Financial Aid and Scholarship Resources
Funding your Online Education
There is a broad spectrum when it comes to tuitions in both the real and virtual world. It is well worth your time to perform substantial research when comparing costs of earning an online degree. While you research keep the following information in mind.
To begin, the price on the sticker does not always define the total cost of the package. Meaning, there are factors that can cause the total cost of an online education to fluctuate. Interest rates on student loans, the amount of time required to spend on campus and distance learning “fees” can forge or lower the total cost spent on your online education.
Student loans exist for many online degree programs. They come in the form of either government backed Stafford or private loans. How much or how little money you can receive from these loans can greatly alter the price of tuition. For instance, if you have found two different schools you are interested in you may think the lower tuition school is the best bet. However, when you examine the schools more closely you find that the lower tuition school only offers private loans with an 9% interest while the higher tuition school offers government backed loans with 3% interest making it the less expensive choice of the two in the end.
One of the attractions of distance learning programs is the elimination of everyday things like commuting time, gas and parking. Make sure you know how much residency time (if any) is required from the online degree programs you are interested in. If one school requires more residency time than others know the total cost of that school will increase by possibly adding hotel expenses, parking, time off work and time away from home.
Scrutinize the tuition cost; some are forthright while others will later factor in “technology” or “distance learning fees.”
Take into consideration the type of institution that offers the distance learning program you are interested in. Some online college degree programs are extensions of public universities while others are “for profit” or private organizations.
Many public universities have extended to offer online degree programs. Due to the fact that these schools receive state funding the cost of their tuition can be lower than their private school counterparts. In addition, state residency status can alter tuition online the same way it can for traditional campus tuition. There are a few online degree programs offered by public universities that have standardized their online tuition costs regardless of their students’ state of residency.
Private schools are generally more expensive. They do not have the advantage of assistance from state education funds and therefore depend more heavily on their student’s tuition. The “Ivy League” schools maintain competitive standards for acceptance into their online degree programs. Although it may be more expensive to attend one of their online programs having their name attached to yours could end up outweighing that cost in the long run.
Another good source of financial aid comes in the form of corporate tuition assistance, usually included in your benefits packages. This type of aid is offered by the employer with pre determined restrictions such as reimbursement upon completion or whether or not it will help further your role within the company. If you think you may be eligible for this type of assistance check with someone in your human resources department.
There are many resources to help navigate you through your research on financing your online education through financial aid and public and private sector scholarships. Some of the resources listed below are suggestions to help you with your financial concerns:
Financial Aid Finder is an outstanding website that will help you easily navigate the complex task of learning about your financial aid options and applying for all of the financial aid that you qualify for.
Tax benefits for Higher Education:
Education Resource Organizations Directory:
Student Guide to Financial Aid:
Union Sponsored Scholarships and Financial Aid:
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