Need College but, got no money

I want to go to nursing school to become a RN; which will take 4 years. I’m a single mother (living in California) and can’t afford it. Is there a way I can go full time without paying out any money now and receive living expenses, etc. that I can repay (or not) later?

Call the college’s financial aid office. They’ll tell you what’s available. You’re not likely to get living expenses, but you might be able to get a free ride somewhere near where you live, as well as work study to help with that.

Also, there’s a big shortage of nurses right now. I suspect there may be programs to pay your way if you’ll agree to work for a particular hospital. Again, ask the financial aid office.

Military? Since you have children I would suggest the Airforce. You’ll be on land and you will be able to take your children with you. Also, you can request to enlist as a coreman, which is basically a nurse, and apply that knowledge to become a nurse later on. Plus, after your 4 year enlsitment, you will have the Montgomery GI Bill to pay for any additional schooling after you get out.

Plus, you will get your base rate of pay, housing allotment (if you live off base, which you probably will), food allotment, and dependant allotment. Overall, I think you will do quite nicely.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: crazybee (at)

Well, I’m not young…36, so the military is probably not an option…they probably wouldn’t want me anyway since I’m sort of the Private Benjamin type.

One option is to first attend community college to get the background stuff out of the way. While there, you can get federal and institution-based financial aid, and, being in California, you can also possibly qualify for the Board of Governers’ Waiver which would completely waive your tuition fees. Another CA state program is Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOP&S), which can help provide funds to pay for books, child care and other such things. Also, transferring to a four-year school from a community college is much easier than trying to go directly to a UC or CSU school (if that is where you plan to go).

I was able to go through three years of CC and two years of UC Berkeley for my Bachelor’s Degree without having to take out a single loan. There is lots financial aid out there, even without scholarships. And, of course, if you do well, scholarships become an added source.

Since you’re over the age of 35, the military is not an option. However, there are other avenues. One is to begin your college career at the community college level. Get your AA there and ensure you sign up for the guaranteed transfer program to a 4 year college. Depending on both your academic record and your financial needs, you may be able to get some other assistance (grants, scholarships).

Look into Pell grants. They don’t have to be repaid.

All you need to do is fill out a FAFSA. You ought to be able to do it online. They will look at your income, savings, etc. and make you a financial aid offer made of grants, loans, and work study programs. Between grants and loans, I got all of my tuition payed for and had an ample amount for living on. It’s fast and easy. There is no reason for somebody not to go to college just because they can’t afford it.

Your particular college probably has programs for single mothers, as well. You may want to look into on-site daycare and family student houseing.

And finally, congradulations. My mother was in college when I was kid, and it was the best thing she could have done. As a pre-schooler, she’d tell me everything she learned that day in class on the way home from school/daycare. Talking to me helped cement the new ideas in her head, and I still remember a lot of the stuff that I learned. There is no better aptmosphere for a kid to grow up in than an intellectual one.