Online education is becoming increasingly popular. As busy professionals head back to school, many find that they simply do not have the time to spend in a traditional classroom at a traditional state school. Attending classes online provides many students with the flexibility they need. Traditional students often enjoy the flexibility of online school as well, as it allows them to stay home, work full time, and still earn their degrees.
However, the convenience of online education comes at a price, and often a very steep one. It is rarely more affordable to attend school online than to go to a traditional school. Many students assume that they cannot get scholarships or financial aid for an online degree. Unfortunately, this is a false assumption that causes many to pay out of pocket for their education when they could qualify for help.
In 2006 the Federal Government passed laws that made it possible for students who are pursuing degree programs through online schools to get access to financial aid. This means that online students can enjoy the same help that traditional students enjoy. The only caveat is that the online students must be in a degree program, not just taking a class here and there to improve their skill set.
Applying for student aid for online education is very similar to applying for grants for school in the traditional manner. First, you need to fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA). This document will tell you whether or not you qualify for federal education grants. These are needs-based, so you may not qualify, but the FAFSA is the first step towards receiving other forms of aid. Also, the FAFSA will help the federal government determine if you qualify for any of their loan programs, which are available to a larger number of potential students.
You can also pursue merit-based scholarships and grants as you pursue your online education. If you are already employed and your degree will benefit the company where you work, you may be able to access employer tuition reimbursement programs. If you are studying a very specific field, look for professional organizations in that field that may offer scholarships.
The point is that there are options out there, even for students who do not pursue a traditional education. You simply need to know where to look and be persistent. Soon you will find the way to pay for your online education, one class at a time.