Is financial aid available if I choose an online school?

financial aid student college

As the cost of college is of the utmost importance, many students consider this the most frightening aspect of deciding whether or not you can even attend in the first place. The tuition and fees today are extraordinarily high. Although it can be challenging, covering the costs can be significantly defrayed just by exploring your financial aid options.

If you have found an online degree program that is right for you, you must meet a few prerequisites before applying for financial aid. Generally, you must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, as well as, be a U.S. citizen or hold a green card. You must also own a valid Social Security Number. In addition, you must be registered with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. If you meet the requirements, you must then demonstrate your need for financial assistance. Your potential school will request that you complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Your school’s financial aid department, along with multiple online sites dedicated to helping the student understand and fill out the form correctly, can help you with this process so you are not alone in this quest.

The majority of financial aid comes from the federal government, but other loans and grants are also available through the state, the college itself and from private lenders such as banks, credit unions, and private foundations. Grants, fortunately, do not have to be paid back. Also, you may find reduced tuition rewards programs and cash payment plans from colleges that offer these to their students. Also, private scholarships from clubs, organizations and religious groups also are available and definitely worth exploring.

In addition, you may want to research the requirements for keeping financial aid once you receive it. Generally, schools will require you to sign on for full-time classes; however, some will permit part-time attendance, as well. You must also make sure your GPA is within the guidelines to keep financial aid. For federal financial aid, you must attend an online degree program that is appropriately regionally accredited. Your school must be approved by the U. S. Department of Education’s governing agency.

So, don’t be tricked into thinking financial assistance is only for those attending on-campus universities. Online distance learning programs offer the same financial aid benefits, plus they provide the convenience and flexibility that most people need and appreciate.

For a complete synopsis of the financial aid world, we created for you a super informative INFOGRAPHIC entitled “Financial Aid and Online Education” which takes you step by step through the process of obtaining financial aid and what it could mean for you and your family.


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