One of the biggest barriers to getting an online degree is cost, and students loans are the scourge of many a graduate. Many online students may not even realize that online students scholarships even exist. But distance learning scholarships not only exist – they are plentiful, and more are being established every year, as more and more students turn to fully online degrees. For online students everywhere, College Consensus has put together a list of the top 50 distance learning scholarships, to help online students find funding to help make their futures brighter.
Online Students Deserve Online Student Scholarships
In the last two decades, online degree programs have gone from being a rarity (and sometimes even a liability) to being a completely ordinary way to get a degree. With more working adults going back to school for higher degrees, online degree programs make as much sense as the night classes and weekend classes that used to be the standard for working professionals. And with young people growing up in the internet age, online education is as familiar as online gaming – or any other online community.
So why shouldn’t online students have online student scholarships? Online degree scholarships are relatively new, though many for-profit universities made their “scholarships” a marketing tool in the old, predatory days. Today, though, there are countless scholarship programs that treat online students as equals to on-campus students, and the number of scholarships exclusively for online students is steadily growing. Legitimate nonprofits, corporations, and institutions are creating distance learning scholarships that provide students
Finding Distance Learning Scholarships
College Consensus editors have sought out online student scholarship programs from a wide variety of sources: nonprofits and professional organizations, corporations and businesses, and the colleges and universities that offer online degrees in the first place. Some programs are specifically designed as distance learning scholarships, open only to online students; others accept both online and traditional applicants equally. Some online students scholarships are intended to encourage working adults to go back to school, while others are distance learning scholarships for first-generation students.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but College Consensus is dedicated to alerting students to all of the opportunities that we find, and the list will be updated regularly.
Online students may also find valuable resources from these guides:
A Place for Mom -- Senior Wisdom Scholarship
A Place for Mom offers a Senior Wisdom Scholarship to students in the aging and gerontology fields. A Place for Mom is the largest senior living referral service in the US. Their mission is to support the education of future leaders in senior care. The scholarship in the amount of $2,000 is awarded annually to five students who are enrolled in a nursing, medical, or social sciences field. This scholarship is for students who wish to work with senior citizens. Students must be a US or Canadian citizen or permanent resident to be eligible. Awards are announced in June.
Students must write a 400 to 700 word essay or submit a video that answers one of the following questions: What are the most important life lessons that you have learned from a grandparent or other senior in your life? How will you use the lessons learned from them in your future career in working with seniors? If students choose to enter a video, it must be two to three minutes long. The video must include an interview with a senior citizen or a story about an important senior citizen in the student’s life.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) offers various scholarships. One of those scholarships is the Ann E. Buman scholarship, which is for students that were residents of Nebraska, particularly Pawnee County. This is a need based scholarship for any year in college and for those taking online courses. Students must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).
The Douglas L. Conley fellowship was created by his family to provide assistance to students taking online studies in the field of health and physical fitness. Students must be in a kinesiology program at the masters or doctoral level. The student must also be researching how the physiology of exercise is related to running long distances. To apply students must write an essay about their research abstract and include how their research is related to exercise and physical activity.
Bemidji State University Distance Learning Scholarships
Bemidji State University has five distance learning scholarships for students currently enrolled in any of the college’s degree programs. The application window begins in November and ends February 1 each year. Scholarship recipients are notified by March 15 if they are selected. Each online degree scholarship is valued at $1,000 with the exception of the Niganawenimaanaanig Program Grant which awards $2,000 plus. The Niganawenimaanaanig Program Grant is available exclusively to American Indian nursing students. The Edward Gersich Distance Education Scholarship is given to students in any distance learning degree program. The Michael McKinley Distance Learning Scholarship and the Northern Minnesota Distance Learning Professional Scholarship is open to business students while the Gladys McKinley Distance Learning Scholarship is for those who are pursuing teaching degrees.
Bemidji State University is located in Minnesota with students able to access virtual courses worldwide. Undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are all offered through the accredited university. Popular majors include Accounting, Criminal Justice, Marketing, Psychology, and Technology Manager. Hybrid programs are also made available as a way to reduce the number of on-campus visits required for degree completion.
Through celebrity partnerships, Berklee has online music scholarships for students enrolled in the school’s non-degree undergraduate certificate program. After successfully completing at least one course from Berklee, students are qualified to apply. Additional requirements include a 3.7 GPA and instructor recommendation. Each term a total of 16 scholarships are given out to online students. Each scholarship is valued at $1,500 and is used towards online course tuition. Undergraduate and graduate degree seekers are not able to apply. The scholarship application period is between weeks one and five during each online term.
Berklee Online is the virtual campus of the Berklee College of Music. The online college has both certificate programs and degree options for e-learning students. Award-winning faculty leads the virtual courses with each term lasting approximately 12 weeks. Top musicians and producers make up the Berklee student body. Online students are located internationally—hailing from more than 140 countries worldwide.
Brentwood Open Learning College - BOLC Distance Learning Scholarships
BOLC Distance Learning Scholarships offered through Brentwood Open Learning College are designed to help cover the cost of tuition to enable more affordable higher education for students around the world. Scholarship amounts vary by student and cover up to 80% of the cost of courses in which the students are enrolled. To qualify for these scholarships, students must possess English language skills, be at least 16 years of age, and be passionate about obtaining the education necessary to foster future career success. The scholarship committee evaluates students both on their academic background to-date as well as future potential.
Brentwood Open Learning College, based in the United Kingdom, is a leader in distance education. The college offers many different open college courses for first-time students as well as more experienced professionals to obtain the knowledge necessary to begin or further their careers. Through accredited courses, BOLC aims to provide the best education possible for students around the world to become leaders in their chosen field.
Bright Futures Scholarship
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship offers distance learning scholarships to Florida students studying for a career in early childhood education. There are 2 deadlines to keep in mind. The Early Evaluation timeline for these scholarships requires the submission of test scores by the end of January. Eligibility is disclosed to students beginning the following March. Final transcripts are submitted upon high school graduation; with scholarship notifications from the Florida Department of Education issued in July. Eligibility is contingent upon the student completing high school in Florida, a preset GPA, and student’s involvement in community service.
The Bright Futures Scholarship is dedicated to early childhood development educators. The scholarship is offered by Bright Horizons — an organization that aligns with the principles of respect, honesty, teamwork, and accountability. Bright Horizons has been recognized as a top place to work by the Boston Globe and Fortune Magazine.
College Greenlight (through the Cappex digital platform) offers a variety of distance learning scholarships that include online masters scholarships and online PhD scholarships. The various scholarships include merit-based and local scholarships. Students who choose to use College Greenlight will find the resources needed to find the right college to fit their needs. The scholarships offered have varying deadlines and values. College Greenlight’s platform includes advice and guidance for parents as well.
College Greenlight is an organization created to help eligible students find scholarships for underrepresented students and to offer mentoring services to students who are the vying to be the first person in their family to attend an institution of higher learning. College Greenlight’s mission is to assist students as they begin to consider the college or university of their choice. Take advantage of the Fly-In program — which helps potential students visit campuses around the country – with the help of colleges who choose to participate in the funding of the project.
College Raptor Scholarship
College Raptor Scholarship offers online masters scholarships, or a scholarship to a student enrolled in an accredited post secondary school. Students must be 16 years of age to apply. College Raptor awards one $2,500 and on $1,000 scholarship no later than June. Students must be US legal residents or citizens. Students must register online and submit a response to one of the topics. College Raptor sends the check directly to the school and not the student.
College Raptor believes that students should be able to attend college without the cost preventing anyone from attending school. They match students to the appropriate school, and scholarship. They have free search features available on their website.
Columbia Southern University - Knight Scholarship
The Knight Scholarship, offered through Columbia Southern University, is offered to prospective students at that higher learning institution enrolling in online studies. Applicants may not already be enrolled in classes at CSU but rather be a prospective applicant. Applicants must submit their high school transcript or GED and should be prepared to begin their studies within 90 days of earning the Knight Scholarship. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA as an undergrad of 3.0 as a graduate. One recipient is awarded annually. Applications are accepted annually between April 3 and June 5th. Distance learning scholarship funds are designed to cover up to 60 hours of education of $13,500, covering tuition for at least 3 years or until the student completes their degree program.
The Knight Scholarship, named for the university mascot, is designed to draw prospective students to Columbia Southern University. The university specializes in degrees earned through online education and is run from its Orange Beach, Alabama headquarters. As a for-profit leader in online education, Columbia Southern University endows the Knight Scholarship as well as other financial aid opportunities in order to draw the best and brightest students to earn their degrees through the institution.
Colorado State University- Global Campus has many online degree scholarship programs to offer students. CSU- Global has a mission of helping students reach their goals by providing help with tuition. They offer various scholarships every trimester for students enrolled in an online institution. One is an academic excellence scholarship to those who maintain a 3.70 GPA. Another scholarship is an alumni continuing education for those who already have a bachelor’s degree from CSU- Global and are getting a graduate degree at CSU- Global. The Boundless Opportunity On The Horizon scholarship is for those who are almost finished with their degree but may not be able to for financial reasons.
They also offer a Career Enhancement scholarship is for students who want to get an advanced degree in their field. The Diversity Advocate scholarship is for students that are currently leaders in their community. The Degree Completion scholarship is for students who have an associate’s degree and now want to earn a bachelor’s degree. CSU- Global also offers a scholarship to US Military personnel and their families.
Digital Responsibility Organization
Digital Responsibility Organization offers online PhD scholarships, along with others with their several digital responsibility scholarships in several areas. Each awardee receives $1,000 to high school, college and graduate students. The E-Waste scholarship is for those who wish to help others comprehend the impact of waste and what can be done in the world to reduce waste. The Digital Privacy scholarship is for those who want to help others understand why all need to be safe with everything you post online. The Don’t Text and Drive scholarship is for those who want to share the risks of texting and driving. The Technology Addiction Awareness scholarship is for those who want to help others understand that too much screen time has negative ramifications.
Students must be a student in high school, college or graduate school student of any level. Home schooled students are also eligible. Students must be US citizen or legal resident. They must fill out the application plus a 140 character message about their selected topic, which must be one of the four mentioned above. There will be 10 applications selected. Those 10 write a 500 to 1,000 word essay about the same topic.
FirstGEN Fellows’ scholarship program awards eligible students interested in becoming the future’s social justice leaders. Each year, in the month of March, the FirstGEN Fellows scholarship program selects six eligible candidates to take part in a ten-week summer internship and advocacy-training program in and around the Washington, DC area. These online student scholarships provide each student a stipend equal to $1,500, to use during their 2-½ month internship in social justice.
FirstGEN Fellows are social justice leaders. Its mission is to remove the obstacles and set up a viable path for undergraduate students who are the first in the family to attend a university. The FirstGEN Fellowship consists of several partner organizations that include the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the office of the National Immigration Law Center, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
The FIU Online Corporate Education Initiative Scholarship awards students who are enrolling into Florida International University for the first time. FIU’s scholarship initiative is classified as an academic merit scholarship and is thus offered to online students who meet the strict academic requirements. The scholarship is awarded in May each year (with a submission deadline in April) and the value of the scholarship varies based upon the program selected. Scholarship recipients are required to maintain a continuous full-time status.
FIU Online Corporate Education Initiative Scholarship sponsors an online degree scholarship to employees of participating corporations and organizations. The program operates from the contributions from seventeen donors that include Bank of America, the Miami Bayside Foundation, and Coral Gables Hospital, among others.
Get Educated Online College Scholarship
Every year in October and March, the Get Educated Online College Scholarship Fund offers online student scholarships. This fund offers $1,000 in distance learning scholarships to a student who attends an accredited online degree program based in the US. The student can choose any school in which to attend, providing it is online. Students must be US citizens with a GPA of 3.0. They must also be enrolled at an accredited university in the US. Students must write an essay about what getting an online degree in college means to them and it must be 500 words.
GetEducated.com funds this program for financial aid. Their mission is to reduce the price students pay for colleges online. They award the scholarship based on financial need and merit. They don’t limit the school in which the student can select. The only requirements are that it’s an accredited online program. Previous winners have gone to Troy University Ecampus, University of Wisconsin Platteville, and Dakota State University Online.
GIA offers dozens of scholarships to students in the United States who pursue degrees in the field of gemology and jewelry design. The majority of awards are distance learning scholarships through approved e-learning GIA campuses. Additional requirements may be imposed by scholarship sponsors. For instance, the GIA Scholarship Fund for U.S. Veterans is $3,000 with applicants asked to show proof of military service. Another award, the Golden Gate Chapter Alumni Association provides a $1,500 online degree scholarship to individuals who reside in the Golden Gate area. Award amounts for other scholarships from GIA range from $750 to full tuition. Application deadlines are September 30 for scholarship money used the following calendar year and March 31 for scholarships used the second half of current year.
The GIA was established in 1931 and remains the foremost expert on gems. The nonprofit organization offers educational opportunities to help launch lucrative careers in the jewelry industry. The GIA also researches gems around the world to better understand the stones. GIA is a consumer-centric organization that provides unbiased grading and analysis of gemstones to protect quality standards. GIA sponsors a number of educational programs including Graduate Gemologist, Graduate Jeweler, and Jewelry Design.
Hispanic Scholarship Consortium - HSC Scholars Program
The Hispanic Scholarship Consortium offers students of Hispanic/Latino heritage a chance at the HSC Scholars Program — a renewable online degree scholarship for students residing in the state of Texas. Renewal scholarships Experts in the student’s field of study mentor the highly motivated recipients of this scholarship. The deadline for the submission of HSC Scholars applications runs from January 14th through the end of April each year. Recipients of the scholarship must plan to enroll in a US-based college, on a part-time or full-time basis.
The Hispanic Scholarship Consortium’s mission is to strategically provide central Texas students a network of support professionals in place to guide Hispanic/Latino students to become workforce leaders. The HSC began more than a decade ago and continues to grow and influence the Hispanic community in and around Austin. Its services now include training programs through workshops and outreach programs.
K-State Global Campus Scholarships
Each year, Kansas State University has increased the number of online student scholarships. The university has exclusive scholarships for students enrolled in the K-State Global Campus. At any given time, the college has upwards of 10 scholarships for e-learners. The average award amount is $1,000, but varies based on degree program. To apply, most students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. For merit awards like the K-State Global Campus Dean’s Merit, a 3.5 GPA is needed. Financial need is also evaluated for scholarships like the K-State Global Campus Award. To demonstrate financial need, FAFSA documents must be submitted. The fall scholarship application period is from April 15 to June 1 while the spring scholarship application period is from September 15 to November 1. Summer term scholarships must be applied to by April 1.
Kansas State University uses different types of course delivery methods to offer online degree programs. K-State Global Campus students complete classes through video streams, listservs, message boards, and more. Graduates of the degree programs are provided the same degree as on-campus students. Academic advisors are assigned to distance learners to design course completion maps.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation - Moody Research Grant
Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation offers the Moody Research Grant, which students can use for theses, senior papers, publications, and dissertations. A limited number of grants ranging from $600 to $3,000 can be used for living and travel expenses while participating in online research. Grants are awarded for the fall and spring semesters. The deadline for fall is March and the deadline for spring is September. A special committee of faculty is assembled by the President of the University of Texas. In the application, students must be clear in how the archives at the LBJ Library will benefit from the research.
The student must not use the grant for anything political. The award must be used within the award period. The LBJ Foundation must receive a copy of the results of the research. Students must provide background, contact information, and a resume, along with references. Students must provide the title, description, methods, and scope of the project.
Moody Bible Institute - Timothy Scholarship
The Timothy Scholarship at the Moody Bible Institute is offered to enable deserving students in their pursuit of seminary education. The scholarship coordinates three entities to cover the full cost of tuition for students. The first third of the tuition is paid by the home church of the student, the second third by Moody and the final third by the student himself. To qualify, students must show academic progress per school standards and obtain their church’s commitment to contribute their third. Applications are due on July 15th for fall studies and December 1st for spring studies.
Moody Bible Institute has been educating students in Christianity since 1886 and is a well-renowned institution throughout its headquarters in Chicago. The school offers a variety of programs, including undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs spanning various Biblical studies including preparations to become missionaries as well as studies in sacred music. Further, Moody offers a Master of Divinity Degree as well as other masters in Biblical Studies and Counseling. The Timothy Scholarship enables students to use their education to become leaders in Christian Churches.
Music Publishers Association of the United States - Copyright Awareness Scholarship
The Music Publishers Association of the United States (MPA) Copyright Awareness Scholarship offers a $5,000 scholarship for students who are interested in helping their peers with videos about copyright and intellectual property laws. Students must be legal residents of the US and between the ages of 13 and 25. There are 3 scholarships awarded and the deadline for applying is in May. Students must submit a video that shows their views on why Intellectual Property and Copyright Law is important. The video quality is a major criteria for selection.
Music Publishers Association of the United States (MPA) has a mission of providing educational resources to students, publishers, and performers. They believe in advocating that students should make their voices heard within the industry. They want to create a community where publishers can share and discuss their ideas.
Nitro Scholarship Sweepstakes
A monthly sweepstakes program, the Nitro Scholarship is given out randomly throughout the year. Each winner receives $2,000 towards his or her educational costs. For eligibility, entrants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university or be a senior in high school. Both parents and students may enter the contest. The current deadline is the last day of the month.
Nitro is a free online source of financial information about college geared toward both students and their parents. The portal has lender information and tools to compare rates between financial institutions. Each lender is vetted before appearing on the Nitro website to ensure students’ financial security. Undergraduate through online PhD scholarships are available to search on the Nitro website.
Oregon State University Ecampus Grant
The Oregon State University ECampus Grant is a $1,000 maximum online degree scholarship award. The award is a needs-based grant with monies given out on a first-come basis. Any scholarship money awarded must be put toward ECampus tuition charges. Applications must be submitted by June 15 for scholarship consideration.
U.S. News & World Report has rated Oregon State University as having the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs. The virtual campus has an extensive course catalog with over 100 subjects available to study. A perk of being an online student enrolled in Oregon State University is that virtual learners are never charged non-resident tuition rates, regardless of their locations.
Penn State World Campus Scholarships
Penn State has a number of online student scholarships for World Campus enrollees. For consideration to receive any of the distance learning scholarships, students must be current undergraduates at the Penn State World Campus and enrolled in a degree program. The scholarship deadline is in March each year with award amounts varying annually. For the World Campus Student Fund, applicants must have a minimum 3.2 GPA, 24 credit hours completed, and demonstrate a financial need.
Penn State World Campus is part of the Pennsylvania State University System. The online college has undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can be accessed through the university’s virtual portal. The degree received after completion of the program is the same type received by traditional learners. Faculty advisors are made available to help students plan their course loads and determine ways to pay for college.
Rio Salado College's Incarcerated Re-entry (IRE) program
Rio Salado College’s Incarcerated Re-Entry (IRE) program is designed to support a drastically underserved population, incarcerated prisons, to learn important skills and earn certificates and degrees that enable them to pursue gainful, meaningful employment once released. Although students can enroll in Rio Salado College’s IRE program and self-pay, the school offers scholarships in understanding that many incarcerated students may not have the financial ability to pay for classes personally. The qualify, students must be incarcerated in Arizona and have not earned a previous degree. The scholarship offers varying level of financial support that covers tuition, course materials, textbooks and other school fees and covers at least one 3-credit course. Students can continue to qualify for additional support when academic standards are met. Applications are accepted year round.
Rio Salado College is located in Tempe, Arizona and accredited to offer degree and certificate classes on campus and online. The school is one of Maricopa County’s 10 community colleges. While the school offers the majority of their courses online, it also offers several campuses in Arizona. Rio Salado has worked with the Arizona Department of Corrections since 1983 to enable educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals and how important those opportunities are to cut the rate of recidivism while enables successful employability upon release.
Sallie Mae offers a chance to win $1,000 scholarship on a monthly basis. If a student registers for to utilize their free college planning and searching tools, that students also enters a chance to win the monthly scholarship. There is no purchase needed to win the scholarship, just creating an account with Sallie Mae. In addition to the potential $1,000, Sallie Mae allows students to search for other scholarships, other means of financial aid, and student loan options.
Sallie Mae believes in education and making it accessible to everyone. They think the cost should not stand in the way of someone getting an education. They teach families how to responsibly borrow for college. They also offer reasonable private loans to cover what scholarships and financial aid don’t cover.
Saltchuk Resources Hawai‘i - Scholarship Fund
The Saltchuk Resources Hawai’i Scholarship Fund supports students who are attend the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and are enrolled in the Distance Learning EMBA program. The scholarship is sponsored by local businesses including the Young Brothers, Hawaii Petroleum, Mint Stop, Hawaiian Tug & Barge, Aloha Air Cargo and Saltchuck who are Hawai’i residents and live on either Maui, Moloka’i Lana’i, Kaua’i or Hawai’I to foster future leaders of business. The annual scholarship, for which applications are due on February 1st annually, offers varying levels of financial support.
Saltchuk, the overarching organization over a variety of local companies, offers transportation and distribution services throughout both North America and the Caribbean. Although based in Seattle, Washington, Saltchuk conducts significant business through various organizations in Hawai’i and supports the development of local leaders who can contribute productively to local markets. Each year, the company provides $150,000 to support students in the EMBA program.
SIU Extended Campus Scholarships
Southern Illinois University offers scholarships through its Extended Campus that serves students both through offsite education and distance campuses that serve military bases. To qualify for Extended Campus Scholarships, SIU requires that students enroll in at least 6 credit hours, have completed the FAFSA each year of their education, and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better. The scholarship deadline is March 31. Students can earn a $250 award and must be studying on an offsite basis but not online or at one of the main campuses.
Southern Illinois University strives to provide comprehensive college studies that are accessible to the largest population of prospective students possible. The school is a public research university located in Carbondale, Illinois, that serves more than 13,000 on campus and around the world. Students at SIU represents more than 100 countries and have the opportunity to access more than 200 undergrad and grad programs. Through funds raised and held by the university’s endowment arm, SIU supports those who are studying through non-traditional means or while service on active duty in the military.
Society for Human Resource Management Foundation Scholarships (SHRM)
Society for Human Resource Management Foundation Scholarships (SHRM) offers a $2,500 scholarship for students enrolled in a Human Relations degree program. They offer 21 scholarships in October. The deadline for applying is in August. Students must be a current member of SHRM and maintain a 3.0 GPA. They must be currently enrolled at a regionally accredited university or college. To apply, students must fill out short answer questions about themselves, including financial need, volunteer work, work experience, and career goals. They must provide a current resume, their transcripts, and one letter of recommendation.
SHRM is an organization focused on charity and human value. They work to encourage change in the workplace and the people who work there. In addition to scholarships, they provide solutions to inclusion challenges based on strong and accurate research. They want to develop human resource professionals and give them opportunities to become stronger leaders in the field and in their community.
Study[dot]com -- Undergraduate Distance Learning Degrees Academic Scholarships
Study[dot]com offers a $500 scholarship for those interested in receiving a Bachelor or Associate degree from an online program. Students must apply by April. They award one scholarship per year. While all degree programs are considered, some of the degree program of interest are Associates of Electrical Engineering, Associates of Health Technology, or Associates of Accounting, Bachelor of Nursing, and Bachelor in Organizational Pychology. Selection is not based on financial need. It is based on academics and outside activities. Students must be a citizen or permanent resident of the US and currently enrolled in an accredited institution. Students must have at least 30 semester hours left for completion.
Study.com is a professional educational organization that enables students at all levels of education access to test prep, grade improvement and study resources throughout the length of the educational career. The school produces video and written learning resources and also produces a comprehensive look at degree programs from universities throughout the country for students looking to pursue additional education. As a comprehensive repository of online learning opportunities, Study.com further espouses online education through its distance learning scholarship program.
SUNY Empire Online - Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship
SUNY Empire Online, an arm of SUNY Empire State College, offers the Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship annually, covering the entire cost of tuition, fees and services for up to two classes taken during each term. The scholarship automatically renews for students who meet high academic standards. This funding is available to union members and their families who have decided upon online to open future career opportunities. Scholarship application deadlines are rolling and students who qualify are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after gaining enrollment.
Morton Bahr has been a long-time leader in the labor movement who has consistently supported the need for educational opportunities for union workers. Bahr is a graduate of Empire State College and has long been a proponent of tech and info industries as they relate to labor issues and causes. Recognizing the need for online learning degrees whose flexibility enables workers to remain in their career while studying, SUNY Empire Online sponsors the Bahr Scholarship to open opportunities for learning union members may not be able to otherwise pursue.
SUNY Potsdam -- Thomas L. and Jane D. Russell Distance Education Scholarship
The Thomas L. and Jane D. Russell Distance Education Scholarship is sponsored by SUNY Potsdam. Thomas, a graduate of SUNY Potsdam, created the scholarship endowment fund in support of students furthering their education through online learning opportunities. Although students in all degree areas may apply, preference is given to those enrolled in the Crane School of Music. The scholarship is worth $1000 annually and is available for renewal if students maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students must have already completed at least one online course and be currently registered for at least one distance course. Financial need must also be demonstrated. Application deadlines are decided annually.
The Russell Scholarship carries the mission of encouraging students at SUNY Potsdam to enroll in distance education courses as a way of experiencing a broader educational structure. The Scholarship was also founded and funded to encourage SUNY Potsdam to offer additional distance education opportunities, specifically through the Crane School of Music. By doing so, both students and the university are able to accomplish wider goals.
Tarrant County College
In recognition of National Distance Learning Week, Tarrant County College sponsors the TCC Connect Campus Scholarship Essay Contest. Essay contest scholarship winners are awarded $300 for 1st place, $200 for 2nd place and $100 for 3rd place. Students are eligible if they are enrolled in 1 or more TCC eLearning classes or Weekend College courses in the fall term. Students are asked to write as essay based on a supplied prompt but encouraged to tackle that prompt in their own unique way. Contest participants are evaluated by academic affairs staff. The essay must be between 300 and 350 words. Deadline dates are announced annually during the fall term.
Tarrant County College is a system of community college in-person and online campuses that enable students to complete their associate’s degree, begin studies that they will later transfer to a bachelor’s program at a 4-year university, or obtain various professional certifications or continuing education units. With campuses located in and around Fort Worth, Texas, TCC stands as an affordable institution that enables students from differing financial and educational backgrounds to successfully pursue courses that will enable their future career prospects.
Texas A&M University - Regents' Scholars Program
Texas A&M University, through their Regents’ Scholars Program, offers about 900 hundred students the opportunity to be awarded a renewal scholarship of $5,000 each year. These scholarships run for up to 4 years, while the student attends Texas A&M University. Candidates must submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Mid-March. Eligible students must be first generation learners; students who are the first in their family to attend an institution of higher learning. Recipients of the scholarship must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours each year for the first three years.
Texas A&M University offers a variety of online degree scholarships based upon financial need, academic merit, and participation in community leadership. Scholarships are available from the university, other departments or programs. Those awarded a Regents’ Scholarship must maintain the criteria denoted by the Texas A&M’s Satisfactory Academic Progress program. It is noted that the Regents’ Scholars Program scholarships are awarded based upon a first-come, first-serve basis.
TheBestSchools.org offers 6 yearly $1000 scholarships to students who are enrolled in an accredited online higher education program. Three scholarships are available in both fall and spring. The fall semester scholarship application deadline is July 31 while the spring deadline is November 30. This scholarship program covers both full- and part-time students who can apply the scholarship to the school of their choice. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are already enrolled in an online program and have a 3.0 GPA or higher. If students meet all criteria, their names are entered into a pool from which scholarship recipients are then chosen on a random basis.
TheBestSchools.org provides information and comparison information to students who are research educational institutions. The organization seeks to enable future students to make the best decisions possible as they seek out degree programs designed to enable their future career. The site also offers a variety of other resources designed to help both prospective and current students. As an online platform, TheBestSchools.org gives back to the broader educational community through the award of these annual scholarships.
TMCF | Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship Program
The Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship Program, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) offers current exceptional students an opportunity to mentor incoming freshman. These mentorship scholarships are awarded each year to students based upon student-need and student-merit. This $6,200.00 ($3,100 for two semesters) scholarship provides student mentors an opportunity to reduce tuition costs by guiding a student unfamiliar with the school.
The First-Generation Scholarship Program has joined with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund — the largest educational organization in the world dedicated to the representation of the black college community. The Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship Program is open to high school seniors who intend to apply to one of the nearly 50 member schools in the TMCF network, and are the first in their families to attend college.
Unigo - Education Matters Scholarship
The Education Matters Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship award presented annually to essay contest winners. To qualify, the student must be at least 13 years old and be a legal resident of the United States. For the 2019 award, the winner must be enrolled in a post-secondary institution by the fall of 2025. As long as the college is accredited, this is an acceptable online degree scholarship option. The essay question topic is: “What would you say to someone who thinks education doesn’t matter, or that college is a waste of time and money?” The response must be 250 words or fewer. The application deadline is in November with winners notified in February.
Unigo is an online portal to help college students make the right decisions about their education. Unigo has a thriving database of useful articles about going to college and paying for college alongside a comprehensive scholarship directory. To date, Unigo has presented over $500,000 in both traditional and distance learning scholarships. The Oregon-based company regularly updates their directories to include the latest scholarship opportunities and college reviews.
University of Alabama - College of Continuing Studies Scholarships
The University of Alabama offers several scholarships through the College of Continuing Studies for undergraduate and graduate students in distance learning programs. Scholarship applications are accepted between March 1st and December 1st of each year. Students may apply for all online masters scholarships, online PHD scholarships and online bachelor scholarships through a single application. The Mary Lois and H. Harrison Parrish Endowed Scholarship is available for undergrad nursing students who are enrolled in one or more online education courses and requires a demonstration of financial need and Alabama residency. The Jerry F. Wilson Sr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship is available for students over 25 years of age pursuing a degree through online education. Many additional distance learning scholarships are available to students in specific demographics or degree programs.
The University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies was founded in 1919 and is specifically dedicated to supplying educational programs the largest population of potential students. The CCS specifically seeks to enroll students who are non-traditional or who fulfill other underserved demographics in their quest to complete their education at various levels. Through the robust catalog of scholarships available, many students gain the opportunity to engage in studies that can lead to successful future careers.
University of Alaska - eCampus Tuition Award
The University of Alaska eCampus Tuition Award enables students to continue their education through eCampus courses. The $500 annual award which has a rolling deadline is offered to undergraduates and can be applied to tuition only, not other costs of fees. Students cannot currently be receiving scholarship support from other university tuition awards but may receive other grants or scholarships. Online student scholarships can be applied to any of hundreds of courses. To qualify, students must already be admitted to a University of Alaska program, have a 3.0 GPA, have filed FAFSA paperwork and enrolled in an online course.
The University of Alaska’s eCampus enables students to enroll in online courses in other to begin, continue or complete their degree but are unable to take in-person classes. This fosters the ability of students to engage in educational pursuits that may not be possible otherwise. The University of Alaska, which has 3 campuses in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, is uniquely designed to serve more remote communities across Alaska through small satellite campuses as well as community colleges.
University of Arizona - Michael Pate Optical Sciences Memorial Scholarship
The Michael Pate Optical Sciences Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of optical engineer Michael Pate’s passion for teaching and learning. One scholarship is awarded yearly through the University of Arizona and for students enrolled in the College of Optical Sciences. The $1000 scholarship can endow the education of either undergraduate or graduate students who have a 3.5 GPA or higher. Applicants must demonstrate extracurricular involvement, leadership experience and academic work that has been recognized by an outside organization or responsibilities to families or as a parent while continuing studies. The deadline for applications is June 30th.
Michael Pate, a recognized leader in optical sciences, passed away after a battle with cancer in 2010. Pate graduated with a masters from the University of Arizona in 2001 and went on to work as an entrepreneur, teacher and optical engineer before cancer ended his career. The scholarship is funded by Pate’s family and friends and continues yearly to raise funds in order to continue enabling students to continue their studies in this career field.
University of Colorado-Boulder
The First Generation Grant sponsored by the University of Colorado Boulder Campus is available for undergraduates who are Colorado residents who are the first generation to attend a higher education institution. Students are automatically evaluated through their college application for this grant. This scholarship program offers two awards. The first is for incoming freshman or transfer students. These students can receive a grant up to $2000 if they live off campus or $4000 if they live on campus. The second award is for students who have already began their students and have already earned a grant in prior academic years and is offered up to $2000. To qualify, students must complete a FAFSA and financial need. Scholarships are awarded until funds are depleted each academic year. Non-freshman students renewing their grant application must meet academic standards. The grant can cover up to 10 semesters.
The University of Colorado-Boulder is a part of the overall University of Chicago system that maintains four campuses. The Boulder campus is the system’s flagship institution and has more than 33,000 students in 150 learning fields. The college primarily serves students through on-campus education but also maintains a distance learning program through the Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education. The school funds the First Generation Grant to enable the studies of students whose parents never had the opportunity for higher education and who might not be able to financially cover the cost of a college degree.
University of Edinburgh in United Kingdom -- Edinburgh Global Online Distance Learning Scholarships
The University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom through the Edinburgh Global Online Distance Learning program offers several online masters scholarships that include a full tuition waiver for any online masters program offered by the University of Edinburgh. To be eligible for the scholarship, the student applying must have already been accepted into the university. Students must apply before June 1st. The scholarship value varies by selected masters program and is only available to those students residing in a country denoted on the school’s specific list of eligible countries.
The Edinburgh Global Online Distance Learning scholarship for graduate studies is awarded on the basis of academic excellence. Students must be working towards, or possess a United Kingdom class or 2:1 Honors degree achieved at the undergraduate level. The 2:1 Honors degree is a British classification of undergraduate studies and is the 2nd highest degree category awarded.
University of London - Distance Learning
The University of London — Distance Learning offers postgraduate scholarships for residents (with refugee status) from South Africa, as well as its many neighboring countries. In its nearly 40 year history, the Canon Collins Trust scholarship has provided more than 3,400 scholars with tuition waivers; with another one hundred scholars pursuing their educational objectives right now. The LLM scholarship, which funds each January, is offered to those who qualify. The scholarship program offers a full tuition waiver of postgraduate certificates or postgraduate diplomas/online masters scholarships.
The Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust focuses its efforts in the fields of Human Rights and Education. Its mission is to build a community of change for those in southern Africa — Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and South Africa. The Canon Collins Trust offers accessibility to higher education in the form of grants, funding, and scholarships. Its ethos is to provide a platform where research and cooperative activism combine to effect change.
University of Michigan-Flint - Ralph M. and Emmalyn E. Freeman Distance Learning Scholarship
The Ralph M. and Emmalyn E. Freeman Distance Learning Scholarship is offered by the University of Michigan Flint campus. To qualify for this online degree scholarship, students must have already completed 25 credit hours, earning a 3.5 GPA at a minimum. This scholarship supports students enrolled in undergraduate courses that are offered for distance learners. The application process is open yearly between December 1 and the following February 15th. The award amount varies by student.
The Freeman Scholarships are endowed by the estate of deceased federal judge Ralph M. Freeman and Emmalyn Ellis Freeman, his wife. The Freeman Scholarships are offered exclusively through the University of Michigan, Flint Campus to enable the studies of students in non-traditional online education programs. This endowment also supports many other scholarship funds at the same university to support students in a variety of programs.
University of the People - Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund
The University of the People, through their Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund, offers an online degree scholarship that covers the exam and assessment fees required when applying to The University of the People. This scholarship’s value varies; however, students must apply before the February deadline. The Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund, financed by the Olympic champion and gymnast — Simone Biles, chooses to provide priority to applicants who have been involved in the foster care system during their childhood.
The University of the People offers tuition-free education courses. The school waives the cost of enrollment fees and course materials, in addition to its renowned tuition-free coursework. The University of the People is on a mission to support an education revolution throughout the world. The various University of the People scholarships are provided through the generosity of donors throughout the world.
University of Toledo - Transfer Scholarships - UT Achievement Award
The UT Achievement Award offered by the University of Toledo is designed to enable students at other institutions to transfer to UT seamlessly by making future studies more affordable. The award is designed for students transferring at least 12 credit hours. The amount of the award varies by the GPA the student has earned at the other institution, ranging from $1000 for GPAs from 2.75 to 2.99 to $4000 for GPAs at or above 3.75. The scholarship is renewable annually. Students transferring to UT are evaluated for this scholarship automatically once all admissions paperwork is completed, including transcripts and test scores.
The University of Toledo is a public research university in Ohio and was founded in 1872. UT maintains a student body numbering over 20,000 and is located on a large campus with more than 100 buildings and 300 student organizations. The school endows a number of scholarships to appeal to students entering as graduates, undergraduates or transfer learners who might not otherwise have the financial resources to being or continue their academic studies. The UT Achievement Award recognizes standout students who began their education elsewhere but wish to graduate from UT.
University of Wisconsin-Platteville Distance Education - Ruth Miller Distance Education Challenge scholarship
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Distance Education program offers the Ruth Miller Distance Education Challenge Scholarship to online students enrolled in the Business Administration program in order to earn a Bachelor of Science degree. The online student scholarships specifically help students who have already earned and transferred 30 students to the distance education program and who have also completed one or more in-person courses at the Platteville campus. The $750 online degree scholarship requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher and completing a short essay about the factors that may challenge the student’s ability to complete a degree, including financial, employment or family considers. Applications are due on February 1.
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Distance Education program offers both undergrad and grad degrees designed to make education accessible to students in non-traditional education circumstances or who experience other factors that may jeopardize pursuing higher education. The University of Wisconsin is a land-grant and research school that covers many campuses and distance learning programs while enrolling more than 174,000 annually. The school seeks to serve underserved populations and other students with educational challenges that may preclude traditional education.
University of Wyoming - Edelweiss Non-Traditional Student Fund
The University of Wyoming’s Edelweiss Non-Traditional Student Fund is available to female Wyoming residents who will be the first from their families to complete a college degree. The fund financially covers up to 6 years of education or through the completion of the student’s degree. Funding is available to both students who enroll in traditional programs at either the Laramie or Casper campus, as well as those who enroll in distance education. Students must show positive academic abilities and maintain a suitable GPA throughout their education as well as financial need. The annual deadline for fund applications is March 31st and the total award amount is dependent upon length of schooling.
The University of Wyoming is a land-grant university with a population of more than 14,000 students representing 90 countries around the world. Founded in 1886, the university came into existence even before the territory was admitted to the union as a state. The university not only serves students through multiple campuses and colleges but also through distance learning programs that enable educational outreach in Wyoming and throughout the world. The university offers several financial assistance funds to enable underserved demographics to pursue higher education, as the Edelweiss fund supports first generation female college students.
Walden University Scholarships
Walden University, an institution that enables students to pursue higher education through distance learning, offers several scholarships on an annual basis. Twenty online masters scholarships in the amount of $10,000 are offered annually to incoming master’s students who have previously accomplished social change initiatives within their communities and can be applied to any master’s program. An additional 20 post-master’s or online PhD scholarships are offered to incoming students and have also accomplished positive social change. Educators who are interested in furthering their own education may also be eligible for the Teacher of the Year Recipient Scholarship which covers full tuition in any of the schools College of Education programs. Additional profession-based scholarships are offered in the Public Health and Nursing fields. Scholarship deadline dates are determined and announced annually.
Walden University is an online-only for-profit university based in Minnesota. The school offers many different bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. The school was founded in 1970 to offer distance education for working professionals looking to earn advanced degrees through non-traditional or distance learning offerings. The school’s scholarship endowment strives to recognize students who are already leaders in their career field or have already enjoyed academic success and are seeking to advance their education.
Western Governors University - Invest in Yourself Scholarship, Leaders in Nonprofit Scholarship, and University Smart Choice Scholarship
Through donor programs, Western Governors University has an extensive list of college scholarship programs including online masters scholarships. Highlights of their offerings include the Invest in Yourself Scholarship, Leaders in Nonprofit Scholarship, and University Smart Choice Scholarship. For instance, the Leaders in Nonprofit Scholarship is a $2,000 award for undergraduate and masters students working in the nonprofit sector. Scholarship monies for other grants range from $2,000 to $5,000. Scholarships have rolling application deadlines with online applications accepted up to 90 days before a student’s intended start date. For consideration, applicants must have provisional acceptance to Western Governors University.
Western Governors University has distance learning scholarships as a way to offer affordable learning options to undergraduate and graduate degree seekers. The accredited online college has over 60 majors with classes starting the 1st of each month. Courses are completed on a flexible timeframe with sessions offered year-round.
Western Illinois University - WIU Foundation’s Scholarship Program
The scholarship office of Western Illinois University has designed programs to help both online and on-campus students pay for college. The WIU Foundation’s Scholarship Program is one such scholarship awarded annually and covers four full years of college tuition. There is also the Western Commitment Fund, which automatically awards scholarships based on a students’ ACT and SAT scores and their cumulative GPAs. The scholarship deadline is February 15 for all students with applications available to fill out online.
Western Illinois University is known for small class sizes and flexible degree options including e-learning courses. Popular degree programs include Education, Business, and the Liberal Arts. Integrated programs are also available that allow students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.
Can I Get a Free Online Degree?
It can be done – you can get enough funding from scholarships to get a free online degree. Online degree scholarship programs are not quite as numerous as scholarships for traditional students, but there are a number of programs that offer full tuition online degree scholarships. Besides one-shot full-tuition scholarships, many students will put together distance learning scholarships with grants online students qualify for, or with other financial aid opportunities. If you spread your net wide, applying to many distance learning scholarships and grants online students can get, you can essentially make your degree free.
Are There Distance Learning Scholarships for Higher Degrees?
Online graduate degrees have become extremely common – in fact, more common than bachelor’s degrees. After all, most people earning master’s and doctoral degrees are already professionals working in their field, so an online degree fits their schedules and needs more conveniently. Online master’s scholarships and online PhD scholarships are gradually becoming more common, but scholarships for graduate programs, in general, are less common and more competitive than bachelor’s scholarships.
Financial aid for graduate programs have traditionally been based on work – for instance, tuition waivers for research and teaching assistants. Scholarships specific to graduate degrees have typically been rare, and online master’s scholarships even more so. If you’re looking for online master’s scholarships, some of the programs on the Consensus list apply to online master’s degrees. However, for online PhD scholarships, you will probably need to consult with the program you are applying to. Some online PhD scholarships may be specific to the university. In addition, there are a number of grants online students can apply for that may work for graduate students.
For the first time in history, student loan debt is higher than credit card debt. The average college student in the class of 2015 owes $35,000 in student loans. That’s a lot of debt to be carrying at the beginning of your adult life – and that is certainly an understatement.
Let’s look at the statistics. There are approximately 5.8 million students who are enrolled in online classes which is a 263% increase over the last twelve years. Two-thirds of these students take classes at a public colleges; 75 percent of undergraduates enrolled in online courses are over the age of 25.
This last statistic is worth examining. Seventy-five percent of undergraduates who are enrolled in undergraduate courses are over the age of 25. That means that these students face more financial challenges and have more financial responsibilities than the average straight-out-of-high-school-freshman who is attending a traditional university. These students most likely have the demands of a job, family, or both that make paying for a college education that much more difficult. That is where we come in. This resource was written to help you, the online student, find as much help as possible to pay for your online degree. There are options, and colleges with financial aid are becoming more prevalent.
Can online students receive financial aid?
When online education began in the early ’90s, it was viewed as inferior, and powers that be looked on it with suspicion. The government implemented the 50% rule that required students to take at least half of their classes on campus in order to qualify for federal financial aid. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 was signed into law by President Bush in 2006 and essentially repealed the 50% rule, allowing students to receive federal financial aid while attending online programs. Since then, financial aid for students enrolled in online programs has only increased, and today, the number of colleges with financial aid for online students has grown exponentially.
What financial aid options are there for online students?
Essentially, there are four types of financial aid available to college students, whether online, on-campus, or both. The four sources of financial aid include:
- federal financial aid,
- state and/or local sources of financial aid,
- financial aid from the college,
- and private scholarships.
Let’s further explore these four options.
Federal Financial Aid
Although we must first acknowledge that “financial aid” doesn’t necessarily mean free money, It is money that will help students get through college, hence, it is “aid.”. The first step that must be completed is to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal financial aid is available through the U.S. Department of Education, and each student must apply individually. A financial aid package can include any combination of the following:
- Grants: The most desirable form of financial aid as they don’t have to be repaid, grants are awarded based on financial need. There are four major federal student grant programs:
- Federal Pell Grant,
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG),
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant,
- and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
Students must maintain eligibility requirements in order to keep the grant throughout their college education. In some cases, students who lose grant eligibility will have to repay part or all of the grant.
- Loans: The federal student loan program is referred to as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, and the U.S. Department of Education serves as the lender. There are four types of Direct Loans available:
- Work-Study: Available at schools that participate in the Federal Work-Study Program, this program provides part-time employment to students who have financial need. It is available to both full- and part-time students. Obviously, this may not work for online students as more often than not being on campus is required.
State and Local Financial Aid
This category is diverse, with each state and locality offering their own financial aid packages and options. Nearly every state education agency offers at least one grant or scholarship to its residents, and most states have an extensive list of financial aid programs. Start here to find the options that are available in your state. But don’t stop at the state level. There are often local scholarships, individual to each locality. Check with your high school to see if there are scholarships or financial aid for graduates.
Financial Aid from your college
Once you have been accepted to a particular school and fill out your FAFSA, you will receive some sort of financial aid package. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that many colleges provide scholarships, grants, and other types of tuition assistance to students. Schools offer music, athletic, academic, or other scholarships, for example. If you don’t automatically see scholarships on your financial aid letter, ask! Check with the financial aid officer and see if there are any scholarships, grants, or other opportunities that you can apply for. If you have decided on a major, contact the head of the department and see if there are any scholarships that are for students majoring in that particular field. It never hurts to ask!
The persistent student will find that there are private scholarships everywhere. These are scholarships from religious organizations, private foundations looking to support specific causes, organizations, community groups, professional organizations, and employers. The list goes on and on. Searching for these scholarships takes time and effort, but for those who are willing to work, the payoff is sure to come.
Colleges with financial aid for online students
While sorting out the realm of scholarships and financial aid, there are some colleges that have financial aid and programs specifically for online students. Here are ten top options for colleges with robust online programs and equally admirable financial aid:
- Penn State World Campus is one of the largest online universities in the world and has been a leader in online education from the beginning. They offer scholarship opportunities for both returning and new undergraduate students. Click here for more information.
- Lewis University is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, an international Catholic teaching order. Lewis University is located 35 miles southwest of Chicago. In following the Catholic principles of helping those in need, Lewis has an extensive list of scholarships and financial aid available to their students.
- Bradley University offers online nursing, counseling, and education degrees that are eligible for scholarships and financial aid. The list of scholarships and aid at Bradley is impressive. Explore these options here.
- Colorado State University Global is ready to help online students pay for their degree. As a top college with financial aid, the list of scholarships is extensive, and each one has it’s own individual set of criteria. Peruse the list here.
- Arizona State University offers online students numerous different scholarship options, most of which are for eligible Arizona high school graduates. There are also several scholarships offered through private donors. Additionally, there are scholarships for particular degree programs in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. Learn more about these scholarships here.
- Bemidji State University has an established list of scholarships specifically for BSU distance learners. It should be noted that Bemidji State does not charge out of state tuition, keeping the overall tuition cost at a low price.
- Liberty University is known as a powerhouse in the world of online education. It is no surprise that they offer scholarships and financial aid options for their 95,000 online students. Check out their options here.
- Florida International University offers its online student body a number of different scholarship opportunities. These include, but are not limited to, the Bright Futures Scholarship, the First Generation Scholarship, and programs for academic merit. There are also institution-specific financial aid options.
- Western Governors University is founded on the principle that investing in students is investing in the future. The list of scholarships and financial aid at WGU is extensive and is made possible through gifts from numerous corporations and foundations and the federal government.
- National University offers more than 75 on-campus and online degree programs. It is San Deigo’s largest nonprofit university. They are committed to helping students fund their education. Their list of scholarships and financial aid can be found here.
What are scholarships?
In essence, scholarships are free money. Scholarships are awarded according to varying criteria established by the awarding institution. There are various qualifications and/or merit that must be met to be eligible for the scholarship. Anyone can apply as long as they meet the specific criteria decided on by the organization. Scholarships are available to students across a broad range of income levels, education levels, demographics, personal situations, majors, interests, accomplishments, and ethnicity. There are literally thousands of scholarships available, all you have to do is search. Scholarships are offered through federal funding, university funding, or private sponsors. Scholarships differ from student loans as they do not have to be repaid.
What other scholarships are there for online students?
As previously mentioned, there are a vast number of scholarships available through federal, state, local, and private sources. It just takes some digging. Here are some excellent scholarship opportunities to help you get started:
Soroptomist Live Your Dream Award
The Soroptomist Live Your Dream scholarship is for women who are the primary financial support for their families. These lucky recipients are awarded up to $16,000 to cover the cost of tuition, supplies, and even childcare. Applicants also must have financial need, but it is not limited to U.S. citizens. There are also select Soroptomist International of the Americas’ countries available. For more information, visit Live Your Dream Awards | Scholarships for Women.
Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program
The Fontana Transport Scholars Program is based in Southern California and sponsored by Fontana Transport Inc., a family-owned trucking company. The owners have a passionate desire to help potential leaders earn a higher education degree. Applicants must be first-generation high school seniors, have financial need, and be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program. They also must be studying in the following areas: Transportation Management, Architecture, Math, Pre-Med, Engineering, Environmental Design, Science, Spanish Language/Literature, and Psychology. The scholarship awards up to $5,000. To apply, visit this page.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program
Offering up to $30,000 over the course of four years, the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship program both provides for the financial needs of selected students, as well as provides mentoring and support services. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors, attending an accredited four-year institution, demonstrate leadership potential, show financial need, and not have a college degree. For other requirements as well as the application, please visit this link.
Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation
Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives and gave her life to both civil and women’s rights. She was dedicated to providing educational opportunities for low-income families. The scholarship, in the amount of $5,000, is awarded each year to up to five mothers. The award money may go towards both living and educational expenses. For more information, click here.
Founded on an interesting and innovative idea, Scholarship America was started by an optometrist, Dr. Irving Fradkin. His goal was for everyone in the community to give just one dollar to a scholarship fund. If everyone contributed, then every student in the local community could be able to attend college. Today, Scholarship America is the nation’s largest non-profit, private scholarship organization and has awarded more than $4.2 billion to over 2.5 million students. The scholarships available through Scholarship America are extensive. The best way to find a scholarship to start here and browse through the list. It will take some effort and digging, but it is almost a guarantee that you will uncover at least one opportunity that you qualify for.
Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)
Our servicemen and women who have served in the Armed Forces will find a host of funding and scholarships through the U.S. Department of Defense. Recognizing the need for servicemen to enroll in distance education, there are plenty of funding opportunities for online students. The Military Evaluation Program can also help award college credit for training completed while in the service. If you have served in the Armed Forces, visit this page for more information about college funding.
Undergraduate Scholarship Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds
One of the top scholarships available, this government-funded scholarship is worth looking into. In order to be eligible, students must be in the top five percent of their class. There are income limits, as the scholarship is only available to low-income students. But those who find themselves meeting the criteria won’t be disappointed, it is one of the largest scholarships available, students may receive up to $20,000. To qualify, students must be pursuing a degree that leads to a profession in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will be required to serve as an NIH employee for ten weeks a year.
For more lists of scholarships, check out the following resources:
- Best Education Scholarships
- 20 Scholarships for Students with Learning Disabilities
- Best Counseling and Psychology Scholarships
- Biggest Scholarships for Black and African-American Students
- Best Social Work Scholarships
- Biggest Scholarships for LGBTQ Students
- Biggest College Scholarships
- Best Liberal Arts Scholarships
- Best Law and Criminal Justice Scholarships
- Best Trade School Scholarships
- Best STEM Scholarships
- Best Art and Design Scholarships
- Biggest Scholarships for Women
- Biggest Scholarships for Latino and Hispanic Students
- Best Computer Science Scholarships
- 10 Scholarships for Students on the Autism Spectrum
How can I be chosen for scholarships?
- Start early! Begin your search as soon as possible. Scholarship application deadlines come and go quickly, usually months before the school year begins. Those who wait until the last minute will be left behind. As soon as you make the decision to pursue a college degree, start looking! It is never too early to look into available scholarships and start the application process.
- It’s in the details! We can’t emphasize it enough – follow the instructions! The scholarship application process is set up to show a person’s ability to be professional. If they ask for a personal statement of 1000 words and you fail to submit it, you will most likely be disqualified. If they ask for your resume and a letter of recommendation, be sure to include them. Treat the application process as a test. Follow the directions!
- Be real! Scholarship benefactors most often have a personal reason for offering the scholarship. Scholarships have a backstory, and you may be just who they are looking for. Share yourself and your story. If you have to write an essay, tailor your answers to the specific scholarship, and convince them as to why you are the right fit. Don’t be generic and submit ‘form letter’ essays, you won’t be chosen.
- Check your online profiles! Unfortunately, in today’s age, anyone can learn the good, the bad, and the ugly through an online profile. Our personal lives are out there for anyone to see on the internet. It has become common for scholarship boards to look at a person’s online profile to learn more about who you are. Remember, they are personally invested in the scholarship and want to award the scholarship to someone they see as worthy. Look at your social media profile and think about what it says about you. Make sure your online persona is presentable to a scholarship review board.
- Sell yourself! If there is the option to include letters of recommendation, references, or other resources, capitalize on it. Let others sell you. Their testimony will improve your chance. If there are elements of the application that are suggested, but not required, include them. Scholarship boards want to see that you are willing to go above and beyond. A scholarship application is literally an advertisement for you! Go all out!
How else can I save money while in college?
Look for the most affordable option: Do your research! Compare different online colleges and programs and look for any hidden costs. Zero in on colleges with financial aid, they will offer the best financial options. Be sure to calculate fees and other costs when making your decision. Remember the old adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Don’t borrow more than you need: If using student loans to pay for college, only take what you need. Often, you will qualify for more money than is required for your education. This doesn’t mean that you should take it. Remember, loans have to be paid back eventually. The more debt you have at the end of your college career, the harder it will be to pay it off.
Federal loans are better than private: For students who have to take out loans, apply for federal loans first. They generally have lower interest rates and better benefits. There is also the potential that future legislation will allow borrowers to qualify for student loan forgiveness programs.
Be frugal: Don’t buy new textbooks if you can avoid it. Textbooks can cost several hundred dollars. Look for the required textbook free online, check it out at the library, or buy it used. At the end of your college career, you will have saved several thousand dollars! Look for ways to save on living costs. Get a roommate, make a budget, and stick to it! It is possible to finish college without drowning in debt. It just takes time and effort.