Online college is cheaper than traditional college. But that doesn’t mean earning that online degree is cheap.

Online degrees still cost thousands of dollars. And a lot of people need financial assistance in covering the cost of online school tuition.

One great option for financial aid is a grant. Grants have long been available for “traditional” college campus study programs. But did you know there are also grants available specifically for online students?

In facts, there are more grants available now than ever before for online college. It used to be federal grants for online college required you still take at least half your classes in person. But that’s no longer the case!

As distance learning has become more popular, the federal government got rid of that requirement. You can now be 100% virtual for all your classes and still qualify for federal grants.

In this brief article, we’ll cover the basics of grants for online college including:

  • What are grants?
  • Types of grants
  • Who qualifies for a grant?
  • How much money can you get from a grant?
  • Where to find grants
  • How to apply for grants

What Are Grants?

Grants are a kind of financial aid available to college students. A grant is free money a student can receive to help pay for college. They can be used along with student loans and scholarships.

Grants are usually awarded based on the student’s financial need. Scholarships are more often awarded based on merit.

Types of Grants

Grants can be awarded by the federal government, states, corporations and even the colleges themselves. Many grants are available for minority students and for women. There are also grants that are subject-specific such as nursing, engineering and technology.

The main federal grant programs that are available to online college students include:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • National SMART Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Academic Competiveness Grant
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

While federal grants are typically need-based, there are a number state grants available. And state grants tend to be more merit-based.

Who Qualifies for Grants?

There are lots of different kinds of grants. And each has their own rules for who qualifies. As mentioned earlier, however, grants are usually given to students with financial need. Before you apply for a grant, be sure to check its eligibility requirements.

Also, grants are usually for students at the undergraduate level. And, again, mostly for financial need. However, there are organizations that will give grants for those seeking an advanced degree. For example, you may work for a company that will fund your education to get a higher degree like a master’s.

How Much Money Can an Online Student Get From a Grant?

The answer to this question depends on the person. However, grants typically range from around $1,000 all the way up to $35,000. However, the average grant for online colleges is usually around $5,000.

Where to Find Grants for Online College?

The best place to start your search for grants in a search engine. You can start with a broad term like “grants for online college”. Then you can also get more specific depending on your situation. Try terms like “student grants for women”, “grants for minority students”, “grants for nursing students” and “grants for students in {your state}”.

Also, reach out to the schools you plan to apply to and ask if they have grants available. And, if you work for a company, contact HR to see what grants your company may offer.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) & How To Apply for Online College Grants

For federal and state grants, you start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For grants offered by universities and corporations, you’ll have to check with the organization to see how to apply.

More On Grants and Financial Aid

Grants are not just for athletes and top students. Learn about the different types of grants available here.

You can also get a good, brief overview of how to get a grant for college.

Grants aren’t the only way to get free money for college. There are also a ton of scholarships available. Get an intro to scholarships here.