A single mother prepares for birth

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By Kelly Collins / Staff Writer

RCC’s resources (Jared Jackson / Staff Photographer )

By Kelly Collins / Staff Writer

Finding the time and finances to go to college is a struggle for any student, but more so for those supporting themselves and their child, alone.

The Department of Education recently reported that 13 percent of students currently enrolled in college are single parents.

Frances Salazar is 20 years old and expecting the birth of her first son early Nov.

She made the decision to return to school in June.

While her son’s father would like to help support their child, there are difficulties.

They are not currently together because they live too far apart. He is unemployed and desperately seeking work.

Salazar is also unemployed as well.

The unemployment rate in California was 12.1 percent in Aug.

Salazar’s condition makes it even more difficult to find work.

Salazar had a stable job at K-mart for some time. When she requested to be re-hired, she was denied, simply because she was pregnant.

At the moment she is on welfare and receives financial aid for school, but this has not necessarily made her life easier.

She said she wanted to study to become a veterinary technician, but it was not a decision welfare would agree to support.

In order to receive the benefits for her child, she is studying to become a registered nurse.

“It’s not what I want, but maybe in the future I can go back to school and study to be a vet technician,” she said.

Government financial aid granted Salazar $540 for her tuition fees for the fall and spring semester, hardly enough to cover the 14.5 units she is registered for plus the cost of textbooks.

If Salazar wishes to take winter classes, she will be on her own to pay her tuition fees.

Well into the fall semester, Salazar has yet to receive the money from financial aid and has not been told when she should expect it.

She still lacks a textbook for an important class.

“I’m still going without an English textbook because I don’t have the $55 to pay for it,” she said.

Riverside City College has helped provide some resources to allow her to continue her education, even after her baby arrives.

She qualified for the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services.

EOPS can provide qualified students academic counseling, priority registration, textbook vouchers, and tutorial services.

RCC also has an on-campus day care center available to students, staff, and the entire community.

Located in the Early Childhood Education Child Development Center, students can receive day care for their child for a fairly low flat rate.

One resource Salazar benefits from is transportation to college and back home.

While she is unable to afford registration and insurance for a vehicle, she takes advantage of the Riverside Transit Agency and rides the bus for free by using her RCC ID card.

This benefit not only helps her get to class, but also to doctor appointments.

Despite the assistance Salazar receives at the college, life is still hard outside the campus.

“I’m on campus a lot, it’s my only escape,” she said.

Salazar lives in a crowded space with her mother, brother and another family.

It is a stressful situation she is not eager to bring her child into.

“I’m trying to be calm about it all, because I don’t want the baby to come out distressed,” she said.

 

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