Can You Get Financial Aid for Online Courses if You Go Part Time

You want to earn a degree, but are too busy for full time school. Thus, you may wonder, “Can you get financial aid for online courses, even if you are only attending class part time?” The answer is an unequivocal, resounding, “yes!”

The main reason that most people pursue online education is due to a time constraint; they are simply too busy with work and family to drive 40 minutes through traffic, drive around a parking lot for another 20, and sit in class for 2 hours, all this on top of the average 10 hours of homework per week. So, if you are so busy that even finding the time to attend school is a challenge, likely finding the time to take a full time course load is nearly impossible. Thus, you should consider going to school part time. And yes, you can get financial aid for online courses part time.

What is Full Time and Part Time?

When it comes to earning your undergraduate degree, usually 12 credits is considered full time; this is the full time number used for Federal Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. To qualify for these federal programs you usually have to go at least half time, which means 6-11 credits. That is generally two courses at a time. Your financial aid is done by trimester, meaning that you can get aid for fall, spring and summer, three times a year.

Graduate school is more rigorous, so fewer credits are required to be considered full or part time. In fact, 8 credits are usually considered full time, with 4 being part time. These same guidelines apply to PhD level degree enrollment.

Can You Get Financial Aid for Online Courses, Even Just Part Time? Really?

OK, so you think it is too good to be true and that I’m just trying to be nice, right? Seriously, I’m not. I had to get financial aid to earn all of my degrees; I have also helped my sister and partner get their financial aid dealt with. So trust me, I know financial aid well. You can get a rather substantial amount of money to go to school part time. Usually, if you are taking just two undergraduate courses or a single graduate level course, you can get a Pell Grant to cover the cost of tuition, as much as $2,500 per semester or quarter (assuming you can prove financial need).

So, ask me again, “Can you get financial aid for online courses, even if you go part time?” Yes. Financial aid can help mitigate the cost of an online degree, even if you go part time. These programs do not care if your courses are online or through a traditional ground based school. They only care that you have a financial need. And, if your income is too high to meet federal guidelines, yet you still cannot afford it on your own, you can consider private loans. But before you do this, read some of our other articles on the dangers of private loans.

Some of the people reading this do not believe that you can get financial aid if you go to school part time. Do you get financial aid for online courses even though you are part time?

Share your experience with others in our forum.