How to Pay Bills & Go to School Full Time as a Single Mom

Going to college can be a good way to increase your earning power, but it's certainly a challenge to pay bills and go to school full time as a single mom. You'll have to consider who will care for your kids and how you can have enough money coming in to cover the cost of food and other bills. If you can juggle all the challenges, however, you'll find that it's often the best decision for you and your children.

Talk to your school's financial aid counselors. Tell them that you want to pay for college as a single mother. You should be eligible to receive federal grant and loan money to pay for college. The counselors may also have some good ideas about child care and meals. Colleges are often willing to work with students to make college affordable.

Apply for federal aid for college. You'll need the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. Your college will give you this form or you can apply online. This will make you eligible for Federal Pell grants, Stafford loans--low-interest loans that you won't have to repay until after graduation--and other grants.

Consider your child care options. If your children are school age, you may only need to find after school care for them. Ask parents or other relatives if they mind helping out by watching your children. You may qualify for government help for child care, often in the form of reduced costs at certain day cares. Check the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency in your area.

Schedule your classes around your children's school times or available child care. As a student, you often have some choices in your class schedule. Look at your college's course guide and try to arrange your schedule so that you can take the classes you need to graduate within the time frames that your children have care.

Consider part- or full-time work to help cover expenses. If you have the child care resources, you may be able to take on some work in addition to your full-time class schedule. For example, you could work during the day and attend evening and weekend classes or you could take classes in the day and work on evenings and weekends. Online courses make it easier to juggle work and school because you can study on your own time. However, be sure to choose a school that is accredited.

Take out private loans to cover additional expenses. These often become due immediately, but if you have some savings to cover the cost of the loan, it can help you make ends meet.