Want to apply for a grant to help pay for online college? Great idea! Getting a grant is basically like getting free money.

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 fact, there are now more opportunities to get grants for online college than ever! Here are the basics you need to know about how to get grants for college.

How To Get Grants For College

Applying for Online College Grants

Applying is super simple.

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.

That’s it. Yes, it’s really that simple!

What Types of Grants Are There?

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

Where to Find Grants for Online Schools?

Start by checking out what federal and/or state grants may be available to you. Federal grants are mainly financial need based. Many state grants, however, are merit based.

Next, check with the schools you plan to apply to. There are schools that have grant money available so see if that’s something you can take advantage of.

If you work for a company (particularly a larger one), contact HR to see if they have grants available for employees who want to pursue a college degree.

Search engines can also be your friend here. Spend some time searching for college grants. You may find some nice options based on your gender, race, and/or field of study.

Who Qualifies for College Grants and How Much Are They Worth?

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. Especially federal grants. Before you apply for a grant, be sure to check its eligibility requirements.

As far as how much they’re worth, the answer is it depends. Grants typically range from around $1,000 all the way up to $35,000. The average grant for online colleges, however, comes in around $5,000.

More on Grants and Financial Aid

This article is part of our Guide to Online College Grants.

Check out the next article in the series: Types of Grants for College (And Financial Aid Too!)