According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 6,651,536 students enrolled in online classes across America. It’s easy to see why: online classes offer increased flexibility for time and location of study, online classes let you work at your own pace, and can be cheaper thanks to lower administration costs. Yet if you’re considering enrolling, there’s probably one question on your mind: does financial aid cover online classes?
If you’re hoping to go back to college but you’re having trouble saving money, the idea of forking out thousands for an online college course may not seem like a wise move. Financial aid, in theory, should cover all students, but will it actually cover online students? Is it only for students studying on campus?
We’re here to show you how you can enroll in those online courses with peace of mind and gain new skills that can help you for the rest of your life.
Ready to find out more about your financial aid situation? Keen to find out whether federal aid can help you during the school year? Then read on!
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Can You Get Federal Financial Aid For Online Colleges?
While it varies from college to college, online colleges will typically let you apply for federal financial aid programs. To do this, you will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as a FAFSA. These are used to analyze your needs and see whether you are eligible for student loans. Make sure the online program you are interested in is accredited as well.
As well as varying between colleges, there is also some variance between online courses and how they cover FAFSA applications from students in online classes. This makes answering the question: does financial aid cover online classes somewhat convoluted.
What Are the Requirements for Federal Student Aid Programs?
To file a FAFSA, you will typically need to be an American citizen, a U.S. national, or a permanent resident. There are some exceptions, though. The government deems you an eligible non-citizen if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You are a refugee or have been granted asylum
- You are a Cuban-Haitian entrant
- You hold T non-immigrant status
- You are a battered immigrant
- You are a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, or the Marshall Islands
Whether you are a full-time or part-time student can also affect the amount of financial aid you receive. It will also take your financial need into account.
If you are working a part-time job, you can expect to have to keep working that while studying part-time, as financial aid is unlikely to cover all your expenses.
Do I Qualify For Forms of Financial Aid Other Than Student Loans?
You may qualify for other types of financial aid as well as federal aid. Some colleges award scholarships to students in online education, but others are still wary of the idea and specify that you need to be on campus. If you can win a scholarship, you will not need to deal with any repayments or interest rates on your debt. If you’re lucky enough to get a full scholarship, the cost of attendance will be paid in full.
Which Online Colleges Accept Financial Aid?
If you’re hoping to use federal aid to help your study in online education, you’re in luck. Multiple online colleges allow their students to apply with a FAFSA and use the aid to support them. Let’s take a look at three popular online colleges that accept federal aid.
Baker College, based in Michigan, is one of the largest non-profit colleges in the United States. It offers a fantastic range of programs online and has a fine pedigree. It has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission: this means that you can be assured of the quality of its teaching and programs.
University of Florida
A behemoth of higher education, the University of Florida offers a huge selection of over 200 courses that students can complete online. The bachelor’s degree that you’ll earn at the end of this process will be the same as if you’ve studied on-campus.
You do not need to be a Florida resident to enroll in UoF’s online college system, but you will pay slightly higher tuition as a student from out of state.
Purdue University Global
Another formidable force in online higher education is Purdue University. One of the most well-known online colleges, Purdue is a prestigious and accredited institution where you can earn a fantastic degree through online study.
When Are FAFSA Deadlines?
If you want to file a FAFSA, what are the key dates that you need to know? Applications for the 2020/21 academic year opened in October and the deadline is on June 30, 2021.
However, different states have different deadlines. For instance, the closing date in Florida is May 15, 2020. Check your college’s state’s deadlines and make sure that your FAFSA is filed in time! If you’re having trouble with the application process, you should contact the U.S. Department of Education for help.
Can I Lose My Financial Assistance?
It’s possible to lose financial aid and federal student loans. Losing eligibility usually happens as a result of unsatisfactory academic progress. The bar for satisfactory academic process for undergraduate students is set at a GPA of at least 2.0, or a C average.
You can regain eligibility for your student loans: to do this, you’ll need to start getting better grades.
If you’re subject to extenuating circumstances such as illness or the death of a relative, this requirement can be waived depending on your school.
Does Financial Aid Cover Online Classes: Answered
When you began this article, you had one question: does financial aid cover online classes? As we’ve shown you, whenever you graduated high school, it’s possible to enroll in a wide selection of online degree programs in different colleges.
If you don’t qualify for a federal grant like the Pell Grant or other federal aid, you may be able to take advantage of the Federal Work-Study program. On this program, the Federal Government can help college students find a part-time job to support them through their studies. This part-time work can be on or off-campus, and you will earn at least the federal minimum wage.
If you can’t file a free application for federal student aid for other reasons, you should consider how else you can fund your course, such as using private loans. You should also contact your online school’s financial aid office.