Get Started on Your Application for Financial Aid for Online Education

Financial aid for online education might be the answer to the most important college quiz question ever…how will you pay for your degree? Certainly, grants and loans can make getting an online degree easier.

If you are on the road to receiving a college degree, you probably already know that your college education is one of the most important, and often largest, investments in your life. It is an investment in your most important asset, yourself. But what about your income (or savings) now? Will it be enough to fund this venture? For most of you, the answer is no. So what do you do about it?

Here are your some answers in order of recommendation. Apply for….

1.    Government Financial Aid

2.    Other Financial Aid

3.    Student Loans

Government Aid - Dipping into the National Well

The first, and I mean very first place that you should look for financial aid for online education is through the government. Even the banks that sell loans will tell you that. You should exhaust all possibilities of getting financial aid from the government before you look into more costly tuition payment options.

One of the missions of the government is to assist the public in obtaining postsecondary educations in order to benefit the citizens, which in turn benefits our society. The government does this by working with institutions of higher education, such as your college, and financial institutions to disburse funds for tuition and other academic requirements. The following resources can be available to those who fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

·         Grants - (including Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants as well as others) gifts of funds given based on your financial need

·         Federal Work Study - education funds are given to institutions that in turn employ students with those funds

·         Loans - funds are provided to you which you promise to repay; government loan programs are advantageous due to their low interest rates and desirable terms; learn more about private loans below

Although considered daunting by some, the FAFSA is a worthwhile pursuit because with it you will be considered for the above programs. Be prepared to fill out the application before you start by gathering the proper information such as your personal income, number of dependents, whether you are a dependent yourself, and your family's household income and assets.

And finally, don't forget to take advantage of tax credits that have been established to benefit students such as the lifetime learning credit and the hope credit.

Other Sources of Aid - The River is Wide

Scholarships are gifts that are given for numerous reasons such as academic achievement, ethnicity, involvement in associations, athletics, or can be contest-oriented such as an essay, photography, or artwork competition. They are given by private organizations, clubs, professional associations, families, memorial funds, foundations, and any group or individual who has money to give and wishes to help students with tuition. It is recommended that you apply for multiple scholarships as each scholarship might only contribute a small amount to your large tuition bill. And they may only be applicable for a short time while the duration of your educational pursuit, and therefore your tuition bills, may last quite a while.

Loans - And Last But Not Least

Loans are funds given based on credit and your ability to pay them back. They need to be repaid according to their individual terms. Be sure you know the specific terms of the loans you apply for such as interest rates, when payments are required, if you can defer payments until after graduation, etc. Funds can be borrowed for tuition, living expenses, books, and other materials needed such as a computer.

A final note, don't just depend on one of these sources for funds. Apply for as much as financial aid for online education you can and then you can select the ones that fit you best.

Have you had a run-in with your financial aid department in the past?

Share with us so we can all understand the value of being proactive with our financial aid.