Many students look for scholarship opportunities that can help pay for the costs of higher education. What many do not realize, however, is that there are scholarships available for online students, too. There are many scholarships out there just for students enrolled in online degree programs and other non-traditional students. If you are enrolled in an accredited online degree program and you meet the necessary requirements, you should be eligible to receive the same scholarships offered to campus-based students. Many opportunities are directly geared at online students. Here is a guide to online college scholarships.
As with scholarships for campus-based institutions, it is essential to thoroughly research financial aid options that suit you best. Pay particular attention to need-based options and scholarships for special groups like women or minorities. To determine your eligibility and find out about more distance learning scholarships, you can conduct a free scholarship search on many different websites. Here you will get a list of search results based on the information you provide, best fitting your unique situation. You must begin the application process early, gathering all necessary information prior to applying for scholarships. It is also important to submit the FAFSA ASAP.
While some scholarships provide winners with payments every semester, others offer a one-time lump sum. Either publicly or privately funded, scholarships are awarded based on various factors, including grade point average, class ranking, academic awards, standardized test scores, scores on advancements placement examinations, ethnicity, gender, sports, volunteer experiences, essays, family income, and much more. Generally, there are three types of scholarships available for students enrolled in online schools: individual school scholarships, organizational scholarships, and contest scholarships.
Individual Institutional Scholarships
Many online schools now offer limited scholarships to their students. Generally based on academic achievement or other merits, these scholarships are often all-inclusive, covering costs of tuition, books, and fees. Individual Institutional Scholarships can also be partial, meant to supplement other financial aid. If your accredited online college is affiliated with a traditional "brick and mortar" school, you may be eligible for scholarships from the affiliated college. All online institutions have different policies, so it is important to contact the financial aid department or counseling office of your school to obtain the most accurate information.
Many organizations offer scholarship programs. Their policies usually state whether or not online degree programs are eligible for consideration. Additionally, if you are a member of a national organization"for example, the Girl Scouts"you probably qualify for a scholarship.
Many scholarship sponsors, such as clubs or private companies, hold contests with scholarship prizes. Most are centered on excellence in writing, offering scholarships to individuals who compose compelling essays.
Other Scholarship Sources
There are a variety of other sources where you may find online scholarships, including your employer, your parent"s employer, or community organizations.
Examples of Scholarships for Online Students
- Single Parent Scholarships are intended for low-income parents under the age of 18 who have not yet earned a four-year college degree. This is a statewide scholarship, so check online to see if it is available in your state.
- Law Enforcement Officers" Dependents Scholarships are available to online students who are also dependents of law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters who have been disabled or killed in the line of duty.
- Early Childhood Development Scholarships are for qualifying students living in certain states, including New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Massachusetts.
- The Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Scholarship provides grants to various states to help with providing need-based assistance to eligible students. The grant amount is determined by the financial aid office of a particular college or university.