Many Payment Options
Aside from the savings of not having to pay for gas or campus food, there is no significant difference between the tuition that a traditional student pays and what an online student will pay. This means that college, whether in the classroom or in online courses, can be pretty expensive. Fortunately, however, there are options to be had in helping to pay for the expense of school.
If you are employed and seeking a degree that relates to your current line of work, you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement from your employer. Ask your human resources department if there are any tuition reimbursement programs available at your place of business and what the requirements are. Usually, they will require proof that you are in school and doing satisfactorily in your courses in order to provide reimbursement, which may include a percentage of your tuition or paying for the books for the specific classes that you are taking which qualify for the program.
Federal Financial Aid
The federal government has long been the largest provider and backer of student loans used in the United States. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be filled out online or in person at any university’s Financial Aid office. This loan is not like the traditional loans you can get from a bank and differs in several ways: for one thing, whereas a bank will give you a loan based on your credit, and only if you have a high enough credit rating, federal student loans are not based on your credit rating at all. Federal student loans are instead based on your financial standing with those who are low-income receiving the highest preference for getting a loan.
Another way that federal student aid is different from traditional bank loans, is that they do not have to be repaid until after the student graduates from school or drops below part time attendance. Some of the loans may be subsidized as well which means that they will not begin to accrue interest until after the student starts to repay the loan under the terms of the agreement.
Scholarships and Grants
Grants are typically available only to those who have a specialized need for them, often based on low-income. Sometimes, however grants may be won or earned by other means such as through volunteer work or community service.
Scholarships are available to anyone who wants to try for them and may be applied for in your school’s financial aid office or online. Offered by governments, corporations, schools and individuals, scholarships are monetary amounts ranging from $25.00 to a “full ride” which will pay for all expenses related for school. Usually based on academic merit, scholarships may also be given out based on writing ability, race, gender, ethnicity, writing ability, handicap, or about any other reason that the individual or group offering it wants to choose.
Save and Pay as You Go
Another benefit to the online education is the flexibility to take classes as fast or slow as you want, slowly if you need to, in order to afford to pay the reduced tuition costs out of pocket rather than borrowing money or relying on scholarships and grants. Taking this route, though harder and more time-consuming usually, will save you from having to deal with the nasty surprise of student loan repayment after graduation.