Going Back to School after Divorce? – It’s a Bigger (and maybe More Rewarding) Decision than Just Taking a Class
by Jen Manning, LCSW
Considering going back to school to support yourself, further your career after a divorce? Take some time to determine what your goals are for extending your education, what costs can you handle? And what arrangements will you need to make for your children?
Important questions to answer before signing up include: what are your goals? To start a new career? Advance in your current career? Do you want a higher degree, a certification or to take a few classes? How long will it take to achieve you goal? What will your earning potential be when you are finished? Answering these questions can help you develop a plan of action to get the most out of your investment.
The cost of any education can be very intimidating. Paying for school coupled with the financial responsibilities of being a single parent can make the choice difficult, especially if the other parent was the main financial provider. Do your research. There are many grants and scholarships available, but you have to put in the work to find them and apply. Ask your attorney if returning to school will affect any alimony you receive. If you are employed, check with your employer about any company paid programs to help with the cost. Don’t forget to compare the tuition cost at several schools.
Planning to go back to school while raising children is difficult. Adding one more thing into the mix of daily activities can seem overwhelming. Childcare expenses and scheduling your classes around their school day must be considered. Consider online programs as a way to have the flexibility of going to class without leaving home.
Take time to consider the ways this will affect you and your child, from the costs, to the earning potential after graduation, to the feeling of personal accomplishment. Make a plan, do some research, take your time and make it worth the effort.