Online colleges that accept FAFSA

What is FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is a form that students can fill out to apply for federal financial aid, such as grants, loans, and work-study programs. FAFSA can help students cover the costs of tuition, fees, books, supplies, and living expenses.

How does FAFSA work?

FAFSA is different from CSS Profile, which is another form that some colleges (primarily private ones) require to distribute their own institutional funds. FAFSA is used to determine the eligibility and amount of federal aid that students can receive based on their financial need.

To complete the FAFSA, students need to provide information about their income, assets, family size, and dependency status. They also need to list the schools they are interested in attending. The FAFSA can be completed online at fafsa.gov or by using the myStudentAid mobile app.

After submitting the FAFSA, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that summarizes their information and indicates their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of how much the student and their family can afford to pay for college. The lower the EFC, the higher the financial need.

The schools that the student listed on the FAFSA will receive the student’s information and EFC and use it to calculate their financial aid package. The financial aid package may include a combination of federal grants, loans, and work-study programs, as well as state and institutional aid. The schools will send the student an award letter that details the types and amounts of aid they are offering.

Students can compare the award letters from different schools and decide which one to accept. They may need to complete additional steps or forms to accept or decline certain types of aid. Students should also review their financial aid package each year and update their FAFSA if their situation changes.

Who can apply for FAFSA?

To apply for FAFSA, students must meet certain eligibility criteria, such as:

  • Being a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an eligible noncitizen
  • Having a valid Social Security number
  • Having a high school diploma, GED, or completion of approved homeschool program
  • Having maintained a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Signing the certification statement stating that they are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant and that federal student aid will only be used for educational purposes
  • Not having been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs while federal aid was being received

Some situations that may disqualify students from getting financial aid are:

  • Defaulting on federal student loans or owing money on federal student grants
  • Not using federal aid money for educational purposes
  • Not maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Being a noncitizen or having a criminal conviction (in some cases)
  • Attending a non-accredited school or program

Some of the benefits of attending online colleges that accept FAFSA are:

  • Accessing various types of federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, Direct Loans, PLUS Loans, and Federal Work-Study
  • Reducing the need for private loans or other sources of funding that may have higher interest rates or less favorable terms
  • Qualifying for other scholarships or tuition assistance programs that may require FAFSA completion as a prerequisite
  • Having more flexibility and convenience in choosing an online program that suits your interests, goals, skills, and needs

Some of the best online colleges that accept FAFSA in 2023 are:

  • American Public University: A part of the American Public University System that offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields, such as business, education, health sciences, homeland security, and military studies.
  • University of Arizona Global Campus: A fully online university that offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various fields, such as business administration, health care administration, psychology, social science, and criminal justice.
  • Arizona State University – Online: A part of Arizona State University that offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in various fields, such as engineering, education, nursing, liberal arts, and sustainability.
  • Capella University: A fully online university that offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields, such as business, counseling, education, health care, information technology, and psychology.
  • Excelsior College: A fully online college that offers online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in various fields, such as business, health sciences, liberal arts, nursing, public service, and technology
  • University of Maryland – Global Campus: A part of the University System of Maryland that offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in various fields, such as business management, cybersecurity, data analytics, health care administration, and homeland security
  • University of Phoenix: A fully online university that offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields, such as business administration, criminal justice administration, education administration, health administration, and nursing
  • Purdue University Global: A part of Purdue University that offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields, such as business administration, criminal justice administration, education administration, health administration, and nursing
  • Southern New Hampshire University – Online Program: A part of Southern New Hampshire University that offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields, such as accounting, communication, computer science, marketing, and psychology.
  • Western Governors University: A fully online university that offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various fields, such as business management, education management, health care management, information technology management.

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