A little different from campus school funding
You can get student loans and other financial aid for any online degree program as long as you're going to the right university. Only a select number of online colleges and universities are covered by federal student aid.
The tension between online education and financial aid is that there are schools that will take advantage of the anonymity and "fly by night" possibilities afforded by internet learning. These places, called degree mills, essentially sell degrees without demanding in-class requirements or administering tests and exams.
On the other hand, online learning opens up accessibility to higher education that you can't receive through more traditional avenues. People with disabilities (including learning disabilities) find it much easier to study online than to attend classes on campus. Government policy, then, has to tread a thin line between these two legal and cultural considerations, found at the intersection of online learning and financial aid.
How Financial Aid for Online Learning Works
There are several considerations you have to keep in mind when looking into financial aid for your online education. These include:
- Noting the accreditation of the university or college. Accreditation is almost always contingent on the availability of financial aid.
- Knowing the distinction between the pursuit of a degree, diploma or certificate. In general, you can't get full financial aid if you're studying part-time or out of interest.
- Fulfilling all obligations, such as proper registration, documentation of finances, etc .
As online education continues its progression toward full legitimacy, there will only be more scholarships and funding opportunities available for students.
Getting Financial Aid
Chances are quite high that the online school you want to attend qualifies for financial aid from the federal government. There is talk of opening up the federal Pell grant to those seeking online degrees. At some time, the demand for online learning and online degree programs will get so high that the distinctions between online and on-campus learning will be fully eroded, and there will simply be no legal reason to restrict financial aid for online education.