How to Pay for Your Online Business Degree

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So you’ve decided to pursue an online business degree. That’s great!

But how will you pay for it?

First things first, don’t freak out too much. Yes, obtaining your degree can be expensive. But there are many ways to finance an education. Combine that with smart college and career planning and you should be just fine.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways you can get money to pay for your online business degree and what you’ll need to do to secure those funds.

1. Financial aid options

The first place to look for ways to finance your education is possible financial aid. Most business degree programs offer some form of scholarship or tuition assistance for students that qualify. And federal and state governments also have programs that provide assistance to low-income individuals looking to obtain a degree.

As with federal loan options, your college will need to be properly accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for you to qualify for any federal funding. This is imperative–any program that doesn’t qualify for these funds should be approached very cautiously. Not only does it make funding your education more difficult, but it can also be a red flag that the program may not be in good standing or viewed as a reputable institution.

2. Employer funding

Will your work help pay for your education? You might be surprised!

Many companies offer tuition assistance or reimbursement for employees who pursue a degree while working at the company.

The caveat, of course, is that most employers will expect you to stay with the company for a set period of years after obtaining a degree. But this may not be an issue if you’re happy with the company and hoping to obtain a degree in order to move up.

Ask your company’s HR department about any tuition or education programs they might have available.

3. Federal student loan options

If it comes down to borrowing for college, there are many different types of loans available.

As a general rule, it’s advisable for students to exhaust the entire amount of federal loans that might be available to them before pursuing any private student loans. Federal loans are generally seen as having more favorable terms for most students. This may not hold true all of the time, but federal loans do also include specific protections in the case of unemployment or other financial hardship, which may not be included in a private student loan.

It’s also worth noting that most federal loan programs don’t require traditional underwriting, which means you’ll be able to borrow funds regardless of your income or credit history.

Here are the main federal loan programs you’ll have available:

Loan programDetails
Federal Direct Subsidized

  • $3,500 to $5,500 per year based
  • 4.29% interest rate
  • Loan does not accrue interest while enrolled or in deferment period
  • 10-year loan by default
  • 1.068% loan distribution fee
  • No credit check required
  • Must demonstrate financial need to qualify
Federal Direct Unsubsidized

  • $5,500 to $7,500 per year maximum, minus any Federal Direct Subsidized amount
  • 4.29% interest rate
  • 10-year loan by default
  • 1.068% loan distribution fee
  • No credit check required
  • No demonstration of financial aid necessary
Federal Perkins

  • $3,500 to $5,500 per year
  • 5% interest rate
  • Up to $5,500 per year maximum
  • 10-year loan by default
  • No loan distribution fees
  • No credit check required
  • Must demonstrate exceptional financial need to qualify
Federal PLUS

  • Can receive up to full cost of attendance minus other financial assistance
  • 6.84% interest rate (set each year)
  • 10-year loan by default
  • 4.272% loan distribution fee
  • Can be obtained by independent students or dependent students' parents
  • Requires borrower to meet credit underwriting standards
  • May also require an endorser or cosigner
  • Students whose parents can't qualify can receive additional Federal Direct Unsubidized funds

4. Private student loans

Unfortunately, students aren’t always able to finance their education out of pocket or cover the entire cost through federal grants or loans.

There are many private lenders that offer student loans to help make up the difference.

While these may not be the preferred method of financing your education, they can be incredibly useful. And there is the added benefit that they can be refinanced pretty freely, which means that if you don’t qualify for very favorable rates while enrolled, you can likely reduce your payments or repayment term after graduation.

Check out sites like Credit and LendKey to compare private lenders and see which ones will offer you the best deal:

RatesTermsEligible Degrees
Compare rate offers from about 8 lenders
1.04%* + variable APR
3.30%* + fixed APR
5 - 15, 20 yearsUndergrad & GradLEARN MORE ›
lendkey-logo-500px-trans1.13% - 11.23% variable APR
3.50% - 12.60% fixed APR
5, 10, 15 yearsUndergrad & GradLEARN MORE ›