differently on your credit (like to buy a home). If you have 100k in student loans it equals approximately 1k in credit card debt. Just make sure to get them consolidated when you finish school. Our first bill for my husband's 60k in student loans was something like $800. Got them consolidated (via the govt, ***everybody*** consolidates their student loans... typically to be paid back over as LONG a period as possible... again *totally* different than credit card consolidation) and we now pay $160 a month on his student loans. And when Hubby lost his job, we got them deferred for 2 years.)



answers from Oklahoma City on

Right now is the best time to go and get financial aide papers and fill them out. It is early in the year so all of the money is still there and not awarded yet. The state grants are usually gone by the end of January but the federal stuff is still usually there for several more months. After that you get less money, enough to still cover school expenses like tuition, fees, books, and a few other things. If you get your paperwork in earlier you can end up getting a bit more money, enough to help with transportation and living expenses too.

If you don't qualify for financial aide due to your income being more last year you can go to the campus and talk to a FA advisor about scholarships.There are tons of them out there you just have to sit and apply for a lot of them and see what happens.

There are also loans, which I would say are not the ideal situation but if it is the only way to get through until December when the year is over and much lower income is reported then it may be what you have to do.

When I was a single mom with a child I went to school full time and loved it. I lived more stress free than any other time in my life. I lived on campus, FA covered my rent and campus housing is all bills paid, even cable, phone, and utilities. I only paid for food. I didn't need a car because walking was easy, I was on campus already.

I think anyone that wants to go to school should be able to go. There are so many other programs out there to pay for college too. Displaced homemakers, Voc-Rehab, grants from families and foundations, Federal FA, State Grants, just so many. Lots that don't have to be repaid.

Good luck in your adventure of education.

As for child care, please call your local child care licensing office, usually somewhere in the Social Services area and get a recommendation for a child care center that is certified for special needs children.

You may even qualify for some assistance in child care costs. They may even have child care on your campus. Since your kids care can be considered special needs they may be more inclined to give the assistance since it will cost more.

I know for myself I prefer to take my kids to a fully licensed child care center. Because the staff has to meet training requirements every year, they have other staff there to help if there are any issues or something is stressful, like a baby has puked and they need to go clean up. The kids are never left with the ratio's not met. I just like the idea of multiple staff being around and I know that nothing can happen to the kids when there are at least 2 teachers in the classrooms. I just prefer that setting to a home where there is only one person to manage by themselves and try to manage their home, answer the phone, cook meals, change diapers, clean up messes, etc... I know many, many women do it every day and run very competent home care businesses and the kids are wonderfully taken care of but I worry about the "What if's".


answers from New York on

I just signed up with Grand Canyon Online Universtiy. most online universities help you find student loans. how much funding would depend on your income but again the school should help you find

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