While considering going into online education, you’ll have things on your mind other
than choosing an institution and degree. Paying for distance learning might be on
the top of that list. A number of people cannot pay for school themselves for of
different reasons. Maybe you’re having marital problems, which are leaving you in
debt and with a desperate need for money. Or, you’re a student and paying for your
own education, but are unable to find time to work and study simultaneously. Or,
the current state of the economy has hit you, and you’ve lost your regular flow
of income. If you find yourself in one of these categories or more, don’t worry.
We have a solution.
#1: Federal Student Aid
The first investor you should look at is the government. They provide loads of financial
aid in the form of loans, grants, and work-study programs, even for online schooling.
Here’s a breakdown of the different types of federal financial aid:
So the FAFSA isn’t financial aid in itself, but it is required that you fill it
out if you want to receive any other type of federal financial aid. FAFSA, or the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form you can fill out and submit
online in about an hour. Through the FAFSA, the government decides your need for
financial aid, and awards you money based on that amount. In order to receive a
federal grant or loan, you must submit the FAFSA. Also, many institutions require
that you send in the FAFSA, so they can assess your financial need, as well. So,
before applying for any grants, scholarships, or loans, fill out the FAFSA. You
can read about the requirements and steps to submit the online FASFA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Fill it out earlier than later, because
the FAFSA can take a lot more time to complete than you think.
The government offers five different student loans, of which the Stafford Loan is
the most popular. Basically, when a student receives a loan, that person gets a
certain amount of money to pay for his or her education. However, student loans
act like any other loans and have an interest rate, albeit lower than regular loan’s
interest rates; but, the student only has to pay for interest until his or her graduation.
Another thing to consider when applying for a loan is subsidy. Depending on the
student and the family’s financial need, subsidized or unsubsidized loans could
benefit or worsen the student’s financial status during school.
Unlike student loans, student grants do not have interests and student’s do not
have to repay them. However, like for loans, for federal grants, students must submit
the FAFSA. Once again, there are five types of federal grants available to students.
Some are based on financial need and others are based on the student’s area of study.
The most popular student grant is the Pell Grant, a need-based grant for U.S. Citizens
attending a federally approved school (this includes online institutions). In order
to receive two of the other four grants, students must apply for and receive the
Pell Grant. Federal grants attract a large number of students, but remember to check
the eligibility requirements of each one, as they may restrict or exempt students
from applying for a grant.
Though the government awards money for work-study programs, or FWS, the institutions
must participate in work-study programs for a student to have it as an option. This
is a way for students to pay as they go through college. The financial aid administrators
of the institutions must work with the government to determine the student’s financial
need after acceptance into the program. Then, the student can work part-time for
no less than the federal minimum wage per hour. Once again, the FWS requires that
students fill out the FAFSA in order to determine their financial need.
Remember to contact the college you’re interested in to check if they work with
the federal aid agencies to meet your needs, some
online colleges may not have such program because you do not go to a physical
campus. If you want to find out about your other options, then check into private
and institutional financial aid.
#2: Private Student Aid
Many private agencies and sectors offer forms of financial aid, such as employers,
individuals, companies, high schools and colleges, religious groups, and professional
associations, to name a few. With all these groups and individuals looking to hand
out money to students, it should be easy finding a donor to help you get through
school, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. But we’ll help you
through the tough spots in our step-by-step guide to receiving private financial
Step 1: Know what you want
Many scholarships, grants, or loans are offered by the area of study, the type of
school you wish to attend, and the qualifications of the student. So, once you confirm
what you want to study and what type of college you wish to attend (online, 4-year,
2-year, etc.), you can narrow your search of private aid agencies down a lot, saving
your time and energy.
Step 2: Look at the right private aid agencies
For instance, if you are a single mom applying to an
online school, it wouldn’t make sense for you to look at scholarships offered
to undergraduate students attending a 4-year campus college. So, by doing your research
properly, you could find financial aid that covers all of your costs because of
what the agency supports and what you have to offer. Also, remember to check with
the college whether they give financial aid or not, and how to apply.
Step 3: Read through the benefits, rates, and terms THOROUGHLY
Once you find private aid that suits your needs perfectly, your first impulse is
to fill out the application and send it in as soon as possible, especially after
all the hard work you went through to find it! However, it’s important to slow down
just enough to read through the “fine print”. Though the scholarship you find is
for a person going into your area of study, double check what type of institution
it’s for. Also, private aid usually contains many eligibility requirements, such
as religious affiliation, sexuality, fiscal status, etc. If the private aid you
have found still contains what you want once you read through it, then you’re ready
Step 4: Downplay your weaknesses and exalt your strengths
When applying, it’s important for the person reading your application to think you
are the best student who has ever come to Earth, even if you’re not. Each person
has different strengths and weaknesses, and the agencies are looking for the people
who have the most unique set of characteristics who will make good use of the aid
they are offering. So, dedicate yourself to showing the private aid agencies why
you need the money from them, and how they are making a good decision by awarding
it to you.
Step 5: Wait and see!
Finally, you’ve finished all the hard work, so now all you have to do is wait! Even
if you don’t receive the scholarship, loan, or grant that you apply for, remember
that there are tons of other financial aid opportunities out there for you to apply
to. There’s always a way to pay for school, so sit back, relax, and get ready to
Below, www.OnlineCollegeGuru.com has started off your search by giving you some
names of institutions targeted at assisting certain types of students. Remember,
this is just the catalyst to what should be a very vigorous and exciting search!
- American Association of University Women – grants, fellowships, awards
- Business and Professional Women’s Foundation – career advancement scholarships to
- Society of Women Engineers
- Association for Women in Science
- Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting
For Military Officials
Spouse & Family
- Career Advancement Accounts Program
- Dependents Education Assistance Program
- State Education Benefits
- Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program
- Spouse Education Assistance Program
- General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program
- General George S. Brown Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP)
- Undergraduate level - maximum of $300 @semester and $1500 @ year.
- Graduate level - maximum of $350 @ semester and $1750 @ year.
- VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program
- 1000 grants are awarded each academic year at $2000 each
- Applicants are also evaluated for an interest-free student loan of up to $3000.
- The loan repayment begins within 30 days ofaward and must be repaid by allotment
within 24 months.
- Application deadline is 1 March of each year.
- Late applications will not be considered for the scholarship; however they will
be evaluated for a loan.
Coast guard – cgfdn.org
SOCMAR – Service member’s Opportunity Colleges degree program for Marines
[TheNavy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)]
The Admiral Mike Boorda Seaman-to-Admiral Educational Assistance Program
Enlisted Commissioning Program
Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program
Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program
For Working Professionals
- Working to maintain or improve standing in current profession:
- Tax deductions
- Life time Learning Credit
- Between ages of 60-65
- Save 50%-100% of cost of tuition
- Attend state college or university
- Individual institutions that offer tuition discount
- Service Programs:
- Pay for school by doing service
- AmeriCorps, Learn and Service America, Peace Corps
- Require that you serve for period of time first
- Pay for part or all of college education
- Job Experience:
- Credit of experience you’ve gained
- Don’t take as many courses to complete degree
- IRA funds:
- Borrowed to pay for continuing educational expenses
- Interest free
- Precise terms and stiff penalties