When Rosa Hall went back to complete her degree at Jackson State University, she knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She was working two jobs and raising two kids. But her dream of working in the medical field was too important. So, every night she lugged her computer and books to her second job as a cashier at an airport parking garage and studied when she wasn’t helping travelers.
“You’ll be surprised how strong you can be,” says Rosa. “I wanted to show my children that, when things get hard you just keep pushing and work harder.”
The challenges of student parents
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 22% of all college undergraduates are parents, 43% of whom are single mothers facing the same challenges and questions that Rosa Hall faced, such as:
How will I pay for it?
Where will I find childcare?
How do I balance school with parental responsibilities?
Will I fit in with younger students?
The answer to all of these concerns is that you can make it work – with the help of countless resources available to you.
When facing these challenges, it helps to remain focused on the incredible, long-term benefits of completing your degree – inspiring your children, building a better life for your family, and proving to yourself the amazing things you are capable of.
No one can do it alone. And you don’t have to. Help can be found everywhere, especially online, through great resources like “Attending College as a Student-Parent” or “How to Combine Your Study Time with Good Parenting” among other great articles on student-parenting.
CHILDCARE – They’re your number one priority. And there are plenty of resources ready to help out – from friends and family to school and government programs. Currently, almost half of Mississippi’s public colleges and universities offer childcare on-campus. You can find out more about childcare in our previous story – Juggling Kids and College.
FINANCIAL - If you need help with the financial aspects of returning to complete your degree, one of the first places to look is the C2C Program. Through this program, you can qualify to earn a C2C Grant, which can be used for any college-related expense - tuition/fees, books, supplies, computer, and more. You can even use the C2C Grant to help pay for childcare.
OTHER ASSISTANCE - The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) provides a wide range of public assistance programs, social services, and support for children, low-income individuals, and families.
The odds are in your favor
Student-parents are often motivated by the drive to improve life for their children. So, despite facing more obstacles than traditional students, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research cites that student-parents typically achieve higher GPAs than other students. In fact, over one-third of all student-parents earn a GPA of 3.5 (out of 4.0) or higher. So, do it for your kids and for yourself, because you’re likely to succeed!
Go Rosa, Go!
With the help of the C2C program, Rosa Hall was able to apply the 112 credits she had previously earned. She still had to complete 10 classes, but with the help of her C2C Coach, she earned her degree in University Studies. “The C2C program kept me on track – I always knew what I had to do and the people I had to contact,” smiles Rosa. Twenty-four years after she first went to school, Rosa Hall cried as she walked across the stage to get her diploma. Currently, Rosa is completing her MS degree in Health Administration in 2020 and then she plans to earn her doctorate.
Your best resource to start your journey
There is an incredible resource to help you start your journey toward completing your degree – C2C Coaches. They are experienced college staff members focused on helping adult learners navigate the sometimes-complicated process of earning a degree. The job of a C2C Coach is to provide support every step of the way – from enrollment through degree completion.
The C2C Program was designed to help Mississippi adults go back to college and complete their degrees. You will work with people that know the ins and outs of college and who are committed to giving you the support and guidance you need.
Contact them today. And give your kids one more reason to look up to you.