Since you were a child, you dreamed about one day becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or a college professor. Maybe you're about to complete high school, or maybe you're at a different stage in life. If you've decided that the next step to realizing your goals is attending college, maybe online college is a good choice for you. Family responsibilities, your personality, or a myriad of other reasons, can make online college a good fit for you.
However, you’re unsure about how you will fund this venture. You may not know how to go about getting financial aid. If you can relate to this scenario, consider the following 3 financial aid options.
Federal Financial Aid
In years past, students could only apply for federal financial aid to online colleges if a certain number of the colleges’ courses were taught at brick and mortar institutions. Thankfully, with the ever increasing number of students taking this route to higher education, these restrictions have been lifted. As long as a college is accredited, students can apply for federal financial aid. In order for a school to gain and maintain accreditation, it must meet specific standards with regards to professors’ qualifications, course offerings, and other criteria.
Applying for federal financial aid is as simple as filling out a FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form will determine your eligibility for various government programs including grants and loans. Grants normally do not have to be paid back. However, loans will need to be repaid with interest.
Like brick and mortar institutions, you can apply for scholarships to online colleges. If you are still in high school, talk to your counselor about available opportunities for students in your school. Access to numerous scholarship applications can be found online. However, when searching for financial aid opportunities on the internet, you should be vigilant. Unfortunately, online scholarship scams are prevalent. Always do your homework before giving anyone access to your personal data.
These days, online colleges face extreme competition from rival institutions. Therefore, they are often willing to offer tuition incentives to prospective students. After completing a specified number of courses within a certain time frame, some institutions will offer students discounted tuition rates for the remainder of their degree programs. Other online colleges give students the flexibility to only pay for one college course at the time. When searching for prospective schools to attend, determine whether they offer school sponsored online college financial aid.
Financing an online college degree is similar to paying for a post-secondary degree at a brick and mortar institution. Federal financial aid is available at both types of schools. Scholarships can also be a helpful financial tool. In addition to these resources, online colleges sometimes offer tuition incentives to motivated students. With all of these financing alternatives, you can start turning your career dreams into reality today.