Guide to Financial Aid for Online Students

A degree is a worthwhile investment in oneself because it opens degree holders to better job opportunities and increases salaries. Degree holders easily make far more than the amount diploma owners do in a year.

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With all these benefits, many people still have doubts and feel burdened by the fees they must pay to get a degree. Indeed, higher education tuition fees can be scary, especially for out-of-state students and those interested in private schools.

However, schooling does not need to be so scary or heavy on your pockets. There are ways to go to school and have some financial burden lifted off you. Financial aid is the key, and several organizations, people, schools, and states offer help to students in need.

The Different Types of Financial Aid

A lot of students depend on financial aid to get through school, and it comes in different forms:

Grants
Grants obtained from the federal and state government don’t need to be repaid and can be used for anything related to academics as long as minimum educational requirements are met.
Scholarships
Scholarships are awarded by the government, private organizations, and schools every year to students in need, and it does not need to be repaid. It is perfect for out-of-state international students.
Work-Study
A federal government financial aid program allows graduates and undergraduates to work part-time at their university for pay.
Loans
The government and some private bodies grant student loans. Loans are often seen as less favorable options to students because of the interest rates and repayment rules, depending on the borrower’s preferences.
The FAFSA
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This resource is used to determine how much a student or their family can give out to the required fees for higher education. This process involves grants given by the federal government and those issued by the state, and here are four of the federal ones.
The Federal Pell Grant (FPG)
It is mostly awarded to undergraduate students who belong to families earning less than $30,000-$60,000 per year.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
FSEOG is financial aid for undergraduates who have special financial needs. Students can be awarded up to $4,000 for every academic year.
Grant for Iraq and Afghanistan Service
The Afghanistan and Iran grant is for those students whose parents or guardians died when they were serving in the military after 9/11 and do not qualify for the FPG. They get paid $6,345 for an academic year.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
Students who receive this grant must be full-time teachers at a low-income school in a high-need field for four years after graduation. They can receive up to $4,000 as a grant.

Qualification Requirements for Federal Aid

Some specific requirements and qualifications must be met to receive financial aid.

  • The individual must need financial help.
  • Own a U.S. citizenship or an eligible non-U.S. citizen.
  • Possess a social security number.
  • As a man, you need to get registered into the Selective Service program.
  • Have enrollment or acceptance to study an accredited program.
  • Own a high school diploma or high GED.

How To Apply for Financial Aid

To get financial aid, the first thing to do is to get a Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) form and fill it. It is an application for governmental loans and grants.

  • Fill the form out as early as the year before you plan on attending school.
  • Because the stars can run out of funds, applications should be submitted as early as October 1, the year before school.
  • If you miss the deadline for state grants, still fill the form as you might qualify for federal grants.
  • Add all your schools of interest to the form. Whether you’ve been accepted there or not. You can add up to 10 schools.
  • Contact your schools of interest for information and help with your financial aid options.
  • Contact your local librarian for help with financial aid resources if you don’t have access to a counselor.
  • Your first options should be grants and loans. If needed, take federal loans to cover the rest of your needs. Private loans should be a last resort.

How to Know if a School Accepts FAFSA

To know if your online school accepts FAFSA, the way to go would be to check the school’s financial assistance services. Most school websites receiving FAFSA have a link to the program but if you can’t find a link, directly get in touch with their financial aid service.

Only accredited schools can pay out federal funding to students. To be on the safe side, check the accreditation status of schools you’re interested in before sending an application out.

Enrollment requirements may be specific to full-time or part-time classes before a student gets access to unique forms of financial aid. These sorts of conditions may be inconvenient for students studying online, so it is advisable to make inquiries from counselors who give financial advice to make sure you receive funding.

How to Qualify for Financial Aid Without Using the FAFSA

Some types of financial aid do not require filling out a FAFSA. Some universities award scholarships without putting a student’s FAFSA into consideration. Besides, students who want to cover their education costs with a private loan aid don’t necessarily need to fill a FAFSA out.

Although students can qualify for financial aid without the FAFSA in all these ways and more, it would do the student much good to fill an application out all the same. It is through this that many students discover they are qualified for certain financial aids.

Financial Aid for Out-of-State and Online Students

Receiving Financial Aid as an Online Out-of-State Student
Online students who live out-of-state can get qualifications for federal financial assistance. However, they might not get qualified for state grants. Many programs also offer students who live out-of-state the same tuition as those living in-state. Other options for out-of-state students include:
Reciprocity programs
These school programs let out-of-state students attend school at a discounted rate or in-state price. Some of these programs are the:

  • New England Regional Student Program
  • Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
  • Southern Regional Education Board
  • Midwest Student Exchange Program
  • Scholarships
    Send applications for scholarships that are focused on your program of choice or school.
    Company’s financial aid
    Ask your employer for the availability of assistance with tuition for employees who are schooling. A lot of companies have this option available for their workers.
    Receiving Financial Aid as an Online International Student
    International students can’t receive federal or state grants. Therefore, other options for financial aid must be put into consideration. Here are some ways to go about it:

    • Select online schools that provide financial assistance to international students through tuition discounts, grants, and scholarships.
    • Make inquiries with your country as your government might have funding for students who want to study in specific countries or regions.
    • Check websites like IEFA.org, International Scholarships, and so on for scholarship opportunities created for international students.

    Other resources available for financial aid for students include:

    • Federal Student Aid
    • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
    • USA.gov
    • Sallie Mae

Conclusion

With this guide, find a financial aid program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs.

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