The State of South Dakota has a high level of poverty and many single parents want to try and improve their family’s future by continuing their education and obtaining a college degree. Along with the usual burdens and difficulties which single parents face when considering returning to education, of child care, family financial needs, and balancing work and study time, they have additional obstacles. The State Senator John Thune states that “South Dakotan has the highest proportion of students graduating from college with debt of any state in the nation.”
Trying to amass information about additional aid to single parent students within the state of South Dakota is very difficult, but that isn’t to say it isn’t available. The best thing any potential student can do is to seek information directly from the individual colleges and universities as they often have specific subsidies available to single parent students which aren’t advertised state wise.
For those students of Native American descent additional grants are available to help tackle the cost of college. Students should also enquire directly to the South Dakota state assistance program to see if any grants are available, and do as much as they possible can to off set the high cost of taking out loans.
In addition it is worthwhile making enquiries through the North Dakota Department of Public instruction as assistance may be available there too. North Dakota has a teacher shortage loan forgiveness program which students’ local to North Dakota may be eligible for. South Dakota does not advertise a similar program but it is worth approaching the state education department directly to see if they have a similar initiative.
The surest way of keeping student debt to a manageable level is to try and avoid the necessity of private student loans, so all other avenues should be investigated first. The first step for obtaining student loans which are inevitable to cover the cost of tuition and living are the federal student loans which must be applied for by submitting an FAFSA form.
This gives low income students access to the federal Stafford subsidized student loan which is non credit based and the cheapest means or student loans available. The student need not worry about repayments until 6 months after graduation and the federal government assumes the interest whilst the student is at college.
Once the FAFSA form is completed the student is then free to make application for the federal Pell grant which is offered to the lowest income students, as well as the new FSEOG loan. The latter does take into account current income but makes allowances for the fact that single parents have dependants to support.
Once all federal loan bases are explored, plus available grants and assistance, if there is still a shortfall then private student loans are the last resort. You will be able to get advice on the current deals from the financial aid office at your chosen college. These loans are not ideal as the interest needs to be paid whilst at college in most cases. http://www.helium.com/items/1729854-how-to-get-private-student-loans
If college is something you have in mind for the future rather than tomorrow you have more time to attempt to save in advance to cover costs and to explore additional avenues such as employer tuition assistance. The more grants you are able to tap into the less of a debt burden you will shoulder when graduating with your degree.