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How To Advance Your Education To Better Your Child’s Future

Updated on June 7, 2017

“Did you say I should go to college or trade school? I just don’t have the time. I am a single parent and with work, along with caring for my child, I just don’t see how I can do it.”

“Sure I would love to go back to school but as a single mother I just don’t have the time or the money.”

College is not for everyone. But if as an adult you realized that college was your missed opportunity there are options available to you.

The above three quotes are a few of the issues faced by single moms without a college degree or a vocational training. Many mothers realize that advancing their education will advance their children’s opportunity and hence their family's future. A high school diploma or GED is no longer suffice.

Consequently, if as a single mother you declare: "Yes, I would like to get a college degree". There are some alternate college credits that will help accomplish that goal. Before choosing a college consider these specific programs and whether or not the college of your choice participates in these program.

Vocational Or Technical Credits

If you decide to get an accreditation in a vocational or technical position the Job Ready Assessment Test is a program which allows credit for your work experience. The fields that are assessed varies from computer programming to criminal justice. This program is not available in all states and is managed and organized by post-secondary schools.

1st Year Classes

The College Board manages the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). For less than the cost of a three credits, a student can test out of two three-credit courses. The exams are approximately 90-120 minutes. With a successful grade these exams can be applied to pre-requisite courses in the first year of college. If interested you can visit the College Board's website for more information.

Military Target

The Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST) allows for college credits for special subjects. The test is available free for military service men and women but at cost for civilians. With a good test score students can receive college credits.

Other Accredited Testing

Undergraduate students in their first year can take the Excelsior College Examination. This exam is accepted by over 700 colleges.

As a single parent it can be overwhelming going back to school but, these programs might chip away some of the challenges of attending college.

After Care

If as an adult you have underage children and are concern about childcare go to your school’s admission’s office and inquire about afterschool and evening child care. Some colleges offer low cost child care programs or can recommend community daycare centers that do.

Scholarship Options

Paying for college can be overwhelming when you must cover rent, groceries and other personal items for you and your household. Many colleges offer adult scholarships that will partially pay for tuition and books. There are full scholarships available to adults in specialized fields such as math and science. There are many more specialized fields, make inquiries via your school’s financial aid department. Fastweb has a website that has scholarships for adults returning to college.

Ask Your Employer

If you are employed full time and plan to attend school part time your employer may offer tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement is when you pay for the college courses and upon completing the courses with an “A”, “B”, or “C” your employer will refund the cost of each class. A caveat, some employers only reimburse classes that are directly related to its company's career goals. These corporations are not willing to pay for electives such as English or history.

Ways To Afford College

The prevalent ideas and tips to cover college expenses are conventional. However, sometimes affording college begins with the implementation of unconventional ideas or tips. Adapting these recommendations can have the biggest impact.

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CC by Flickr | Source

Buy Used

Saving on text books is a great way to make college affordable. Instead of purchasing “new” consider buying used. Why own a new book when the resale of new or used books net the same amount. The barter system is another great way to save. There are students who are willing to exchange text books they no longer need for other on demand items. Finally, consider online websites that “rent” text books.

The word is spreading among college students that text books can be purchased or rented at a cheaper price online than the conventional school stores. The internet, the cyber world of possibilities offers cheaper textbook options. Medical, philosophical and earth science text books are all available at a lower rate online.

The online service Big Words rent, sells and buys books, with special attention to text books. This website comparison shop for its customer which can result in 50% savings. The service extends to android applications.

Cheapest Text Book's website buys, sells, and rents text book via a search engine. Its main focus is college text books.

These online options are a few of many areas to find low cost text books. Enjoy exploring the websites and happy shopping.

Start In The Community

Instead of attending a four year college, take classes at a community college and then transfer to a four year college. Taking all pre-requisite classes at a community college makes college affordable since classes at a two year college are less expensive.

Certify

A certificate in a particular field might be economically beneficial than a college degree. This can be an option to get established in a career. The decision to get a BA or BS can be tackled much later. Certificates are accomplished in shorter periods and cost less.


There are special scholarships offered only to dependents of military veterans and other arm forces agencies. You can research these offers on their websites.

  • The Retired Enlisted Association
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.
  • Third Marine Division Association
  • Tailhook Association
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America

The G.I. Bill shoulders three educational benefits. These benefits promote education for enlisted individuals and their dependents.

Members of the military can pay for college with a program called Veterans Educational Programs. Participants of this program sign up for monthly pay deduction. This deduction is matched by the federal government and accumulated amounts can be applied to college courses and training.

This is not a promotion to join the army, military, coast guard or navy. It is however about putting to use available benefits.

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CC by Flickr | Source

This is often not preferred nevertheless, if you must apply for student loans consider these lending insights.

Selecting A Loan

Getting a loan can be a frustrating experience because credit rating and interest rates are at times difficult huddles. However, when a student gets a federal loan via his attending college the process almost always results in an approval. Keep in mind that all federal loans require the completion of FAFSA application.

Types Of Federal Loans

Students with severe financial needs can apply for Perkins Loan. This loan has a fixed low interest rate and is available to both undergraduates and graduates. Credit consideration is not an option for Stafford Loan applicants. Conversely, it is a guaranteed student loan that is often used for non-tuition expenses; similar to other student loans the Perkins Loan has a fixed interest rate.

Other Loans

Students with medical interest can apply for the Primary Care Loan. This loan requires a 2 year employment commitment. It is also a low interest rate loan. Then there is the LDS, Loan for Disadvantage Students. Students cannot apply for this loan they must be selected by the college they attend. Colleges also select health care students for the Health Professions Student Loan. Nursing students may apply for a low interest loan called the Nursing Student Loan. Finally, for graduate students there is the Plus loan. This loan is credit based and there is no payback grace period.

Student loans are often discouraged but at times they are a necessity. When they are used, plan to pay them back 6 months after graduation.

Do you think going back to college is best for your family?

See results
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CC by Flickr | Source

The hunt is on for money for college. Unfortunately work, social obligations and life’s incidentals keep interrupting the hunt. Peruse these below websites for additional help.

  • Super College
  • The College Board
  • The Princeton Review
  • Scholarships.com

The most untapped resource is the political arena. Frequently, your congressmen and senators offer scholarships in specialized studies. The possibilities for scholarships are endless and the most unlikely places often yield the biggest payoff.

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