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How to Apply for Financial Aid When Taking Online Classes
Among the most important considerations when deciding where to go to school is how much it will cost. While online colleges and universities can vary in costs just as much as traditional universities, it’s possible to use financial aid to cover some of these expenses. If you want to apply for financial aid, there are some basic guidelines that you should follow, which will determine how much aid you qualify for.
What Is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is available for students who attend traditional colleges as well as online school. However, it’s important that you make sure that the college you’re attending accepts financial aid before you apply. This financial aid is made available through FAFSA, which is a federal program that offers a wide range of free scholarships and grants to students who qualify. There are some basic requirements that you must meet to qualify for financial aid, which include:
- You must demonstrate that you have financial need
- You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent
- You must have a social security number
- You need to be a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen who holds a green card or has non-permanent residency
- If you are between the ages of 18-25, you must be registered directly with Selective Service
- You will need to fill out and sign the FAFSA application
If you meet these requirements, there’s a high likelihood that you will qualify for at least some financial assistance. However, these requirements must be maintained as you progress through online school.
When to Seek Financial Aid for Online Courses
If you’ve found an online school that you would like to attend but are unable to afford going to this school, one option that can ease your financial burdens is financial aid. There’s no harm in sending in a financial aid application, which is why you should consider doing so unless you can easily afford all of the expenses pertaining to college.
For the 2020-2021 school year, most states started allowing FAFSA applications to be sent in following October 1, 2019. The exact deadlines for when you can file by depend on the state and college that you apply with. The federal deadline is currently June 30, 2021. However, most financial aid will have been allotted to other students by this date, which is why it’s recommended that you apply as early as you can.
What to Consider When Filling Out an Application
Filling out a FAFSA application is a relatively simple and straightforward process. If you are currently dependent on your parents, make sure that you’re able to provide their financial information as well as your own. If you aren’t dependent, the information that will need to be filled out on the application includes:
- Your social security number
- Your W-2 forms from last year
- Federal tax returns from the last year
- Any investment records
- Bank statements and current balance
- Any additional income that hasn’t been taxed
Now that you have a clear understanding of what financial aid is and how to fill out an application, you should be ready to start this process. As mentioned previously, there are deadlines for sending in this application. Applying early also increases the possibility that you will receive more financial aid, which is why you should start seeking financial aid as soon as possible.
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