Students Raising Students-UPIU Story by Taelene Swihart

Waking up at the crack of dawn, after a long night of homework and test preparation can really wear a person out, especially if they have children in school. Being that colleges are so diverse these days it is not surprising to see the vast majority of college students with children.

 Between midterms, finals, reports and research one has to wonder how anyone could ever find the time for all of it. But they do, for example Amy Thobois is a nursing school student at West Virginia University has two children, both school aged  says that “I think it is difficult balancing school, kids, a home and everything that comes with it. My husband is in the military so he’s gone a lot and it’s a heavy load. I have family to help me out.”

 A heavy load indeed it can be challenging to keep everything organized and running smoothly.  But family is her motivation she told me, she wants a bigger house, reliable cars and she wants to give her children everything she possibly can. She spoke about the assistance that she isn’t able to get because her husband makes too much money but these programs are available to low income families and vary by household size.

 For example in Morgantown, WV there is a program through the child care resource center that helps pay for childcare for working mothers and students. The university also has a new child care center open now for students with children. They also offer free care to qualifying individuals.

Besides childcare, there are many other programs at WVU that takes families on trips to places like Kennywood, Cedar Point and other amusement parks for free. It is through the Child Development Center .

Like Amy, Linde Henderson from Foster, Kentucky is also a full time nursing student and also finds it difficult to manage time, but she is more concerned about her lack of sleep. She said “I had to do 99% of my homework and studying after they went to bed, so I average about 2 hours sleep a night!”

 But her college does not offer any kind of child care assistance like Amy’s does, so she has to use her financial aid money to pay for childcare. Money is a great concern it is hard for full time students to live without an income if they cannot work. And it is even harder if they do work and go to school and take care of their families. If Linde got a job it would take up most of her time that she has to spend with her family.

The burden is difficult for them, so both of them are for now trading one dream for another, putting their dreams of owning a home and car on the backburner.

Even though the financial burden is hard to bear it is possible for a student who want to go back to college to schedule their classes in the evening or around their work in order to achieve that degree without having to be totally dependent on assistance or aid.

According to The Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) reports that students who are over 25 make up 47 percent of the new and returning student population on many of today’s college campuses and that 13 percent are parents.

But you have to have determination and motivation because it is not easy to balance everything, my motivation for going to college is to further my education in healthcare and to provide a living for me and my family.” said Roberta Roupe a nursing student at Wheeling Jesuit Community College.

Getting that degree is a hard thing to do but it can be done and once a student gets out of college, starts working full time and make more money then what they did before they started it will all seem worth it.

For more information go to:

Child Development and Family Support Services | Students Who Are Parents Family Events,

Going Back to College: Frequently Asked Questions

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