Although online education is more affordable compared to many traditional degree programs, understanding how to pay for classes is still of high importance to every student. Financial aid for online college students as well as nondenominational students can be a blessing to those in need of help. The process has several steps; here’s a guide to making sure you have all the assistance you need.
Although online education is more affordable compared to many traditional degree programs, understanding how to pay for classes is still of high importance to every student. Financial aid for Christian students as well as nondenominational students can be a blessing to those in need of help. The process has several steps; here’s a guide to making sure you have all the assistance you need.
Step 1: Collect Your Current Financial Documents
Before you fill out any applications, it’s imperative that you have all the financial documents you need. This will ensure that you have an accurate understanding of what aid you qualify for and will make the application process smoother. Submitting materials that are unorganized or not properly prepared can result in delays for your financial aid.
Be sure to have the following documents ready when filling out financial aid applications:
- Social Security number
- Resident Alien documents (if not a U.S. citizen)
- Most recent federal income tax return
- W-2s and other records of money earned
- Bank statements and all investment records (if applicable)
- Record of untaxed income (if applicable)
Step 2: Complete Your FAFSA
We recommend that you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid once you have all of your
financial aid documents together. All students interested in financial aid must complete this application. Expected Family Contribution, as determined by the FAFSA, is used to figure federal and state aid. Federal aid includes several grant programs as well as low-interest student loans.
It is important that you complete this document as soon as possible because aid is normally given on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you wait too long you may miss out on important aid.
Step 3: Pursue Scholarship Opportunities
At this point you should have a solid understanding of where you stand with financial aid. Scholarships are a great option to make up for any gaps between total tuition costs and existing aid.
There are countless scholarships available for students, and specific ones for students of all backgrounds. Begin researching scholarship directories (e.g., FastWeb, Cappex, etc.). These will help you find scholarships that you are eligible for and will give you the necessary information to apply. Be sure to check all of the eligibility requirements before applying to ensure you qualify.
Here are few other places you may find scholarships:
- Your community: Churches, city/state governments and even community groups can offer scholarships.
- Professional organizations: Groups dedicated to a certain field or career often give scholarships to students interested in that occupation. If you know what area you are studying, consider looking into a scholarship with an industry-specific group.
- Your employer: Some employers, especially large companies, offer scholarships or tuition reimbursement programs for students.
Step 4: Submit all Extra Documents and Clarifying Information
You may be picked by the federal government for a process called Verification. Please submit all required documents as quickly as possible, since no aid can be disbursed without verification being completed.
Step 5: Consider Other Options if Needed
Combining financial aid and outside scholarships may not be enough. If further need exists after federal aid, state aid and outside scholarships have been added up, private loans could be an option. Please refer to our private loans page.
Before signing off on a loan, be sure you understand how the interest and payments will work. You should be aware of all of the details of the loan to prevent surprises later down the line.
We will work with you from the beginning of your enrollment process to help you find a way to pay for your online education. It is our job to help make financing your future as easy as possible.
For more information on how we can make your Grace College online education more affordable, visit our financial aid and scholarships page.