How to Pay for Online College

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Individuals looking to obtain their degrees online run into financing issues. There are many ways of financing online degrees. Student loans, grants, employers and scholarships are some of the tuition assistance programs available to the online student. Thinking outside the box can help you locate financial aid for online degrees.


First, there are the traditional methods of tuition assistance. Single moms and one income families may qualify for Pell Grants. A Federal Financial Assistance form must be filled out. These are available at most local libraries. You can download one online as well. Pell Grants are for undergraduate degrees.

Student Loans

If you are not eligible for a Pell Grant, then there are other options. Student loans for online degrees are one way to pay for college. Be very careful when deciding on a student loan. Neither government backed nor private student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy. The loan must be paid back no matter what happens in life. If you were to have a situation where you could not pay your bills, a student loan will haunt you forever. That said; government backed student loans offer financing for online degrees with low interest rates. They are easy to obtain. Payments are not due until after you are out of school for 6 months. Private student loans are another story. These are easy to get but the terms can change and the interest rates are not low. In many cases interest rates are comparable to credit card rates. Many do not have the flexibility of government backed loans.


Scholarships are available for online education and will also provide tuition assistance. Some online colleges offer their own scholarships based on need or aptitude. There are other scholarships available for online students. Check out scholarships information for listings of potential funding. Many civic organizations offer scholarships. These are not restricted to high school students entering college. Take some time to research what is available and apply to as many as you can.

Your Employer

Employers may offer to pay for job related college courses. Most require a certain grade (usually B or better) in order to get tuition reimbursement. The downside is that most only reimburse for courses, so you have to pay for the course upfront. Speak with your employer prior to enrollment. They may be flexible in the amount of tuition assistance they offer. Furthermore, educational expenses related to employment may be tax deductible. Check with a knowledgeable tax advisor before taking any deductions.

Other Options

Finally, there are credit cards and loans not directly associated with education. Sometimes this is the only way to finance an online degree. Credit cards with low introductory rates may be a good option if you can pay them off quickly. Home equity loans are another option for financing an online degree. This option is only available to homeowners, but it is an option in a pinch. The interest rate can be less than a credit card and the repayment terms are usually better as well.

Financing an online degree through tuition assistance programs requires that all options are searched. This requires some research and thinking outside of the box. Attending an accredited online college or university will further increase your chances of obtaining the financing you need.

This post is part of the series: How to Pay for College

Here we look at some of the costs of going to an online college and how to pay for college when going to school online.

  1. Ideas for How to Pay for College Online
  2. A Brief Look at Financial Aid Options for Online Schooling, Both Positive and Negative