Online (or "distance") learning can help you fit education into a busy life. If you are self-disciplined and motivated, it can be a fast and efficient way to earn a degree. With financial aid, it's only gotten easier.
Online learning programs let you take courses over the Internet, using multimedia, online bulletin boards, and email. A major advantage of online coursework is flexibility of when and how you study.
Increasing numbers of traditional two- and four-year schools and new virtual universities offer distance learning programs. These programs allow students, instructors, and course curricula to be brought together regardless of location.
While graduation requirements can vary between distance learning programs, most have general standards that require you to:
- Complete a minimum number of credit hours (usually 120 hours for a bachelor's degree).
- Complete a minimum number of hours with the school from which you will be getting the degree (usually 30 hours).
- Meet a minimum grade point average (GPA).
- Complete specific courses to earn your degree.
After you've have been accepted into a program, you must:
- Know where your course information will be stored.
- Purchase textbooks.
- Obtain necessary equipment.
- Determine how exams are administered.
Check with your school for program specifics and admissions requirements.
Ways to pay
Scholarships may be available for distance learning.* Use Sallie Mae’s free scholarship search to find scholarships to help pay for your education.
Federal student aid
Check with your school’s financial aid office to determine whether your distance learning program qualifies for federal financial aid.*
Private student loans
Research private student loan lenders to determine what options are available to you. You may be able to cover the total cost of education and certain school-certified education-related expenses
*Most financial aid is available only to students enrolled at least half time.