During President Obama’s State of The Union address earlier this year, he asked lawmakers to make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which can provide up to $10,000 for four years of college. He also spoke about the key education provision in the health-care overhaul legislation that could possibly eliminate private lenders as the middleman in federally subsidized student loans. It is estimated that a $67 billion savings would be reinvested in the Pell Grant program to fund more financial aid for college students.
Now we all know how the government works. We’ve all seen the cartoon on how a bill becomes a law. We all know how the GOP likes to strike down anything just because it was Obama’s idea. This is not going to happen over night. We also know most women don’t want to be Diamond from The Players Club & sliding down a pole for tuition. Well, at least I assumed that until a few weeks ago.
A few weeks ago I met a stripper at a friend’s birthday party, when I asked her why she choose the “profession” she’s in, she said she was using the extra money to pay for college and her child’s private school tuition. Queue any random scene from “The Players Club”. I truly thought this chick was joking. Of all of the ways to earn extra money, you’d rather strip than work at McDonald’s or Barnes & Nobles part time? I’m pretty sure that you can make tons of extra money working the pole, but is losing a bit of self-esteem worth it? I’m not going to knock her hustle at all, but stripping for tuition isn’t for everyone and I’ve always thought it only happened in the movies.
Contrary to popular belief, not every single woman raising a child(ren) on their own has a story of struggle. There are women out there with their ducks in a row & their finances together. Home ownership wasn’t just a pipe dream; they have the adjustable mortgage rate to prove it. Many single mothers are juggling a career and running a household, but some also strive to further their education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
No, I’m not talking about Everest College. No one should strive for an Everest College education.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the average salary of a full-time worker with a bachelor’s degree is $50,900. A master’s degree averaged $61,300. In the grand scheme of things, depending on where you live, you can still be broke and living from pay check to pay check with these salaries. In attempting to figure out the average salary of a stripper, I came across an old story from 20/20 where a stripper by the name of “Rachel” was stripping to save the $38k needed for cooking school.
“Stephanie”, a college student stated, “I am getting a degree in fine arts. This is, for better or worse, this is probably the best-paying job I’ll ever have”. Sure, a dancer can possibly make $3,000 to $6,000 a week depending on the club they’re “performing” at, but is it worth loosing and leaving a bit of your dignity on a pole?
Unfortunately, education isn’t free or cheap, and not everyone is going to want to make extra money by working the pole at a strip club. When the average cost of an MBA degree is about $95k, to a lot of single mothers just trying to grasp the concept of furthering their education is more of a pipe dream than home ownership or finding a BMW (black man working).
So how can you afford to pay for an undergrad or graduate education that doesn’t include chaffing from a stripper’s pole and not going in debt from more student loans?
Start where you work. Sure, you may not like living in cubicle city but many corporations/organizations offer tuition reimbursement to their employees. On the average a company may reimburse up to 8 credits a semester, which may not seem like a lot, but over time, it does make a huge difference when it comes to receiving that tuition bill at the beginning of a semester. But if you’re already stripping for dollars, I’m not too sure if there’s any tuition reimbursement at those establishments.
Work where you learn. When friends ask me about graduate school, I have no problems in telling them to possibly look into working at a university. Where as many corporations do offer tuition reimbursement, why not work some where and get a totally free education? Take a look at any university’s Human Resources job page, and you’re bound to see a plethora of job postings. Now take it from first hand experience, you’re not going to get rich working at a university, especially a public one, but when you tack on the amount of money you’re getting in free tuition, it’s less likely you’ll have to learn a new pole dance routine.
Early withdrawals from your IRA. No, Ira is not the name of the biggest tipper at the strip club. Chances are, if you’re working you’re already contributing to your Individual Retirement Account. An early withdrawal from your account is one way to lower the costs of any possible student loans. Even though you can still risk owing federal income tax, you won’t have to deal with the 10% penalty. Sure, most people would like to save for a retirement, but when you’re faced with the choices of making more money with a better education, sometimes there are sacrifices that must be made.
You don’t have to go into further debt to afford an education or endure long nights at the local strip club either. Ingenuity and research goes a long way when it comes to finding funding. Also, how embarrassing would it be to end up face to crotch with your son’s math teacher? I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there are other options.