The truth about scholarships for online students is that mostly all scholarships are open and unrestricted, but some are particularly made for online universities. Here’s how to find them.
The demand for online education is increasing and online universities are a growing resource for access, affordability, and aspiring students. As this mode of education expands, people’s perceptions are changing. In fact, 73% of schools are offering online programs because most students who take them are more career-driven.
There are many reasons to enroll in an online program. Students typically cite these are the most common reasons for going to college in the first place, or re-enrolling:
- they have a clearer goal for their career path
- they want to move up in their jobs and expand opportunities
- they want a career change and fresh start
- they want to provide more opportunities for their family
- they want to challenge themselves and learn something new
Of course, like traditional colleges, online programs come with expenses, a commitment of time, and the necessity to balance life with school. While there are many ways to fund your college education through grants, a part-time job, or enrolling in a completely tuition-free program like University of the People, scholarships and free scholarship applications offer another great resource for financial assistance.
So, how do you go about getting a scholarship for an online degree? First, you should know that most scholarships don’t restrict online programs from their funding. Secondly, you need to take a few steps to be a seen as a relevant applicant to apply for scholarships.
How to Get a Scholarship:
1. Research the Scholarship:
Know what the donor is asking for and make sure you provide it in your application
2. Be Involved:
Get involved in extracurricular activities and volunteer work to be well-rounded. Most scholarships are non-profits so they strongly favor those who take time to give back.
3. Check Your Reputation:
Google yourself. Ensure that when the scholarship team looks you up online, there is nothing you wouldn’t want them to see. Put your social media accounts on private!
4. Answer Everything:
A lot of scholarship applications have optional questions. While the word optional gives you the choice to answer them or not, those who do answer these questions are about twice as likely to get the money. In this case, more is more!
5. Essay Time:
Because it takes time to write an essay, less students may apply for the scholarships that require them. With less competition, you have a higher chance of getting the scholarship, so seek out these kinds of applications.
Don’t believe that the scholarship doesn’t apply to you or you can’t get it. Speak to the university and check your chances in advance. There may be some flexibility if you don’t exactly meet the requirements. They may have alternative and better matching scholarships for you to apply for that you’re not aware of.
7. Plan a Schedule:
Apply at the right time — and prepare yourself for it. Don’t rush the application process. You may need references, so get them in advance. A good way to make sure you don’t miss a deadline is to organize all the scholarships you want to apply to in order of due dates on an Excel or Google spreadsheet or in your calendar so that you can keep track of your application progress.
8. Research Their Terms:
Some scholarships are yearly and some are by semester. Some even require that you meet a certain minimum GPA or other variable in order to continue receiving them, so make sure you know the terms and can keep up with them.
Scholarships for Online Students
Online students have as many, if not more, options for scholarships than those in a traditional program. This is because, while most traditional scholarships are not restricting online programs, some scholarships are tailored specifically for them. Here’s a short list of online scholarships, including:
- Geteducated.com: $1,000 to distance learners in the United States
- Online Colleges.org Support a Student Scholarship: $10,000 for non-tuition fees for working parents who are students
- Thebestschools.org Online Learning Scholarships: Offers 6 $1,000 scholarships for distance learners (3 for online students only)
- SR Education Group Scholarships: Range up to $5,000 based on need and merit and typically for minorities and women
- University of the People: At University of the People, our online degree program is tuition-free. While that means you won’t pay for tuition, there still are assessment fees per course. For those unable to afford these, we offer a variety of scholarships funded by generous donors, including: Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund, Emergency Refugee Assistance Scholarship Fund, and Intel’s Haitian Women Scholarship. For a full list of options, please click here to find one that fits your needs.
For international students who wish to study in the United States, here is a short list of eligible scholarships and their award amounts. To name a few:
- Preply Essay Competition: An award up to $2,000 for winners of the essay competition, ages 16 to 35 for any level of study and degree.
- Mastercard Scholars Program: Awards assistance for those in Africa to study at institutions in the U.S.
For those are studying online outside of the U.S., here are some scholarship options:
- Commonwealth Scholarships: Offers a wide range of scholarships for those studying in the U.K. and other commonwealth countries.
- Online Study Australia: For those studying online from Australia, this scholarship awards $2,000 for the winner of a 200-word essay.
- Canada- CARICOM Virtual Scholarship Program: Will cover tuition costs for three online programs in Canada for students from: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitt’s, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos.
Plan, Prepare, Propose
Although the scholarship application may seem overwhelming at first, if you plan in advance and conduct research, you’ll be in a better position to stay organized and be awarded assistance. A lot of the scholarship applications will ask for the same general personal information. While some do include essays and letters of references, you can create a list to note these requirements and start early so that you can space out the work you have to do behind the scenes to apply.
Scholarships are an amazing financial aid tool because they equate to free money. Unlike financial aid from the government in the form of loans, there are no strings attached to scholarships, such as interest or payback terms.
Be confident in your application process. Remember to try and try again, and apply to as many as you can to increase your chances of being awarded. You have nothing to lose!