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Married and Studying

By: Kristen Young (Billingsley)

(This article contains interviews from relatives.)

            Some students have decided that marrying in college is not as big of a deal as people think, and in some cases it has even helped the students.

            “My wife did not qualify for the full Pell Grant before we married,” said Patrick Billingsley, UNA student. “Her dad made too much according to the government, but still she was on her own. She paid all of her own bills, school books, and even tuition. She had no help from her family at all. It was almost too much for her. However, once we married she no longer had to include them, which helped her qualify.”

            Billingsley said that now his wife does not have to take out as many student loans, and he helps her so she does not have to work so much.

            However, that does not apply to every relationship.

“I got married the summer after we graduated high school,” said Carly Waid, North West Shoals Community College student. “At that time I had already applied for financial aid, so I got a full Pell Grant based on my parent’s income. During my second year of college, my financial aid was based on my income and Josh’s income. Based on our income, I didn’t receive any financial aid.”

“To be eligible for Pell for the 2012-2013 year, a student must be an undergraduate student with an expected family contribution (EFC number) between $0 and $4,995” Nikki Yarber, with financial aid department, told Joy Willow for her article Students Sacrifice for Education and Dream Job.

            Being married and being in school does take out some time though said Samantha Allen, UNA graduate.

“The hardest part was finding time to study in between doing housework and working. I can definitely say it affected my sleep patterns! One thing Kyle and I had to get used to was not having much time for dates. We had to pretty much make time to spend together.”

Getting married during college should not be a light decision; however college should not always be an obstacle.

“We loved each other and knew that we would be getting married anyways,” said Billingsley “We won’t be starting a family in college, but why not go ahead and put the promise to love my wife forever.”

“I don’t think you should let other people’s opinion effect your decision,” said Waid “You do what you feel is right for you. I don’t know how many times I heard, ‘You ARE still going to college, right?’ or ‘You won’t finish college, because you’re married.’ I will be finished with my first degree in 8 months. You can do anything you set your mind to, and I have to say that it was a blessing to have my spouse there to encourage and support me.”