Life as a single parent is tough enough without the added burden of going to school. If you’re already shouldering a load of parenthood by yourself, you’re probably hesitant to add more to your plate. Furthering your education, however, could provide opportunities both for yourself and for your children that could change your lives for the better.
Getting a degree can open doors for you, but it does come with its own challenges and many of those challenges are financial. Raising a child is expensive, and so is going to school! Student loans are available for single parents, but they may not be the best option.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of community college in particular for single parents and we’ll provide some tips for making it more affordable.
The Benefits of Community College for Single Parents
Whether you’re starting college for the first time or continuing your education, community college provides many unique benefits over traditional 4-year schools, especially for single parents.
The way community colleges are structured is much more flexible than the typical college or university. Many community colleges offer both in-class and online courses with tuition prices that are much lower than traditional schools. Classes are offered both during the day and in the evening, making it easier for busy single parents to find a class schedule that fits their lifestyle. Plus, this flexibility enables single parents to keep working while attending college.
Another benefit of community college for single parents is that you can customize every aspect
If you are one of the millions of college graduates struggling with student loan debt, you might be considering an option to refinance. Even though community college is often more affordable than a traditional four-year university, school is never cheap. Depending on how much debt you have and how much you are able to pay, you might be able to consolidate and/or refinance your loans to make your payments more affordable – keep reading to learn more.
Save Money by Refinancing Your Student Loans
Refinancing your loans means that you will be repaying your existing debt by taking on a new loan with new terms, often from a new creditor. Two of the most common options for refinancing your student loans are private loan refinancing and federal loan consolidation. Again, it depends on the type of loans you have and how much debt you have as well. If you are able to refinance through a private lender you might be able to get a lower interest rate while federal loan consolidation is usually a good option for people who are looking to simplify the repayment process by lumping multiple loans into a single payment plan. Loan consolidation may or may not give you a better interest rate.
If you’re thinking about refinancing your community college student loans, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first:
- Why are you refinancing?
- What are your options?
- What rate can I get?
The first question about why you are refinancing is very important – your goals will help
The Fidelity study also found that 50 percent of those 2013 graduates who had taken out student loans expressed surprise by just how much debt they had accumulated. That's another shocking statistic that clearly demonstrates just how difficult it is for many college-age students to visualize what their lives will be like when the borrowing phase of their student loans is over and the dreaded repayment phase begins. And that's not a good place to be.
The bottom line is that student loans are not optional arrangements between you and your lenders. They have to be repaid. They cannot be ignored or put off and federal law stipulates that they cannot even be discharged via bankruptcy. If you default on your student loans you can have your tax refunds intercepted, a portion of your wages garnished, judgments or lawsuits issued against you or collection fees added to your loan balances – not to mention harassing calls and tactics from aggressive creditors.
That's why it's absolutely critical that if you are a student loan borrower,
Many students heading to community college do not realize that scholarships may be available. This type of financial aid is one of the most desirable because it does not have to be paid back once the degree is earned. Typically, scholarships are tied to specific skills or achievements, such as academics or sports. They are also available for particular areas of study, especially in fields in need of highly trained workers. Scholarships are also offered based on financial need, race or other factors attributed to the underserved student population.
The Changing Demographic
The report on the Sallie Mae website, titled, “How America Pays for College 2011,” explains that in the past four years, many families across the country and from all income brackets have shifted from four-year institutions to two-year community colleges. This shift could be a factor in why middle- and high-income families have been able to reduce education costs and take less money from income and savings to pay the price for higher education.