Many students believe that all colleges are the same, especially in terms of financial aid. However, this is not the case, especially if a student is interested in online schools. In reality, the number of online colleges that accept FAFSA is slightly smaller than that of traditional brick-and-mortar universities. As a result, students who enroll in specific online colleges may receive a hefty bill.
Students can ensure they will receive the necessary financial aid by learning which online colleges accept FAFSA. Furthermore, it may assist them in determining which online schools provide a higher-quality education.
Here’s what your student should know if they’re looking for online schools that accept FAFSA.
- Does FAFSA apply to online colleges?
- FAFSA Accepting Online Colleges
- Online Colleges That Do Not Accept FAFSA
- How to Determine if an Online College Accepts FAFSA
- Check Out the College’s Website
- Search for the FAFSA School Code
- Verify the Accreditation of the College
- Directly Contact the College
- What Should You Do If Your Online College Doesn’t Accept the FAFSA?
DOES FAFSA APPLY TO ONLINE COLLEGES?
The acceptance of financial aid through the FAFSA for online college is primarily determined by the school’s accreditation. In most cases, regionally accredited online schools will gladly accept the FAFSA. When it comes to nationally accredited schools, some may accept the FAFSA while others do not.
However, the FAFSA does not cover the costs of degrees from non-accredited schools. This is true whether the degree is obtained online or through traditional college attendance. Because of the lack of accreditation, the college FAFSA is ineligible.
FAFSA ACCEPTING ONLINE COLLEGES
The number of online colleges that accept FAFSA is actually quite large. This is primarily due to the fact that two types of institutions may be included on this list.
First, there will be accredited online-only schools. Second, some FAFSA-accepting accredited online colleges are online divisions of traditional brick-and-mortar universities.
Both segments have recently grown significantly. Interest in online-only education has grown dramatically as technology has advanced. It gives students more flexibility, which is especially important for students who want to study while working.
As a result, as the number of online-only colleges increased, many traditional brick-and-mortar schools sought to capitalize on the trend. It was a simple way to increase enrollment while lowering costs. Furthermore, it enables them to connect with talented students who may be unable to relocate or who require a non-traditional approach to a college education.
Here is a list of FAFSA-accepting online colleges:
- American Public University
- Baker College
- Capella University
- Grand Canyon University
- Penn State World Campus
- Purdue University Online
- Southern New Hampshire University
- University of Florida Online
- University of Phoenix Online
- Western Governors University
It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list. Instead, it focuses on some of the most popular online colleges that accept FAFSA.
As previously stated, many non-online colleges and universities offer online degree programs that accept FAFSA. Because the number of programs in this category is simply too large to list, only a few of the best options are included above.
Finally, students may be able to attend a variety of schools that accept FAFSA online, even if online degrees aren’t the primary focus of the college. As a result, students should not limit their search to online-only schools.
Instead, they should investigate whether other universities of interest offer fully online degrees, as the results may surprise them.
ONLINE COLLEGES THAT DO NOT ACCEPT FAFSA
While many online colleges accept FAFSA, a significant number do not. Most of the schools in this category are not accredited, making them ineligible for federal financial aid. Some are also nationally accredited, and while they are accredited, they do not accept the FAFSA as frequently as regionally accredited colleges.
The following are a list of online colleges that do not accept FAFSA:
- Ashworth College
- Atlantic International University
- Columbus University
- Hill University
- Penn Foster
This list, like the list of collects that accept FAFSA, is not exhaustive. It simply includes some of the most well-known online colleges where students are unable to receive traditional financial aid.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF AN ONLINE COLLEGE ACCEPTS FAFSA
Now that your student knows the answer to the question, “Can you get FAFSA for online classes?” they’re probably wondering how they can find out if the school they’re considering is an FAFSA-approved institution. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it appears. Here are a few options for students to get the information they require.
CHECK OUT THE COLLEGE WEBSITE
In general, online universities that accept FAFSA will state this clearly.
That information is typically available on the Admissions or Financial Aid pages of the college’s website, making it relatively easy to locate.
Even if your student does not see anything explicitly mentioning the FAFSA, there are other ways to determine eligibility.
SEARCH FOR A FAFSA SCHOOL CODE
Students can search for school codes after completing their FAFSA. Students can use these codes to submit their information to colleges for consideration. If a school has an FAFSA code, it will usually be able to accept FAFSA-related financial aid.
VERIFY THE COLLEGES ACCREDITATION
Examining the school’s accreditation is another way to determine its standing. Because non-accredited colleges are not FAFSA-eligible, students must use other funds to cover the costs.
Similarly, the FAFSA is not accepted by many nationally accredited online colleges.
FAFSA acceptance is the norm at regionally accredited colleges. As a result, for students who want to use federal financial aid for their online education, these are usually the best options. In this case, students will typically see an FAFSA school code for those institutions, making this approach the most straightforward.
Students have several options for determining whether or not a school is accredited. Students can quickly find out by searching the college’s website as well as the US Department of Education’s database.
DIRECTLY CONTACT THE COLLEGE
Finally, students can simply inquire with the admissions office about FAFSA eligibility.
This is a good option for students who are still deciding on a college. This allows them to determine whether a school is a viable option before completing their FAFSA, so students should feel free to take this route if necessary.
Students should call or email the admissions or financial aid departments with this information. If your student needs a quick response, a phone call is usually the best option, as the best online colleges that accept FAFSA are often fairly easy to reach. If your student can wait, they can certainly send an email instead, which will allow them to receive an official response in writing.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF YOUR ONLINE COLLEGE REJECTS THE FAFSA
Students can attend colleges that do not accept the FAFSA, but this is not always the best option. Many of the schools in this category are not accredited, and this could indicate a lower-quality experience. Transferring to another college can also be difficult, as many schools will not accept credits from non-accredited institutions. Finally, employers typically do not view degrees from non-accredited schools favorably, which could jeopardize their careers.
Some of the issues raised above persist if the school is nationally accredited but does not accept the FAFSA. Many colleges, for example, will not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools. This is frequently because the educational standard falls below that of regionally accredited institutions.
Employers may not give those degrees the same weight, which could jeopardize a student’s career.
If your student insists on going another route and is willing to take the risk, they may be able to attend using other types of financial aid. Some scholarships may be applicable to nationally accredited schools. Depending on the lender, private student loans may be available for both nationally accredited and unaccredited institutions.
Students should, however, prioritize regionally accredited online schools. In addition to accepting the FAFSA, these degrees are generally more valuable in terms of career, allowing your student to get the most out of their education.