In most cases, onlineÂ learners are eligible for student financial aid. If you are depending on student aid to finance your education, there are a few things you need to know:
- Be certain your online college is accredited by one of the major regional accreditors (i.e. North Central Association, New England Association, etc.).
- Ensure that your online courses have a definite start and end date. In most cases, this is not an issue. The exception will be courses deemed “correspondence” where a student has the option of taking up to eighteen months or more to complete the course. Most online colleges operate on a semester schedule. If your college does not, you will need to contactÂ your college’sÂ financial aid office to ensure that you will be eligible to receive federal aid.
- To be eligible for federal financial aid, you must be enrolled at least half-time. In most cases, this means taking a minimum of six credit hours per semester. Colleges vary in what they deem half-time, so check with your online college’s financial aid office to be certain.
- You must be pursuing a degree to be eligible for financial aid. Even if you are unsure of your desired major when you enroll in college, you will need to select a major, even if it is just “general studies”.
Once you are certain your selected college and program of study meet these criteria, youÂ may begin the financial aid process. For information,Â check out myÂ How to apply for financial aid post.
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