When deciding to pursue a degree, whether that degree is earned at a college far away or obtained completely remotely, one of the first considerations is a student’s budget. Factors such as the cost of tuition, textbook prices, and admission fees are all financial obligations that can add up, especially for those who do not keep track of what their college is charging. Unsurprisingly, 52% of college students accepted student loans as a means for completing their degree in 2020. While there are a plethora of financial aid options available to college students, aid that doesn’t require an extended repayment plan after graduation is a more appealing choice. This is why online students need to research and apply for scholarships and grants that may provide an easier and more affordable avenue toward their degree.
In this article, we’ll explore how to apply for scholarships online, as well as some specific scholarships and opportunities that are available to remote learners looking to minimize the balance of their school’s cost of attendance. Online students will be one step closer to their professional pursuits by ditching their financial setbacks with the help of some of these lucrative scholarships available.
Types of Scholarships for Online Students
Online students have a sea of financial resources that may choose to explore, but finding specific scholarships that the student may be able to take to their advantage can be an overwhelming task. There are numerous different types of financial aid available to remote learners, with scholarships and grants being the most appealing of these options. Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants are issued by schools and organizations to help lower the cost of attendance for eligible applicants without ever needing the money back. It’s important to note that remote students have to follow the same avenues toward applying for scholarships and grants online, but many of these financial aid resources will not drastically vary from a student who pursues a traditional in-person degree.
Some of the most commonly acquired scholarships are created specifically by the college or university the student wishes to attend. This type of scholarship is usually found by completing the FAFSA or researching the scholarships available on the school’s website. While the FAFSA will list out the financial aid available on a case-by-college basis, it’s never a bad idea to double-check that all financial resources can be utilized when choosing a school and calculating the cost of attendance to complete a degree.
For online students, college-specific scholarships are often just as available if the student is struggling to pay their online tuition independently. There are also many colleges and institutions that offer scholarships that are specifically designed for remote and online learners.
Community-Based Aid, Scholarships, and Grants
Another valuable option for those looking for scholarships is community-based scholarships and grants that may be available in their local community and extracurricular opportunities. While these tend to be scholarships that require a tad more research than the ones that you would be able to receive through the FAFSA, they are still able to provide much-needed assistance when a student is first developing a realistic idea of the resources that will be available to them while they complete their degree.
For example, the Boys & Girls Club of America is a well-known community organization that provides after-school programs for children in need to help them become stronger leaders and forces of positivity in their communities. What people may not know however is that this organization is also very popular for its scholarships that are available to eligible and qualified students that choose to apply. The Boys & Girls Club is just a common example of some of the community and local-based aid that students should seek to use to their advantage when deciding to obtain their degree.
Federal or State Grants
Federal and state grants are typically offered as a part of the FAFSA’s results, whether the student intends to go to school near or far it’s likely that they’re eligible for grants of some kind. Grants are different from scholarships in that there is never any need to re-apply or maintain a certain GPA to hold onto the funds such as a scholarship, but can at times require that a person remains in a certain occupation if the grant is issued by an employer. Grants are free money available to applicants as well as those that apply for state-affiliated financial aid that they feel they may be eligible to receive.
One of the most well-known grants available to online undergraduate students is the Pell Grant, which is traditionally awarded to those who do not hold any degree. The grant amount is determined by a few different factors such as the cost of the school’s tuition and attendance, if the student is full-time or part-time, the duration of time the student intends to attend the school, and the level of financial need overall.
How to Apply for Scholarships Online
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- Create a list of schools and programs: While some scholarships may not require a school to be chosen yet, knowing which schools and programs the student is interested in is an important step in learning which scholarships are available on the collegiate level. This will help with filling out the FAFSA as well as in understanding what level of financial assistance may be needed for the college’s specific cost of tuition.
- Search for scholarships: Look for scholarships online by researching the school of interest’s website to scan for available financial assistance and opportunities. It’s also very common to use websites specifically tailored to finding and applying for scholarships online, such as Chegg or Going Merry. These websites can help further simplify the process and keep all applications in one place.
- Note the deadlines: A well-developed scholarship application is pointless if the application is not submitted in time. When listing out the scholarships and grants the student may be interested in receiving, noting the deadlines is just as important to guarantee the student can even reap these benefits.
- Get to work!: After identifying and properly preparing the necessary materials for financial aid, it’s time to begin applying for these scholarships and grants. Online students should make sure to review each application carefully before submitting to give a positive first impression and raise the likelihood of receiving the financial aid.
- Track applications: There are likely multiple scholarships and grants that the student may be qualified to apply for, so keeping these organized and following up their status is the last and most important element of accurately calculating a student’s amount of financial aid and assistance.
Tips for Applying for Scholarships Online
Now that future college students have a confident grasp of the scholarships and grants that may be available for online students, it’s time to consider some of the common obstacles that are experienced when applying for scholarships and grants online. Here are some helpful tips for applying for scholarships online to help keep the student’s identity safe and options open.
Be wary of scams
Scams are a sadly timeless issue, especially for vulnerable individuals that are seeking financial assistance for their college education. Applying for scholarships online can often lead future students down a rabbit hole of possibilities, with fraudulent claims and scams sprinkled within to lure unsuspecting individuals to provide their security information. Being able to identify these scams for what they are is key for finding legitimate financial aid options. Consider the application requirements, the amount of financial aid, and make sure to research the organization or institution that intends to issue this funding. As a general rule of thumb, if the scholarship or grant seems too good to be true, it often is and can lead to numerous complications down the line.
Use scholarship websites to find more options
Over time, there have been numerous programs and websites created to help college applicants with finding and applying for scholarships online. At this point, there are quite a few helpful websites designed to streamline the process of scholarship and grant application, as well as further help students who may not know how to apply for scholarships online. Some amazing resources for researching and applying for these resources include:
When Should I Apply for College Scholarships?
Those who wish to take advantage of these lucrative online scholarship opportunities may be wondering “When should I apply for college scholarships?” The best time to apply for scholarships is as soon as the student has narrowed down their schools of interest and finally begins the application process. For high school students that are seeking an undergraduate degree, it’s suggested to begin researching locally-based scholarship programs as early as their junior year and to begin applying for student aid by completing the FAFSA their senior year. This will allow future college students the chance to properly anticipate scholarship submission deadlines and set themselves up to apply to as many scholarships and grants as possible.
Learning how to apply for scholarships online may seem like a daunting task at first, but the results of the effort are typically lucrative and game-changing for someone wishing to earn their degree. Especially for online students that prefer an affordable and manageable balance for their cost of attendance, applying for scholarships and grants online is an intelligent step to maximizing the value of their education. While there may have been confusion regarding online students being non-eligible for scholarships and grants, we hope this article properly dispelled that myth. By simply exploring an online college’s scholarship options and applying for the necessary financial aid, applying for scholarships and grants online has never been simpler. Explore some of Bible College Online’s featured colleges with scholarship programs below!