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What Students Need to Know about Financing their Online Education

Flexible and convenient, online college programs are beneficial for many students, particularly adult learners who balance education with work and family responsibilities. Some online students think financial aid is only for new students learning on-campus and might not realize they may qualify for assistance, too. Online colleges in Ohio and beyond, like Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU), provide opportunities for adults with busy schedules to attend college through online programs. Here, we offer a detailed overview of financial aid for online college to help qualified students find ways to invest in their education.

Financial Aid: How to Apply and What it Covers

Before searching for financial assistance, students must complete the FAFSA application to determine their eligibility. Online learners may find just as much financial aid for online college as there is for on-campus education. The FAFSA form requires applicants to submit personal identification, such as a Social Security number or alien registration number, tax information, bank account balances, and investments. It also requires a school code for the prospective educational institution.

Financial aid helps you pay for various educational expenses, including books, fees, and tuition. All types of learners can apply for assistance, including part-time and graduate students, but eligibility for the different types of financial aid depends on unique criteria. For example, some student aid revolves around your ability to pay for college, while other assistance programs focus on academic achievements. Three common forms of financial aid include scholarships, grants, and loans. 

Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded on merit and other non-need-based criteria, and recipients are not required to pay them back. Typically, winners must maintain good academic standing, such as a minimum GPA in each renewal period, to remain eligible for a scholarship. Some scholarships are designed specifically for on-campus learners, but numerous online students can receive benefits. Students can find a vast selection of scholarships through online databases or discover local opportunities through their school and community. 

To help guide our students with financial support, MVNU provides numerous external links to businesses, churches, and other organizations that offer endowments and other financial aid for online college. The scholarships we offer eligible GPS learners include:

  • Joseph & Peggy Metzger Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Leonard / Wade Advanced Leadership Endowed Scholarship
  • McDaniel Endowed Scholarship
  • Paul George Memorial Scholarship
  • Raymond G. Taylor Endowed Scholarship 
  • Rev. Wesley J. & Judy A. Hawes Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Roland E. & Juanita B. Ferguson Endowed Scholarship
 

Grants 

While merit is the basis of many scholarships, need often directs grant programs. Grants do not require repayment, but some oblige students to work in specific professional fields for a pre-determined time. To qualify for these awards, you must fill out the FAFSA application. You can find grants for online colleges at regionally accredited schools that acknowledge the FAFSA, such as MVNU’S GPS program. There are numerous types of this financial aid for online learners, but two significant options include federal Pell Grants and the TEACH grant program.

Pell Grants 

These federal grants are designed for undergraduate students who haven’t received a bachelor’s or professional degree, have financial needs, or are enrolled in eligible post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs. Total attendance costs, how much your family contributes, part-time or full-time status, and whether or not you attend school for a full academic year decide your eligibility and the amount awarded. Every year, the federal government’s maximum award amount is $6,495 and is based upon the information from the FAFSA.  

TEACH Grant Program 

This program places qualified teachers in high-need fields at schools that serve low-income families. Students work for at least four complete academic years within eight years after their study course finishes. To be eligible, you must be in a high needs field, have a 3.25 GPA or higher and complete all of the necessary paperwork. Additionally, you must stay enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program based in the U.S. and fill out the FAFSA annually to remain eligible. Bear in mind that failure to fulfill any requirements surrounding the TEACH grant program may result in your aid transferring into a loan that must be repaid. 

Loans 

Loans are often viewed as the last resort in financial aid since they must be repaid. The two general federal types are direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The government pays the interest on subsidized loans during your enrollment and for a six-month grace period after your enrollment ends. Then, you must begin repaying the loan. However, with unsubsidized loans, interest accumulates during your enrollment and continues until you pay off the loans in full. Unsubsidized loans also offer a six-month grace period before you start repayment.

Private loans from banks, credit unions, and other lenders may also be an option if you do not qualify for federal loans. However, please note that your ability to repay a private loan may influence the funds and interest rates you receive. Additionally, your interest accrues immediately, although students typically will not have to repay their loan until enrollment ends. 

Financial Aid for Online Students at MVNU

Balancing online courses with family and work can be challenging enough without the added stress of college costs. If you are a student who needs financial aid for online college, turn to MVNU for resources. We offer numerous forms of financial aid for qualified online students and ensure tuition costs do not increase after enrollment. Contact us today for more information on financial assistance and our flexible online programs. 

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