How do I stay in school?
Young men and women are balancing books and babies and staying in school. Colleges like Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio have programs designed to help pregnant and parenting students continue their education while balancing parenthood. Check with the Office of Student Services or your student handbook to see if your university has such a program.
Changes to schedules can be made for personal or medical reasons. Your Dean can assist you in modifying your schedule and offer advice on taking a term off. If you are concerned about confidentially, a doctor can provide documentation that does not specify the reasons for the request for academic flexibility.
Students for Life of America has an initiative to help pregnant and parenting students on campus. Check out the Pregnant on Campus initiative to see if there is a program at your university or one near you.
Housing – Although policies differ at universities, you should have the right to stay in your present campus housing while you’re pregnant. Legally, when you are pregnant you and your unborn baby are considered one person. If you choose to parent your child, many colleges offer family housing on-campus. Contact the Commuter Services Center if your university does not provide housing for you and your baby.
Health Care – If you are not covered under your parents medical insurance, check to see if your student health care plan offers benefits for prenatal, delivery and postpartum services. Prior to selecting new health care insurance coverage verify that your benefits will cover pre-existing conditions that include pregnancy.
Child Care – Some colleges offer on-campus childcare to faculty, staff and students. Check your student handbook for opportunities on your campus. Sometimes students find it helpful to share responsibilities with other parenting students.
Financing – Grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs are available to students. A Financial Aid Administrator should be consulted before you make any changes to your student status. Ask that all changes and agreements be documented in writing and save all documentation that deals with your scholarships, loans, grants or work-study.
Scholarships – Most university scholarships are awarded for a specific number of semesters, quarters or years, but do not require them to be consecutive. Under such terms, you are able to take off one or multiple terms without losing your scholarship. In some cases scholarships state that you must maintain a full-time class schedule. Make sure you understand the specifics of your scholarships before changing your credit hours. Direct your questions to the Office of Financial Aid.
Grants and Loans – Most government loans and grants have guidelines with regard to full or part-time status, cost of attendance and dependency status. They can include child care. All student loans must be repaid. Most loans have a grace period where no payments are required for a specified length of time. Loan deferments and forbearance of payments are granted under special circumstances, such as economic hardship and must be applied for officially. Talk with a Financial Aid Administrator before changing your schedule to find out how impending changes will affect your grants or loans. Questions can be directed to The Federal Student Aid Information Center 800-433-3243.