One of the advantages of choosing an online degree program is the flexibility, in terms of both time and cost. Online degrees offer lower rates per credit for tuition, as well as not having to worry about dorm costs and other fees.
But that doesn’t mean that an online education is free, and it is still necessary to apply for scholarships for your online studies.
As you’ve already read here on FinancialAidFinder, the rules for financial aid for online degrees have changed drastically.
Where online studies were previously exclude from many of the major scholarship funding sources, now students can take advantage of both traditional and non-traditional financial aid sources for degrees online.
The most notable change has been to federal money (which makes up the majority of undergraduate and graduate aid packages). Certain schools offering online degrees can now offer their students the same federal grants and work study that their “live” counterparts do. What this means for you and your online degree is that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is still your first stop on your financial aid journey.
After you’ve completed the FAFSA, it’s time to look into private sources of scholarship money for college, since in most cases you’ll need a little bit more than what the government has to offer. You can begin right here at FinancialAidFinder, and check out the Student Scholarship Search pages that list scholarships by major and other characteristics. Most scholarships will indicate whether or not online degrees are excluded from consideration, and if it is unclear, you can always email the program officer and find out.
There are also some scholarships out there that are specifically designed for online students, although these are not yet as plentiful as traditional scholarships. GetEducated.com offers $1,000 to students who write an essay about their online degree pursuits through their Excellence in Online Education Scholarship.
The most important part of finding online degree scholarships is making sure that your college or university is accredited.
While most online branches of traditional universities are accredited (if the brick-and-mortar school is, that is), not all online degree programs with the name “university” in them are. Most websites will clearly state their accreditation and if they don’t make sure to ask.
Make sure that you check through the profiles in the Scholarships for Online Degrees section of FinancialAidFinder, as well as the other sections that apply to you in order to get as much free money for college as possible.
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