Parenting on a part-time salary

LaTiere Galvan

Photo Courtesy of Drew Tolson/flickr

Summer is fast approaching and some single parent students may be concerned with parenting on a part-time salary. While parenting already has its challenges, single-parenting on such a limited income and attending school may seem impossible. But there are a few arrangements that can be made so that students may still attend classes, earn a manageable income and provide the care they need for their children.

Childcare expenses outside of the home can be expensive. An income from a part-time job may not be accommodating enough to provide childcare as well as other necessary care inside the home and other daily expenditures. One way to minimize the cost of childcare and maximize your circumstance is to look into childcare services at each university or educational institution to see what they offer.

Some institutions have facilities that accommodate and care for students’ children for a minimal or discounted fee. In some rare cases, there may even be programs that will fully fund childcare. CSUN now has a program available that provides funding for qualifying students to cover the expenses of childcare through their childcare network.  With this resource, students may be able to enroll their children into the childcare facility during the hours that they attend classes for a reduced amount or entirely paid for. This will allow the parent to be closer to their children’s child care center in case of an emergency, as well as attend classes within proximity (which will cut down on traveling expenses).

But what about living on a meager part-time salary? Students can easily search for jobs on campus to supplement their part-time incomes. Working on campus can have its benefits, especially if students’ children are enrolled full-time and the child care center is open convenient hours. This enables the student to be able to take on work on campus that will put more money in their pockets while not coming out of pocket for child care.

Another way that students can make this situation more convenient is to take courses that are available online. Students who take online courses reduce the amount of time their child needs to be in childcare, ultimately cutting the cost (if it is not completely funded already). Online courses also cut down on the amount of traveling a student does in order to attend a class meeting.

One other possible way to make parenting on a part-time salary more feasible is to consider finding a child care establishment that has available positions. If a student is able to obtain a part-time or full-time job at the facility where their child is enrolled (whether is it in a separate department or not), they will be able to earn an income, be within distance to their child and maybe even spend some time with them during their off-time.

Combining some or all of these separate alternatives may relieve some of the anxiety of having to parent on a part-time salary while working towards a degree. The challenge is in creating an efficient game-plan for attaining these goals and limiting the strain in doing so. If as a student you can take online courses, find work-study or on-campus employment as well as enroll your child in university childcare, you may be able to make the necessary adjustments to succeed in your educational endeavor.