Single parents are often stuck in a poverty trap and education is the best way out, as a degree can significantly improve career opportunities. For single parents the art of juggling become a necessity if contemplating a return to school, as there will be childcare, work, the home and bills to manage, as well as study and time with the family. On top of all that there is the financial cost of obtaining an education which can appear prohibitive.
Money need not be an obstacle to the single parent returning to education, as scholarships, grants, financial aid and loans are all available. They will make it a possibility but it will still be a financial struggle, and it is a rare student who graduates without a high level of debt to repay.
As the student considers which schools to apply for it is worth paying attention to any financial aid packages which they offer, or scholarships. It is advisable to always contact the financial aid officers of the school as they will know exactly what kind of monetary aid is available to assist, and some of the schools within North Carolina offer a good choice of education grants for single parents. The College Foundation of North Carolina has a list of education institutes which provide both needs based and merit scholarships to students.
The Carolina Covenant Program at UNC Chapel Hill gives students that enrol in a 10-12 federal work study job the guarantee that they will graduate without debts. Grants, scholarships and federal work study will cover all the costs of attending college, so the student does not need to apply for loans. This is a fantastic opportunity for single parents with a low income as it alleviates any worries about graduating with loans to pay off.
To qualify the student must still submit the FAFSA application first as Pell grants are awarded through this application, and are given out on a needs basis to those on low incomes. However students attending colleges such as Chapel Hill may not need to take on further loans, so should contact the North Carolina state education department regarding availability of other grants and funding.
If a college which offers a covenant is not the one which appeals to you despite the financial assistance offered then the normal route of applying for federal Stafford loans through FAFSA will apply. However, the covenant program is really too good an opportunity to ignore as it is rare to find a state program which can guarantee a debt free graduation. This really is a unique offer for the single parent student to apply for and is highly recommended as the best way of funding college.