Single Families: the Struggle to Survive

Topics: Pell Grant, Higher education, Family Pages: 16 (6280 words) Published: December 6, 2010
Single Families: The struggle to survive
There are roughly around 6 billion people in the world or there were as of 2009 and for every 1000 people about 5 are divorced, over 13 million american women alone are widowed, and many people are just single. So me by choice others by circumstance but the truth of the matter is that over 20% of families worldwide are single parent run homes. How do these people live? Many in poverty and a grand majority of them live in the middle to low class ranks of society. Many of us believe the economy sucks, our lives suck, we think we've got it bad but we should see how some of these people live. How does one get by surviving in a paycheck by paycheck manner? How do you pay bills and eat? Many of these questions do have answers, lets start with a question: How do we deal with educating the children of single parents?

1. Education
In the past, if someone had a child that was it, their main focus was raising and providing for that child regardless of the kind education that they had. Those parents didn’t have much of a choice but to join the workforce immediately to put food on the table and continuing an education was more of a luxury. Many in society viewed this issue to be more of a personal matter rather than a social concern. Views about this have changed with the rapid increase of single parent households growing to a staggering 13.7 million in the United States. (Grall) One place where we can see evidence of people becoming more aware of the importance of single parents is in education. It is not a little known fact that a quality education can improve conditions for those who seek it and single parents are not an exception to that rule. That is one of the reasons why we have seen more local, state and national governments and organizations offer financial assistance to those single parents who wish to continue their education.

In a joint study conducted by the University of Illinois and Washington University that examined the effects of postsecondary education on the economic well being of single parents, the results were not surprising. The study found through a series of analysis that “single parents with postsecondary education, especially those with 4-year college degrees, had significantly higher labor income and house values and were less likely to live in poverty than those with a high school degree or less than a high school degree.” (Zhan, and Pandey 661-673) Unfortunately, the study did find that only 31% of mothers and 41% of fathers had any type of college education. Even more astounding was that of those single parents with a college education only 8% of mothers and 17% of fathers had college degrees(Zhan, and Pandey 661-673). This study shows the magnitude that investing an education has on single parents to empower themselves, increase their financial earning power and to dedicate resources to promote educational opportunities for single parents. Of course because the single parent’s case is more unique than that of the common student, the need for financial assistance such as scholarships and grants are necessary.

With the costs of college tuition continuing to soar, scholarships for single parents are extremely important. Scholarships are designed to pay for higher education such as college, graduate school or some type of professional school. Obtaining a scholarship is the best way to avoid some if not all of the tuition fees and unlike loans, (which will be discussed later) scholarships do not require the recipient to pay those funds back. Scholarships are not normally meant to provide any income beyond a student's higher education expenses. While there are thousands of scholarships offered, they are mainly split into two types, school sponsored scholarships that award funds based on academic performance or private scholarships. Private scholarships can be granted to support a student pursuing a certain field of study or can even be...

Cited: Hartle, Terry. "Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.." Educational Record 66.4 (1996): 19-21. Web. 12 May 2010. (Hartle 19-21)
" FSA Handbook Federal Pell Grant Program." Federal Pell Grant Program 3
"Stafford Loan Information." Stafford Loan. Student Loan Network, 2010. Web. 12 May 2010. <>. (Stafford Loan)
Zhan, Min, and Shanta Pandey
Grall, Timothy. "Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007." US Census Bureau (2009): n. pag. Web. 12 May 2010. <>. (Grall)
Agarwal, Abhishek
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