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Financial Aid for Online Schools: Where to Begin

Financial Aid for Online Schools: Where to Begin

by Shannon Lee
December 17, 2010

You've narrowed down your career goals and found online degree programs that seem to fit the bill. Now what? Part of the application process involves financial aid, and the place to begin is with the FAFSA.

Requirements for the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will help determine how much financial aid you can receive. The application will ask for many financial details in order to determine your eligibility.

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to receive financial aid from the government. If you meet all of these requirements, order your FAFSA and get started:

  • You must be a citizen of the United States.
  • You must have a valid social security number. The only exceptions to this are for those from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, or the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • If you are a male aged 18 to 25, you must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • You must have your high school diploma or equivalent.
  • You must be enrolled or accepted into an eligible degree program.

Other points to remember:

  • If you have a drug conviction on your record, you might not be eligible for federal aid.
  • If you have defaulted on a federal student loan in the past, you might not be eligible for more aid.
  • In most cases, you must demonstrate financial need.

Online Schools and Financial Aid Options

Keep in mind that there are many other financial aid options out there. You might be eligible for financial aid from your school or state. Scholarships and grants awarded by civic organizations and private foundations are available for those who meet certain requirements. Personal loans, parental loans, and other means of financing are often an option for those who can't get conventional financial aid.

Still not sure? Talk to the admissions counselor or financial aid office at the online school you hope to attend to find out more.