Best Online Colleges that Accept FAFSA

Are you looking for online colleges that accept FAFSA? This article offers a brief outline of FAFSA-approved online schools.

TCM Staff

22nd August 2021

Thinking about online education but unsure about meeting those tuition payments? To know your eligibility for any financial aid, the first step is to fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Hundreds of schools across the USA accept the FAFSA form in their admissions process to assess the financial needs of prospective students. 

But are there online schools that accept FAFSA? If so, which are the best online colleges that accept FAFSA

These might be the first questions that come to mind when considering online colleges. The truth is, there aren’t as many online colleges as there are on-campus colleges that accept FAFSA. But, online colleges that accept FAFSA are still out there. 

List of Best Online Colleges that Accept FAFSA

Compared to traditional colleges, there are fewer accredited online colleges that accept FAFSA. So, let’s dive into some of the best online colleges that accept FAFSA. 

  1. Anna Maria College
  2. Benedictine University
  3. Bradley University
  4. Lasell College
  5. Lewis University
  6. Maryville University
  7. Seton Hall University
  8. St John’s University
  9. Utica College
  10. Walsh University
  11. Widener University

 

1. Anna Maria College

Located in Paxton, Massachusetts, Anna Maria College is a private, Catholic liberal arts online college. It’s accredited by the New England Commissioner of Higher Education.  Students have 24/7 access to tech assistance and can receive guidance from a dedicated Student Services Coordinator. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
  • Masters of Health Emergency Management
  • Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Masters of Homeland Security
  • Master of Criminal Justice

 

2. Benedictine University

Benedictine University is a private, Roman Catholic university founded in 1887 and located in Lisle, Illinois. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Benedictine’s online programs benefit students who are looking for the right opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree or seeking a master’s program that fits their needs. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Masters of Business Administration- MBA
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Master of Science in Accountancy 
  • Dual Degree Programs like MSN, MBA, MHA

 

3. Bradley University

Bradley University is a private university founded in 1897 and located in Peoria, Illinois. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). More than 90% of Bradley students receive some form of financial assistance award. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice- Leadership Track
  • Master of Science in Nursing- Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

 

4. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers over 200 online degree and certificate programs. A nonprofit university accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education, SNHU accepts the FAFSA application and also offers one of the lowest tuition rates in the country. It’s a great online option for prospective students on a strict budget. 

Some of their popular, online degree programs include:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration 
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Psychology

 

5. Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global is ranked as one of the best universities in the world by the Wall Street Journal. It accepts FAFSA, and is a school that tailors online, flexible programs to working adults. Some popular online programs offered by Purdue include:

  • Bachelor of Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Finance
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering  

 

6. Lasell University

Lasell University has 54 acres, and is a private university located in Auburndale, Massachusetts. It offers degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional fields of study. It is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

The programs offered are flexible and convenient. Some prominent programs offered by the Lasell University include:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Marketing
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Management
  • Master of Science in Communication
  • Master of Science in Nutrition for Human Performance

 

7. Lewis University

Lewis University is a private university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Students here will be assigned a personal Student Services Coordinator to guide them throughout the academic year. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Master of Science in Aviation and Transportation
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Science in Business Analytics 
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Nursing, BSN, MSN, DNP

 

8. Maryville University

Maryville University is a private university located in Missouri, and was originally founded in 1872 by the Society of the Sacred Heart. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Maryville University offers many scholarships to incoming students ranging from $19,000 to the full cost of tuition. Some prominent programs offered by the college include:

  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership
  • Strategic Communication and Leadership.
  • Master in Data Science
  • Bachelor of Arts

 

9. Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University was founded in 1856 and is located in South Orange, New Jersey by James Roosevelt Bayley. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The college’s online programs are of the same quality instruction as its on-campus programs. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college include:

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner 

 

10. St John’s University

St. John’s University is a private Roman Catholic university located in New York City and founded in 1870. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Full-time online degree students receive an IBM laptop and access to a range of student services. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science
  • Ph.D. in Literacy
  • Master of Public Health

 

11. Utica College

It is a private university located in Utica, New York. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It provides the same quality of education that is found in physical classrooms. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Masters in Cybersecurity
  • Masters in Data Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Financial Crime and Compliance Operations Certificate

 

12. Widener University

Widener University is a private university founded in 1821, and located in Chester, Pennsylvania.  It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It offers innovative, distinctive online programs in a flexible platform designed. Some of the prominent programs offered by the college are as follows:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Online RN-to-BSN
  • Master of Social Work
  • Dual Degree Program

 

Two women working on a computer

 

Other Online Colleges That Accept FAFSA

The above 11 universities aren’t the only FAFSA-approved online schools out there. Here are a few more online colleges that accept FAFSA:

 

How to Find Colleges that Accept FAFSA?

There might be more colleges out there that accept FAFSA, but they’re not all available in a list. If you want to find more colleges that accept FAFSA, follow these steps. 

 

  1. Visit an Online University or College Website

  2. Go to their Website’s Financial Aid Section

  3. Look for Information About FAFSA

  4. Search FAFSA Within the Financial Aid Page

 

What Does Online College Education Look Like?

Online colleges are often similar to normal colleges in their quality of education. However, the learning methods are different. Equipped with online work platforms like Canvas and Brightspace, online colleges provide lectures, forums, resources, and professors’ office hours online.    These days, students can communicate just as frequently and effectively through an online learning model as they can in a busy lecture hall. 

Instead of relying heavily on textbooks, online colleges usually offer course materials in the form of videos, online study materials, discussions, and photos. 

To attend an online college, you should ensure your internet connection is strong and your computer is reliable. 

Online programs are easily accessible, and they have helped bridge the gap between higher education and prospective students that either live far away, or simply need more time to work while studying.  

Also read: Best Online Colleges

 

Overview of FAFSA

FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a standard form that all prospective US college students fill out if they want to achieve financial aid from the government and various colleges. Colleges use the FAFSA form to assess the financial need of their applicants. 

Here are the various kinds of financial aid that students can attain:

Types of Financial Aid:

Federal Student Loans

Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Perkin Loans, Parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS loans

Grants 

A grant is free money that is given to a student to help with college expenses — students don’t need to pay it back. Example: Pell grants.

College Scholarships

These are a form of aid that students don’t need to repay. They are often merit-based, or offered to a particular group of students. 

Employment

Federal Work-Study and other on- and off-campus job opportunities support students with tuition. 

Private Student Loans 

These are loans that can be used to cover your higher education costs, whether you’re in an undergraduate or graduate program. However, the interest rates are much higher compared to federal student loans. 

Here are a few important points you must know about the FAFSA:

  • The FAFSA is an application form that must be filled by every college student who needs financial aid to determine their eligibility. Eligibility is communicated through the Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • SAR includes Expected Financial Contribution (EFC) as well so that universities know how much money applicants’ families will contribute to their tuition. 
  • Institutions use the EFC to determine your eligibility for the financial aid provided by the college itself.
  • To keep receiving the aid every year, you will have to maintain a satisfactory GPA and meet all course requirements. 

 

Woman working on a laptop

 

Eligibility for FAFSA

Any student, full-time, part-time, online, or in-campus must meet certain criteria before filling out the FAFSA. They must:

  • Have a high school diploma or an acknowledged equivalent degree.
  • Demonstrate financial need.
  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Have a legitimate Social Security number.
  • Be registered with Selective Service if a male, and if their age is from 18 to 25. 
  • Enrolled in an acceptable and accredited online college that accepts FAFSA or a diploma program.

You will have to fill out the FAFSA every year if you want to receive federal financial support, specifically through a Renewal FAFSA form

 

When Does the Department of Education Accept FAFSA Forms?

The department of education will start accepting FAFSA forms after October 1. However, check your individual university website for more specific deadlines that they might have for financial aid applications. 

Financial aid is generally awarded on a basis of First-Come, First-Served which means if you file your FAFSA earlier, the availability of aid will be more. 

 

Documents Necessary For the Application Process

Before filling out the form, it is better to FAFSA Requirements to complete the application process effectively. Such documents and details are as follows.

  • Social Security numbers.
  • W-2 forms for the past year.
  • Reports of additional, untaxed income.
  • Federal tax returns for the previous year.
  • Investment documents for the prior year.
  • Bank statements and account data.

 

Filling Out the FAFSA

Filing out the FAFSA isn’t a complicated process. There are 3 ways to fill out the FAFSA:

 

Expected Family Contribution and the Student Aid Report

After applying for FAFSA electronically, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) within two weeks. The SAR is a report that shows or indicates how much of the educational expenses you and your family will have to bear that specific year. This is what is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The difference between the cost incurred in college and your expected family contribution will indicate the financial need of yours to pay for college. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do All Online Colleges Accept FAFSA?

No, not all online colleges accept FAFSA. However, it’s easy enough to find out which colleges accept FAFSA by first re-reading this article, then researching individual college Financial Aid webpages. 

 

What Happens If I Don’t Fill Out the FAFSA?

If you opt-out of filling out the FAFSA, you won’t be eligible for many types of financial aid from the government. However, you can still apply to scholarships and grants offered by individual colleges and universities. 

 

Is There an Income Cut-Off To Qualify for Federal Student Aid?

No, there isn’t an income cut-off. Your entire financial scenario, including the size of your family, year of study, and financial obligations contributes to determining your financial need.

Conclusion

The FAFSA is a vital component to achieving financial aid from any US university or college. Luckily, there are plenty of online colleges that accept FAFSA, so students contemplating distance learning can do so on a budget. Refer to this article for the best online colleges that accept FAFSA anytime you’d like!

 

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