Going Back to College after Losing Your Job
Losing your job can be one of the hardest things you have to go through, especially if you are a single mom. Just when you thought you had the finances in order, your job was taken out from underneath you. But there are options other than just scrambling around to find another job similar to the one you lost. This may be the perfect time to go back to college and get the career you actually want. In some cases, you may not even be able to find a job similar to the one you lost, so you may have to reinvent yourself if you want to be able to keep providing for your family.
Considering the Options
Going back to school after you lose your job can be about reinventing yourself or about improving your education. It can make you qualified for jobs you were not previously qualified for. No matter what the reason you opt for college rather than going to work again, it’s important to consider the options.
Start thinking about what kind of career you would like to have. After you’ve got that figured out, then think about which colleges will fill your needs in this area. Look at local community colleges and also consider online classes. Think about your children and the type of classes you need in order to be there for them. There are plenty of ways to make college fit into your lifestyle.
Unemployment and State Benefits
One of the first things you should do after you lose your job is file for unemployment. This weekly paycheck will likely be a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to supporting your family. If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, then you are eligible for unemployment benefits, which now can last close to two years. By the time you’ve been in school for two years, you will be eligible for jobs or paid internships within your own field, so unemployment can help bridge the gap.
Just make sure when you are getting unemployment that you keep your class schedule open so that you can look for work full time. You have to be searching for work 40 hours a week and be available for work 40 hours a week in order to be eligible for unemployment.
There are also other state benefits available, like food stamps or WIC, which provides nutritional assistance for women and their children under the age of five. These state benefits are there to help you get back on your feet after you lose your job, so use them while you’re eligible for them and take the time to get the education you need and want.
Other Financial Options
Another thing you should do right away after losing your job is file your FAFSA, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid application. This form will get you entered into the government system, and from there the state and federal governments will offer you either grant money or low interest loans to attend college.
This money can be used not only to pay for tuition, but also for housing expenses. This can help to make ends meet while you are in school. Then all you have to do is get a part time job to cover the other expenses. In some cases, you may find a school with on-campus family housing that will allow you to be right on campus and living with your children. Some of these programs even provide a meal card for your children, so this is another way to help provide for your children, even if you can’t work full time while in school.
Just remember that the FAFSA goes on your income from the previous year, so if you were making above a certain amount of money during the last tax year, you won’t be eligible for college grants until a year later after you’ve been unemployed for 12 months. However, during this first year you will still qualify for low interest federal student loans, and you will need to file the FAFSA to qualify for those as well.