Obtaining information on financial resources frequently requires a considerable amount of research.
All of the women emphasized their frustration with not knowing who to speak with or where to go to gain access to information about financial and other resources, but it is especially a problem for new foreign students:
Some students live and work here and so are very familiar with information and what is going on, but I am a newcomer and not familiar with the campus. People talk to me about financial aid and what is going on, but I don't think I'm very clear.
Information is also seldom available through alternative forms and students with special needs also have to rely on others to assist them:
Just from my own experience, I don't think the information readily available. One has to ask. And it is probably not available to someone who can't read print.
People who work are not necessarily eligible to apply for financial assistance and several of the women interviewed encountered difficulties even though they had a part-time job. Many women's situation may be similar to this part-time M.A.'s:
I have to pay all my course fees because I am not eligible for assistance as a part-time student. As someone who's not streamlined into the doctoral program, there isn't a lot of access to grants. And I can't have a Teaching Assistantship.
Women in the paid work force often prefer to complete their education by returning to school full time but many cannot do so unless they obtain an Assistantship. A woman who returned full time as a result of such assistance, pointed out:
Financially the barriers are significant. Often you are the only person bringing in an income, and so a loss of that income for a specific period can create great hardship. I am lucky. I am single-I don't have anybody to support.
However, many women do have someone to support. A mother of two who is a part- time student said:
Money is a big thing. I could never see how I could manage [returning full time] with two kids. Somebody has to feed them and you couldn't live in a one-room apartment.
The comments of these women show that the eligibility criteria for obtaining student loans or grant assistance are biased since women's particular needs are still being overlooked.
The cost and availability of child care was identified as a personal barrier by the two interviewees with children. These women not only have an additional expense, they often sacrifice their educational goals to care for their children. One dedicated wife and mother put it:
A women in my position who wants to have a family usually ends up carrying the load. My husband has pursued his career as though nothing else has happened to him, and I am the one who put everything on the back burner in order to be with the children.