The everyday struggle of attending school while being a single mother is hard.
“I have to augment for what’s most important,” said Amenzeisiofo Orobor. As a single mother of two small children, Orobor will be returning to Humber in January, switching from the Information Technology program to study Practical Nursing.
“At the end of the day, you have to pay your bills, your utilities, and have to do a number of things with finances,” she said.
Many single mothers wonder if their choice to attend full-time studies was right as the cost of living keeps rising.
According to a report from Statistics Canada, the annual pace of inflation reported in the October 2021 Consumer Price Index rose to 4.7 per cent, the highest level since February 2003.
From hiked prices in housing, groceries, gas, utility bills, and just about every other daily necessity, the cost of living is stressful.
With some depending on the Ontario Student Assistance Program and the Ontario Child Benefit, money is not something to spend frivolously. OSAP barely provides enough to live on throughout the year, and not everyone can work while attending school.
“It’s not enough,” Orobor said. “You don’t want to go beyond your budget, but you’re worried about living in a deficit.”
Financial stress puts strain on full-time students who are also single moms. There is a constant decision between a need and a want. Even food, at times, must be thought out strategically.
With the rate of inflation slowly increasing, single mothers are fearful. Sometimes it’s the difference between paying a bill or for gasoline for the week.
Working in the Infant room at Humber College’s daycare, Elizabeth Dias sees the struggle of financial hardships on single mothers attending full-time school.
“Moms are struggling. I don’t know how they do it,” said Dias.
Childcare is expensive, and finding a place to accommodate evening and weekend shift workers is difficult.
“We have moms who have their kids enrolled and unfortunately have to pull them out because (child care) hours aren’t conducive to their job,” Dias said.
The pandemic made things worse as many mothers lost money or fell behind in their studies. If a child is sick, mothers must either have them tested or stay home with them, sometimes for 10 days, to quarantine.
“Some parents don’t want to get the COVID test if the child is young,” Dias said. “So that impacts their studies, and if they’re working, that impacts their employment as well. Some bosses are a little bit nicer than others.”