Single parents in Idaho who wish to return to adult education in order to improve their future prospects are encouraged to do so by the state. Idaho believes in investing in education within the state and passed the ‘Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Education’ which is beneficial to those from lower income families. Single parent households most often fall into that category.
Students are advised in the first instance to check with state universities and colleges to see if there any grants or scholarships which they may qualify for. Idaho has put additional resources aside for these. The obvious advantage of these is that unlike loans they do not need to be repaid.
The grant which is given to most low income students is the federal Pell grant, but to qualify for that the student must first complete the standard FDFSA application which all college loans require. The federal loans must in all cases be applied for by any student who is not paying for their own tuition. Generally though after federal loans have been granted there is still a shortfall in costs between the loans and the full cost of attending college, so any other funds or grants are most useful to have.
On the application for a federal student loan, which is non credit based but means based, your application will also be considered for a Pell grant. There are two federal student loans available, known as the Stafford loans. One is subsidized by the federal government whilst the other is not. The subsidized one is most usually granted though to all students with a low income.
For the duration of the Stafford subsidized college loan the federal government will assume the interest payments until after the student has graduated, thus guaranteeing the interest will be met. This differs to the unsubsidized Stafford loan where the interest payments must be met whilst the student attends college. Both loans have the advantage of offering a low fixed rate interest rate.
Another incentive which the state of Idaho offers to single parent students is a credit on their tax liability if working, thus giving extra assistance to the household finances. Any further shortfall in money to fund college may be relieved if the student decides to study for a degree leading to work within the public sector, such as teaching or nursing. The individual schools will be able to provide information regarding that. As a last resort students will need to make up any shortfall with alternative loans, which are private student loans. The disadvantage of these is that they are credit based so unless you have a good credit history you will need a co-signer to endorse the loan on your behalf.
Idaho does appear to be forward thinking in encouraging non traditional students such as single parents, back into education. As well as applying for the federal state loans and grants it could well pay off to see what incentives each school is willing to offer in addition, such as extra grants or work programs.