April 17, 2022
Being a parent and working full time leaves little or no free time to dream about the future. Many of us had families in the first place and put our career aspirations in the second place. Juggling in a full-time school in addition to work responsibilities and family can make it extremely difficult to pursue higher education.
Financial barriers as well as inflexibility can stand in the way of too many adults from California. Providing financial assistance for flexible online degree programs for parents and adults can make achieving an academic degree, in their own time, a reality.
An opportunity grant program for adult learners in California, proposed through Assembly Bill 2572, will put higher education within reach for a large population of parents looking to create a better future for themselves and their families.
I am one of the many parents who could not compromise on a stable income for my family during the degree. And as a full-time parent, I could not be a full-time student even in a traditional school building.
I needed a cheap and flexible option that could allow me to balance class loads with my duties as a parent of a child with a disability, and make sure he or she had what he or she needed to succeed on his or her own. I had the dream of going back to school, but it never seemed like the right time until I was referred to a non-profit online university with flexible schedules of on-demand classes.
Obtaining my degree online was the best way to support my family, work part-time, and get the opportunity to attend classes at my own pace. But the price of tuition, even though it is lower than traditional colleges, can be a significant barrier for many.
For years, I postponed going back to college because putting my family in debt while completing my degree was simply not an option or a risk I could afford to take, and I know I’m not the only parent in California who faces similar obstacles.
Currently, California ranks last in the state in adult education with an estimated 57% of adults in need of higher education. 63% of single mothers and 49% of single fathers graduated from some college but were never given the opportunity to complete the degree.
Parents without easy access to childcare and working part-time or even full-time simply do not see many options in higher education. And currently, California provides financial aid only to younger students studying for a degree on white and white campuses.
Fortunately, the solution for parents of students from California who lack the financial resources to study for an online degree exists with AB 2572. This bill would offer state financial aid to students aged 25 and over to study online at community colleges in California, public institutions and California public institutions. , Non-profit, fully qualified private universities to earn their academic degree. This new grant program will help our country as we deal with a large shortage of manpower, especially in the field of health and teaching.
Studies show that reasonableness and flexibility are the key to ensuring parenting students and other graduate learners return to higher education and complete their degrees. Providing financial aid to students involved in online curricula – students like me – can help parents of students in California find their next opportunity without canceling their family responsibilities.
The ability to create my own lesson plan is critical for me because I have a child who participates in therapy and also works part time. Creating my own course board helps me to be a better student, parent and person.
Online higher education has helped me advance my career, balance work and school life, all while raising my son. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and am now studying for a master’s degree. This investment in my education enhances the future I can provide for my family.
AB 2572 will help many parents like me complete their degrees and bring their career goals within reach while helping to bridge the gaps in California’s workforce. I call on the California Legislature to support this bill and provide a track for academic degrees and career development for busy parents like me.
Vinicia Jones is a San Diego resident and a graduate student
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