The last few years have seen a boom in the availability of online degrees in part due to rise of enabling technologies and in part driven by demand by those for whom attending traditional university campus-based study is out of reach. Study from home supported by online school grants allows students the flexibility to earn a degree at their own pace around other life commitments, either undertaking part time course work or even accelerated study.
The availability of online school grants is much less than what is on offer to students studying on campus, partly because online study is itself is relatively more affordable. Many students undertaking an online course are able to combine study with full or part time work and are less in need of online school grants.
Don’t let the difficulties of securing a grant put you off from choosing online course delivery if it suits your circumstances best, for example if taking an online degree means you can access a course not available in your area or if online study suits your childcare arrangements or accommodates your disability.
Your school is the starting point as it not only may offer online school grants but it is also responsible for the administration of the Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants for students in serious financial need.
Online school grants, like online study itself, are a relatively new phenomenon, so you need to get creative when thinking about ways to fund your studies. If you have already completed a FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) and exhausted the government options for an online school grant, consider grants that may not require on-campus study as a criterion.
If you have chosen online study for disability access reasons, organizations such as Mobility International USA may be able to offer help in finding a perfect online school grant. Your own school may offer disabled students grants or scholarships regardless of the mode of course delivery you choose too – if you don’t ask you will never know what might be possible.
Online study is a choice made by students from other countries that are unable to relocate but wish to take advantage of a particular degree offered in the USA. If this is you, start with your own Government and then large international organizations like the World Bank or private foundations based in your home country. You may be pleasantly surprised at how accepted this type of study is today and you may be able to access online school grants in this way.
Students who are interested in social issues could try organizations like the Open Society Institute who offer Fellowships to academics working on projects relating to the shaping of public policy. These organizations may allow off-campus students to use these funds as an online school grant with the benefit for both student and the OSI that their social interests are also being furthered.
While the cost of online study may be lower, the last thing you need to is to overload yourself trying to work when a bit of thinking outside the square may help you win online school grants that can take the financial pressure off.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need help and even if you don’t think anyone will help you remember you can’t win awards you don’t apply for! Research into online student grants may just change your mind.