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About Sass

Sass Ashe is a professional online content writer who raises and home schools two active teenage boys. She contributes to several sites on different topics. Sass also contributes parenting and family articles weekly.

How to Find Affordable Single Mom Student Loans

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Finding the funds that a single mom needs to go back to school is worth researching. Working toward a degree can pay off with a more stable financial future. Many moms, like a lot of students around the country worry that taking out student loans to pay for living expenses and tuition will leave them with a heavy debt burden after they graduate. Make finding affordable single mom student loans by trying to secure funding for college from any source available so that you only have to borrow the balance. You’ll be happy you took the time to apply for grants and scholarships when it’s time to start paying the loans back.

After all options for grants and scholarships have been taken advantage of, figure out how much more money you’ll need to be able to pay for your education.  Since this is money that you’ll have to pay back, make sure that you don’t borrow more than you’ll actually need.

The interest rates for a Direct Subsidized Student Loan doubled on July 1, 2012, from 3.4% to 6.8%. The increase has been in the works since 2007, when it was established by Congress. The U.S. Department of Education can’t change this rate, although the President Obama’s budget request has included a proposal to bring the rate back down to 3.4% next year, it must first be approved by Congress.

Most educational institutions have financial aid professionals who have experience in finding funding for students, including single moms, who are furthering their education. Set up an appointment to talk with them before taking out a student loan.

If you’ve taken out several student loans to pay for a college education and are struggling to make the payments, there are options that may help you to make your budget more workable. Student loans can be consolidated, meaning that your monthly payment could be reduced and that the time that you have to repay the student loan could be extended up to thirty years. For the single mom who is struggling to repay past student loans after finishing college, the option could provide relief to her budget.

Before you consider consolidation your loans, consider the options. Discuss your plans and get more information with the holder of your student loans before making any final decisions. Make sure that you will not be giving up any benefits or discharge options before you apply for the consolidation loan.


Planning Ahead While In School

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Going to school while taking care of a family is commendable. IT takes planning, organizing and commitment. You can put so much into making sure everyone is taken care of and that you are keeping up with your studies that you may forget to look a little farther ahead in your own future.

Next Semester

At the beginning of a semester, you may be caught up in the excitement of new classes or the anxiety of returning to school after years away from studying. Make sure when you pick your classes that you speak with an advisor about the rest of your classes. Some are only offered once a year or at certain times of the day. Make sure you plan classes so that your subsequent semesters fall effortlessly into place and there are no surprises.

Graduate School

Will you be pursuing a graduate degree? Have you made sure that the course work you are doing will transfer to your graduate school? Are there any special requirements for graduate degree that will impact your personal life? Some degrees require that work an internship which could take you away from home. Make sure you know these kinds of details before you get started.

Job Markets

Are you willing to move, perhaps out of state, to find a job in the field you are going to school for? If not, have you checked the job market where you live? There is nothing worse than going to school to study in a particular field that you feel passionate about and then discovering there are no local jobs in that industry.

Finding a Job

How will you find work once you graduate? Have you started networking? Talk to people working in your field, particularly when you are in your last year. Join associations related to your field and begin searching online job boards and forums about information leading to jobs. Even though you are still in school, you may possess the skill sets an employer is looking for. He may be willing to wait or to offer you an internship or part time work until you graduate.

Getting a college education is an excellent decision but you have keep looking forward to the future throughout the process. From choosing classes, schools and fields of study to where you want to live and work, the decisions you make now will guide your life for years to come.

Supplies to Have for College

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There are a lot of gadgets on the market for the college students. Most of them are marketed as ‘essential items’ promising to help you keep your life organized and make your studies go more smoothly. One look at the price tag and the single mom who is going back to school may wonder if she will be able to afford to be a successful student.

Keep it simple, mom. Your real needs are probably no more extravagant that those of your kids. And, you probably won’t have to invest in a box of crayons or spend a lot of time writing your name on all of your purchases.

Basics

Possibly the most important thing that the single mom will need as she adds college classes to her busy schedule is a planner. Look for an easy to tote size that gives you enough space to keep track of your kid’s activities as well as your own deadlines for assignments and dates for quizzes and tests. Add each task to the planner immediately so that nothing is overlooked. Get into the habit of referring to it often and you’ll find that it will reduce your anxiety about the loose ends in your life, no matter how full it looks.

If you have a laptop and will be bringing it to campus or to the library, it will be worth the money to invest in a case. You don’t want to take the chance of damaging it during your commute. It will also be easier to carry. If the case is large enough to carry a notebook, pen and power source, so much the better.

Make sure that your printer is in working order and that your supply of ink or toner is sufficient. Stock up on printer paper. Running out of paper in the middle of the night when a project is due the next day is a stress that the single mom/student doesn’t need in her life.

Unless you are taking classes that need special tools like cameras or art supplies, the following list will get you through your student days:

  • A 3 subject notebook for each class
  • Highlighters
  • Note cards
  • Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Pens
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • Notepads
  • Folders
  • A sturdy backpack to carry it all in

Some instructors will want specific items, so put off your purchase of a calculator for math and science until you get guidance.

 

Scholarships Available to Single Moms

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Tuition isn’t the only expense faced by a single mom who is going back to school. Often she has to pay for additional hours of child care, expenses to travel back and forth to class, school textbooks and other supplies. That’s why it’s important to investigate all sources of grants and scholarship to lighten the financial burden.

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund isn’t targeted specifically toward the single mom, but if you are a woman over the age of 35 and fit the other criteria, your single mom status doesn’t rule you out.

The income guidelines are as follows:

Household Size                                Maximum Net Household Income

1                                                                                             $14,182

2                                                                                               23,243

3                                                                                               31,900

4                                                                                               39,379

5                                                                                               46,475

6                                                                                               54,347

 

In addition to the age and income guidelines, you must be either a U.S. citizen or be a Permanent Resident of the U.S. You have to be accepted t or enrolled in a school that is regionally or ACICS accredited and be in the process of pursuing a vocational or technical education, as associate’s degree or your first bachelor’s degree.

When selecting the women to be awarded the scholarships, the committee will be looking at your goals. They will also consider the plan that you have made for reaching the stated goals and the challenges that you have already faced or may be facing as you attempt to accomplish them. Your unique financial situation will also be taken into consideration.

How to Apply for the Scholarship

Contact your school’s financial aid or enrollment office to make sure that the school has the ACICS or regional accreditation that is required for you to be eligible for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation scholarship.

Applications for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation scholarships are accepted on or after November 1, 2012 for next year. You can apply online at www.rankinfoundation.org. The website has an application form that you can download and fill out. There is also a video guide at the web page http://www.rankinfoundation.org/students/applications to help you fill out your application.

References

Many single moms who are going back to school don’t know anyone who can write an academic or professional reference for them. The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund committee suggests that you choose a person who is familiar with your academic goals or personal situation to write a positive letter instead. This person could be an employer, a volunteer supervisor, co-worker or a counselor. Don’t let the reference requirement in your pursuit of the additional education funds.

 

Finding Online School Options

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Many single mothers don’t have the time to attend traditional classes. That’s why online school options have become so popular. Through online schools, you’re able to work on assignments when your schedule permits. For many single mothers, this may be the only option of continuing their education. Whether you take online classes through a local community college or simply obtain certifications, you can obtain a higher education online. Here’s what you need to know about finding online school options.

Check Out Local Community Colleges

Many community colleges offer degrees that can be completed 100% online. This allows you to better your education without having to worry about scheduling classes around your already hectic schedule. More importantly, some fees are even waived when attending classes online. Some colleges even offer online registration and online bookstores so that you’ll never have to step foot on campus. What many single mothers love about online community colleges is being able to work on assignments before the kids get up and after they go to bed. In other words, you can do a bit of work here and there without having to sit down for a full hour.

Research Online Universities

There are a number of online universities. However, not all online universities are what they appear to be. You must make absolutely sure that the university you’re applying to is accredited. Without proper accreditation, you could be wasting your time and money. While online universities can be more expensive than community colleges, an accredited university will still have financial aid available. Some may even have payment plans for the expenses that can’t be covered by financial aid.

Take Free Online Classes

If you’d just like to beef up your skills or learn a new trade, such as a graphic design or decorating wedding cakes, there are a number of online classes that are free to take. Even if you just want to learn Spanish to make yourself more appealing to growing businesses, you can find free classes that will help you succeed.

Get Certified Online

Lastly, there are a number of certifications you can earn online. Many of these certifications can be obtained without previous education. For example, you might become certified in word processing or spreadsheets, both of which would be sought after in receptionist and other office-type jobs. You might also choose to add certifications to a previously earned education. For example, if you have a degree in graphic design, you might choose to become certified in HTML or mobile applications.

Why Community College May Be Best for You

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Many people downplay the benefits of community colleges. However, the community college environment is the best choice for a number of busy people, especially single mothers. Whether it’s the flexible hours or optional daycare, you will more than likely find that a community college has everything you’re looking for. Best of all, community colleges charge a small fraction of what universities charge. Here are a few reasons why community college may be best for you.

Flexible Hours

One of the best benefits for single mothers is that community colleges offer flexible hours. With day, evening, and weekend courses, you’re better able to create a schedule that works for you and your family. You can also take as many classes as you want. Those that want to get a higher paying career quickly will enjoy the ability to take 16 or more credit hours each semester.

Online Classes

Many community colleges also offer online courses, which allow you to attend classes on your own schedule. This can be wonderful for busy parents. It’s important to note that online classes may not be for everyone. If you need to take a course that you’re worried you’ll have difficulty with, you will more than likely want to choose a seat-based course. However, this is a great option for humanities courses and other courses that you’ll breeze right through.

More Options for Quicker Careers

Another great benefit is the ability to take certificate and diploma programs. These programs usually take 1-2 semesters to complete, which allows you to start looking for employment sooner. Examples include medical transcription, medical coding, information technologies, and even mobile applications.

Less Expensive

Single mothers will love that community colleges offer much more affordable prices. Even if you’re interested in eventually obtaining a 4-year degree, it can save you thousands to start out in a community college. Best of all, some community colleges only charge up to a certain amount. What this means is that if you want to take more than 16 credit hours, you’ll only pay for 16 hours. This is strictly an example, the colleges in your area may have different requirements.

Daycare

Last, but not least, many community colleges offer daycare. If your children aren’t old enough to be in school, this can make going back to school much, much easier. Just be aware that some colleges offer this program as a way to educate those training to be daycare providers.

Health Education for Pregnant Mothers

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Learning that you are pregnant is one of those life-altering moments. With a new life growing inside you, learning about how to keep you and your new baby healthy becomes your full time job. Health education for mothers will never be more important than at this moment.

Sources of Information

Many women, especially first time mothers will turn to their own mothers and other family members for their information. There is definitely some practical, hands-on knowledge to be gained there but it isn’t the most reliable way to gain health education information. Technology changes, advances in science alter the way we think about things and obviously, the experiences of one woman are no guarantee that your experiences will be the same.

The information you get from your own doctor will be invaluable as you progress through the months of pregnancy. He will take a complete medical history so he is prepared for things that your history might reveal to him such as difficult births or twins that run in your family. He can also explain symptoms – which are normal and which are worrisome. He will prepare you for how your body will change as your baby grows and your delivery time draws near.

Your doctor can help you choose a healthy menu to keep you and your baby vital and strong during the coming months. He can talk to you about the types of childbirth options available to you. BY having this information, you are educating yourself so you can make the right choices for you and your baby, choices that will affect the rest of your child’s life.

There are also a great many books available on the topic of pregnancy, delivery and health. Be sure to choose books by reputable sources. Avoid books by unknown authors or without any type of accreditation.

Health education related to caring for your newborn is also of great importance to the pregnant mom. Learning how to care for your infant, what signs to watch for that might indicate illness and how to do the simple things like taking a temperature or giving medication are part of mothering.

Health education for pregnant mothers covers a wide range of topics. Fortunately, a pregnancy last nine months and you probably have plenty of time. There is no need to learn it all overnight but there is no time like the present to get started.

 

Scholarships for Women Overview

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Today more than ever in the past, women are turning to college as a means of secure a better future for themselves and their families. According to some studies, women make up the majority of college students today. For those who lack the financial means to take advantage of this changing educational landscape, scholarships for women can help fill the void.

One thing to watch for is that many scholarships are goal-oriented. That is to say they want to promote women as leaders, get them into currently male-dominated industries or get them into doctoral programs. This is not a bad thing. By all means, it is often designed to not only help a woman get a college education but to succeed well beyond college.

Some of these scholarships are given to those women to demonstrate leadership skills or an entrepreneurial knack before they enroll in college. Others are given to women who have been away from school for a while and are looking for ways to improve their career options. Even female undergraduates can qualify for scholarships if they are excelling in their studies. The fields of math, science and technology are always looking for more women and many businesses will offer scholarships to women willing to undertake this type of degree, such as IBM and Microsoft to name a couple.

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarships are available every year with a deadline of March 1st. These scholarships are awarded to low income women who are r35 or older with a vision of how a college education can change the lives of their families and themselves. If you are pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree or your first bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible for this program. You must be an American citizen to apply.

The SWE Scholarship Program is another annual program. You need to apply by February 15. It provides assistance for women enrolled in “ABET/CSAB accredited baccalaureate or graduate programs, in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science.”

These grants are announced for sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduates in the summer and for freshman or those reentering school in the late summer or early fall. Some or corporate sponsored scholarships and others are endowments. Both are paid out when proof of registration is provided.

Other sources of financial scholarship may be available through the school you are attending. Talk to your guidance counselor or the finance office to find additional assistance paying for your college education.

 

 

How Scholarships Would Benefit Me

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If you are facing financial barriers to attending college, then there is no doubt that a scholarship could provide many benefits, some you may not have even considered.  Before you throw your hands up in abject frustration, consider how a scholarship could ease many of your burdens.

Financial Benefits

This one is obvious and the reason you are here reading this in the first place. A scholarship can relieve some or all of the monetary burdens associated with attending college. You can find scholarships for everything from tuition and books to room and board if you are diligent in your pursuit.

Time for School

Without a scholarship, many people have to work to support themselves and pay for school. This can leave very little time for studying, doing research or spending time in labs. With a scholarship, you may be relieved of that burden and can dedicate your time to your studies fully.

Time for Extra Curricular Activities

Without the financial constraints that make it necessary to work while attending college, you will have time to pursue extracurricular activities. These may be strictly pleasurable activities, sports or activities related to your field of study. Any of these helps you remain a better-rounded individual with a variety of interests and an outlet for any stress you might experience.

Increased Visibility

Once you win one or two scholarships, it starts a cascade rolling your way. You list those awards on your curriculum vitae and when the next scholarship committee reviews it, they may be more likely to make an award in your favor because others have also deemed you worthy. It reinforces your viability as a candidate.

Job Seeking

When it comes time to look for work, you will prepare a resume. On that resume, you will list all of your achievements, including any scholarships you were awarded. This tells potential employers that others reviewed your skills, experience and education and found you worthy of receiving financial support. It is a feather in your cap.

Confidence and Self-Esteem

Wining a scholarship is also a form of self-validation. No one wins every scholarship they apply for but even winning one or two has the power to inspire you. The recognition of others that you have potential worth nurturing is something money cannot buy. It will give you confidence that you can use each time you apply for a scholarship or a job or face any big challenge in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Top College Degrees for Women

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Education is important in today’s society. In fact there are few lucrative jobs available in today’s job markets that don’t require an education past high school. So in order to be a successful working mother it is important that you realize that your high school education is not going to be enough. In other words, it may be worth your time to consider returning to school to earn a college degree. Not sure of what to choose? Here is a listing of the top college degrees for women that employers are looking for.

#1 Business Degrees

A degree in business can mean a top paying management position for most women. The average salary of a woman with a business degree is approximately $45,000 when the woman is first starting out. More and more corporations are recognizing that women CEO’s are just as powerful as their male counterparts. This means that having a business degree can mean a successful business management career.

#2 Health Profession Degrees

An important top college degree for women is one in the health profession. There are many degrees that fall under the health profession studies but all of them prove to be quite beneficial when looking at long term earning capabilities. Some jobs that you could possibly hold with a health profession degree are:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Licensed Therapist/Counselor
  • Licensed Practicing Nurse

#3 Education Degrees

There will always be a need for top educators so therefore this is a career field that proves to always be hiring therefore strengthening an education major’s chance of long term employment. As one of the top college degrees for women, a degree in education can lead to a long and meaningful career. Some of the jobs associated with an education degree aside from being a teacher include:

  • Assistant Principal
  • Principal
  • Guidance Counselor
  • Superintendent of School
  • Special Educator

Other top college degrees for women according to Forbes included:

  • Social sciences and history
  • Psychology
  • Visual and performing arts
  • Communication and communication technology
  • Biological and biomedical sciences
  • English literature
  • Humanities and liberal arts

When planning your educational path think about what you are already good at along with what you’d like to accomplish. Use that along with this list to help you decide which college major is going to work the best for you and your future.