Can You Get Financial Aid for Online Colleges?

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Flickr user Don Hankins

Yes, students who enroll in online programs can get financial aid for online college. It’s actually (most of) the same financial aid options that are available to on-campus students. As with students studying at a traditional institution, online students can apply for Federal Student Loans, Scholarships and Grants, Private Loans and College-Sponsored Aid.

Federal Student Loans for Online Students

Federal loans are available to all students equally, whether they are enrolled in a traditional on-campus college or an online program.

Stafford loans are considered the best because of their locked-in interest rates and their diverse repayment options. The amount of financial aid you are eligible for is determined by the total cost of the time period. At the very minimum, the loan will cover the cost of tuition, fees and the books that are recommended for your course of study.

Scholarships for Online Students

Online students may find limited amounts of scholarships. However, it is well worth spending some time looking around and exploring the scholarships offered. Look for scholarships based on family status, military status, ethnicity, skills, and any other characteristic that makes you unique. There are scholarships available for some of the most surprising attributes out there, so spend some time looking around. You just never know what you may stumble upon.

Private Loans for Online Students

Students who enroll in online programs can also look into private loans offered by banks and other private lending institutions. They work just like Federal loans but usually carry higher rates of interest, which vary from one company to another. Before taking a private loan, it is absolutely important to read through the terms of the contract thoroughly. You do not want to find yourself burdened by debt.

Their higher interest rates make private loans a less attractive option as compared to Federal Loans. Ideally, private loans should never be your first option when you are looking for financial aid. They should constitute the smallest part of your financing. Only use them to cover a shortfall that may otherwise prevent you from completing your program and earning a degree.

Completing a four-year degree through an online college is a great option for students who, for whatever reason, cannot attend traditional, full-time school and with financial aid available if you qualify, there’s nothing to stop you from getting any degree you want.

Tips for Getting the Financial Aid You Need as an Online Student

Whether you are enrolling as an on-campus student or an online student, you will have to do your homework in order to get the best deal possible. Start your search early so you have ample time. Explore and evaluate all the available options. Make sure you fill all applications completely and accurately so your application does not get rejected on some technicality.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!


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