Online education is fast becoming the choice of most working adults and stay-at-home moms who want to pursue higher education. Getting a web-based education is a practical choice, as it gives the students flexibility to do their other obligations and study at the same time. Over 4 million students now benefit from online education and this number will increase annually as students find it more convenient to study online.
Although these programs provide more benefits in terms of time and flexibility, most of them are just as expensive as traditional education programs. However, there are federal grants that are available for students who wish to study online yet do not have enough financial means to do so.
Just like most federal study grants, online school grants are awarded based on financial need. If you plan to avail of these grants, the first thing to do is to fill up a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which you can access online from the federal student aid website. After completing the FAFSA, you have to submit this to the Department of Education which will evaluate your need status and will inform you which grant you are eligible for.
With this form, you have to demonstrate that you or your family has a low Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and you cannot adequately support your college education. Applicants with the least EFC are given priority for most federal study grants.
One of the most common grant programs is the Federal Pell Grant which extends financial aid to undergraduate students who may be enrolled in traditional or online education programs. There are also grants tailored for a specific field, such as the TEACH Grant which is designed for teachers who are willing to teach high need and remote areas and the SMART Grant which is for students in science, math or computer science. There are also some companies that provide grants to students who may form part of the workforce of these companies after graduation.
If you plan to use on grant awards to finance your online education, make sure that the online program you will choose is fully accredited by the Department of Education. If you are not eligible for a federal study grant, try contacting professional organizations which may have scholarships or grants based on academic performance.
Since these grants are highly competitive, try to find out about them and submit your application as early as possible. Consult your school guidance counselor on how to better access information regarding federal and private study grants which you may use to finance your online education.