Federal Financial Aid Information
How To Pay For College
There are many different kinds of Federal Financial Aid available for online education in the forms of grants, loans and scholarships. Look below and investigate your options before making an informed decision about paying for your education.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Federal grants are by far the most popular way to pay for college for both online degree programs and campus programs. The simplest way to apply is to fill out and submit a free FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. You can find the application here.
Grants for accredited online colleges are need-based, so be sure to have your documents in order before applying, including W-2 forms (if applicable) and your last tax return. You can go to the FAFSA website for a complete list of required information and documents.
Online students are eligible for the same student aid as traditional students, providing you meet the requirements. Eligibility requirements according to the US Dept of Education include:
- You can demonstrate finanical need
- You are going to be working towards a degree or certificate program (you have been accepted)
- You are a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
- You have a valid Social Security Number (SSN).
- You keep up your grades while you are in school.
- You must certify that you have not defaulted on a previous government loan and that you do not owe money on a federal grant.
School requirements include:
- Enrollment in an accredited online college,
- School participation in the federal student aid programs,
We recommend calling your school’s financial aid department to find out about the school’s inclusion in the federal student aid programs.
You also use the FAFSA form to apply for aid from your school and other sources. Deadlines may vary for different loans, and some may occur before the FAFSA deadline, so check the dates and plan accordingly.
Other federal grant possibilities include the federal Pell grant, which is the most common program offered to undergraduate students who are pursuing degrees online or at a traditional school. The SMART grant is another program available to students who are entering fields related to science, mathematics and languages.
If you are not eligible to receive federal financial aid, there may be other options still available to you. If you are enrolling in a high-demand field, you may be able to find grants or scholarships from industry-specific organizations or funds.