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Can Online Students Receive Financial Aid?

Students who choose accredited online education over traditional higher education are eligible for most financial aid. Before applying for financial aid options, however:

  • Make sure that the school and program you want to enroll in are accredited by regional accrediting agencies. The most valuable grants, scholarships and loans won’t be awarded to schools that don’t meet the standards for quality outlined by those agencies, and you won’t find any real value from those programs in the working world, either.
  • Ask your school if they participate in financial aid programs. This will be the fastest way to get information about your chances of being approved for government grants and aid like FAFSA and to learn about school-sponsored scholarships.

Examples of financial aid that you may be able to get as an online student include:

  • Federal aid through FAFSA
  • Employer Tuition Assistance if your boss is willing to help you pay for school
  • Scholarships from large and small businesses, community groups, education advocacy groups, schools, alumni, specific college programs, and more. Use the FastWeb! tool to search scholarships
  • Military aid: If you or a spouse served in the military, you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement or aid

When applying for financial aid:

  • Be honest and upfront about your plans to enroll in an online program, as the sponsor may not be ready to support distance education
  • Be prepared to supply extra paperwork validating your online program, including accrediting information, curriculum layout, break-downs of tuition, and other proof that you plan to attend a quality-driven school.
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