Can Students Attending Online Colleges Receive Financial Aid?

February 16th, 2016 by

Student Financial AidAs many as two-thirds of current college students in the United States receive some form of financial aid. Whether you’re an exceptional student, you’re studying a niche area or you qualify through your income, financial aid can be an incredibly helpful way to pay for the costs of an advanced education. While there are plenty of financial aid resources available to students attending traditional college campuses, prospective online students can feel as if they are left in the dark.

Fortunately there are plenty of financial aid opportunities for online students. Find out more about some of the top opportunities and how they can help you afford an online college education.

Need-Based Scholarships Offered Through Individual Online Colleges

One of the first places to look when in need of financial aid is the college itself. Many accredited online colleges offer need-based tuition reductions or scholarships for students who can demonstrate financial need.

This process might involve showing tax records, income and even bank statements, but it can be an incredibly effective way of reducing the cost of tuition right off the bat.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Many students enrolled in an online degree program already hold full-time jobs. If you’re one of them, make sure you research whether your employer offers tuition reimbursement.

Many large corporations offer reimbursement for a set amount per year, and others have flexible amounts depending on your current employment position as well as the degree program in question.

Federal Grants

One of the most common financial aid resources for both traditional campus and online college students is the federal grant. Federal grants like the Pell Grant are virtually universal, but there are also more specific federal grants designed exclusively for groups like teachers or veterans.

Check online to see whether you qualify for any federal grants before enrolling into a college program, as there may be some restrictions on the kind of degree you can earn with certain federal grants.

Federal Work-Study Programs

Students often associate work-study programs with a campus education, but the federal government also offers programs with online students in mind.

Students who commit to working with public agencies or nonprofit organizations may get a reduction on their tuition or tuition reimbursement. In addition to making college more affordable, this is a smart way to boost a resume before you even graduate.


Loans can be one way to afford the costs of attending an online college, but be aware that you will need to repay these loans after graduation. Loans from private banks are readily available, but many students may want to first check out options such as Federal Perks Loans offered by the Department of Education.

External Scholarships

Finally, don’t discount the many external scholarships available, many of which can go toward the costs of an online college degree program.

Local businesses, community organizations, churches and sporting groups offer scholarships to prospective students. The requirements are often quite specific, so you’ll need to research the best choices that you’ll qualify for before applying.

Even with the flexibility of attending an online college, paying tuition can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are a wide range of financial aid options available to prospective online students.

Learn more about the amazing types of degrees you can earn completely online from accredited online colleges.


About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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