How to Get a Student Loan for Online College
Taking online courses can be an exciting prospect, but determining how you’ll pay for them can be stressful. In years past, students were not able to get loans for education costs unless their schools taught at least half of their courses on a physical campus. However, that all changed in 2006 when Congress made it possible to receive federal financial aid from an accredited school even if your courses are 100 percent online.
So, how do you go about getting a student loan to help you cover the cost of your online higher education courses? You’ll want to go through each of the following three steps:
- Determine if Your School is Accredited
In order to get a federal student loan, your school needs to be accredited by a federally recognized accrediting agency. Though not all colleges with online courses are accredited, a great many are. So, you’ll want to determine this before you enroll. Without the proper accreditation, you won’t be able to apply for a federal student loan.
- Compare Your Loan Options
Generally speaking, federal student loans are going to offer you the lowest interest rates and flexible pay-back options, including loan forgiveness. However, some private loans offer great perks, too. You should always investigate your options and choose which is truly best for your unique needs.
- Ask About Other Types of Aid
If accreditation is an issue, or if federal and private loans simply won’t provide all the assistance you need, as your school’s financial aid office about other options for funding your education. For example, depending on your field of study, there may be a trade program loan available, or even an alumni scholarship.
Paying for your online coursework can be stressful, but student loans are an option. Follow the steps above to determine how to best pay for your education without breaking the bank.
Image via Flickr/Mike Lawrence