How to Pay for an Online University Education

Figuring out how to pay for an online university education may be a bigger challenge than selecting a major or even choosing which university to attend. Your online degree is an investment and, as such, a careful plan should be made for how to finance it.

Most students require some sort of financial assistance to cover the costs outside of what they are able to pay, and many turn immediately to student loans.
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However, it is important to remember that student loans are not the only way to pay for an online university education.

Scholarships and grants are the first things to research when looking into financial assistance, since this is money that you are not required to repay after graduation. These include scholarships offered by your school, community or private organizations as well as federal and state based grants. The free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) should also be filled out no matter how much financing you hope to receive. To learn how to properly fill out the FAFSA form, please watch our video entitled “FAFSA application How-to”.

If you are still unable to fully fund your online university education after exhausting all of the “free money” options, federal student loans may be the best solution. Typically based on financial need, federal student loans tend to be the best deal financially-speaking.

Federal Stafford Loan

The most popular, low cost borrowing option for students, the Federal Stafford Loan is available to those undergraduate and graduate students who have completed a FAFSA form. In order to be eligible for this federal student loan you must also attend an accredited university at least on a half-time basis.

Depending on your financial needs, a Federal Stafford Loan may not cover all of your costs. There is a loan maximum that varies by grade level and student status. The current loan maximums are:

$5,500 for freshmen
$6,500 for sophomores
$7,500 for juniors, seniors and fifth-year undergraduate students
$20,500 for graduate students
$40,500 for specific graduate medical professions
There are two types of Federal Stafford Loans offered: those that are subsidized and those that are not. A subsidized loan means that you will not have to pay any interest until you are out of school. While you are in school the government will take care of it. The current interest rate for a 2010/2011 subsidized Stafford Loan is 4.5%. To learn more about subsidized student loans, go to

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