Single parents who are considering improving their prospects by entering into a graduate program of education have many things to take into consideration. They wonder if it is possible to juggle the family needs with the hours of study they would need to put in, whilst most likely working at the same time. Part time college study is usually the best solution.
Within Oklahoma there are approximately 30,000 single parent households, the majority comprising single mothers. One of the biggest deterrents they face in deciding whether to embark on a college degree is that they are likely to be first generation students within their family. However as 40% of the poorest households in Oklahoma are headed by single mothers, education is a way to improve their family circumstances, though the initial thought of paying for it can be daunting.
The state of Oklahoma has an established program to help those who wish to pursue a college education. OGSLP (Oklahoma guaranteed student loan program) provides advice and support, as well as serving as the federal family education loan program (FFELP) state guarantor for federal student loans.Single parent students need to follow the exact same procedures as any other student in applying for college funding, and that is to first apply for the federal student loans available.
It is most likely that single parent students will qualify for the most generous of the Stafford federal loans, the Stafford subsidized loan, which is a non credit based, needs based, federal loan. The Stafford loan comes with a fixed interest rate which is guaranteed not to rise, and repayments begin six months after graduation. The best thing about the subsidized Stafford loan which is available to low income applicants is that the interest payments are met by the federal government whilst the student is in college, and the student only assumes the repayments and interest obligations after graduation. This is a huge benefit as the student does not need to think about any repayment towards this loan whilst in college.
OGSLP is the state guarantor of the federal Stafford subsidized loan within Oklahoma, and is there to assist if there are any problems concerning the loan. An Oklahoma student also has the advantage of being able to apply directly through the state, but as always the FAFSA application must be submitted. An addition the OSLA (Oklahoma Student Loan Authority) is there to help with obtaining an alternative student loan to supplement the federal loan. Alternative loans are simply private loans which are credit based and non needs based, and generally require a co-signer. However OGSLP can advise on these often necessary additional private loans and if the student applies through the state then lower interest rates will be available to the student.
Oklahoma State does provide good advice and resources to help single parent students, in addition to being a guarantor for loans. It really does encourage the move of single parents into education, so if you are an Oklahoma based single parent considering entering the academic world, look first at the advice your state has to offer.