The number of single parents pursuing a college education in Rhode Island is on the increase as these non traditional students seek access to an education often curtailed early. Financial issues are the biggest problem prohibiting the single parent student from obtaining a college degree, although the problems of raising children alone whilst studying and running a home should not be underestimated. However it is possible for those students in the smallest state to obtain a college education and thus improve their career prospects and future prospects for their family.
The main resource for obtaining financial help and direction in Rhode Island has been the Rhode Island Student loan authority, but this is no longer issuing new loans due to the changes in FFELP brought in during 2010. However financial assistance is available through Rhode Island State.
All potential students need to first complete and submit an FAFSA application. This is used to apply for federal loans which are the cheapest form of student borrowing available as they offer low fixed rates of interest. They are not subject to credit checks and are available on a needs basis. Those with low incomes are eligible for the federal Stafford subsidized student loan on which the federal government guarantees the interest, and no form of repayment is required until six months after graduation.
By submitting the FAFSA students can apply for the federal Pell grant which is granted to those students with the greatest financial need. Students in Rhode Island who submit the FAFSA are also automatically considered for the Rhode Island State grant. This grant is intended for students with insufficient resources to afford a college education, thus being highly suited to single parent students who typically fall into low income brackets.
In addition Rhode Island Higher Education Authority has a number of scholarships available to students, based on financial need. Students are best advised to utilize the services of the college’s financial aid officers to obtain full and pertinent information regarding Rhode Island grants and scholarships as they are the first recipients of news about available grants.
The state also provides a nursing reward program, a pharmacy reward program and a teacher reward program, which forgive part of the student loan debt obligation for those students who go on to pursue a profession in the public sector. For current information on these programs it is once again best to consult with the college financial aid offices.
It may be possible for the single parent student in Rhode Island to obtain financial aid to help with the raising of children whilst they are studying, and enquiries should be made through the Rhode Island State Department of Health.
It is highly recommended to search thoroughly regarding grants and other sources of income as well as federal student loans, in order to avoid the higher expenses associated with private student loans. Early application for FAFSA has never been more important in order to be considered for the Rhode Island state grant.