Getting higher education and kickstarting a career is a dream and goal for many. Unfortunately, many people cannot attend college in person, due to various reasons. Therefore, they have to opt for online colleges. However, when choosing colleges that offer online classes and courses, many students worry that the college will not offer or accept financial aid, similar to those colleges offering in-person classes.

Luckily, this assumption isn’t true. Most colleges offering online classes do accept the same financial aid options that regular colleges do. This means that if you are planning to attend online classes from an accredited college, you can still apply and make use of FAFSA i.e. Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

There are plenty of the best online colleges that accept FAFSA in the USA. And if you need to figure out which one is near you, this article would be the perfect guide for you.

Does FAFSA Cover Online Classes?

The majority of colleges, offering either online or regular classes will accept FAFSA. This is because colleges are aware that it is one of the most convenient options that can help students afford to enroll in their courses. FAFSA is one of the most renowned scholarship options available in the US. And the process of application, as well as acceptance for the aid, is also quite simple and straightforward. As long as the student meets the eligibility criteria, there is a pretty good chance that they will end up getting the aid.

With this being said, you can rest assured that colleges will take FAFSA irrespective of whether they are offering online or regular classes. If you wish to apply to any online college and are confused about whether they will accept FAFSA or not, simply go ahead and check their accreditation. All the colleges that are accredited by FAFSA will happily enroll students and offer them this aid.

Another criterion for finding out whether online colleges accept pell grants or not is to check whether they offer a part-time or a full-time schedule for the students and whether the cost of attendance is posted on their website. These two are also the major requirements that FAFSA-approved schools follow through. Therefore, if the college of your interest meets this criterion, you can be certain that your online classes can be covered by FAFSA.

Cheap Online Colleges That Accept FAFSA

There are plenty of affordable online colleges that accept FAFSA in the USA, but here are some of the top options that most students are interested in:

1. Baker College:

With a diverse selection of degrees as well as certificate programs and both online as well as physical classes, Baker College is surely one of the top colleges that accepts FAFSA.

They offer a self-paced study program that allows students to study while following a flexible schedule and deadlines.

Baker College

Therefore, many students who work or cannot sign up for regular classes for some reason, opt for Baker College since all they require to study is a phone and an internet connection. Rather than following a regular semester system, they offer a six-week course breakdown which may be hard for some students to keep up with, but it is perfect for students who are a bit short of time.

2. Hampshire University:

Not many students are aware of the fact that Hampshire University offers both in-person as well as online classes. Although the university offers an array of degree programs and majors, it is mostly known for its business studies at both the graduate as well as undergraduate levels. They have terms that run over a period of eight weeks.

Hampshire University

They not only accept FAFSA but getting credits transferred to Hampshire University and overall discounted fees further make it one of the most affordable online college options available. The university has an excellent faculty and advisors are assigned to students to guide them and help them stay motivated and organized so they can finish their online courses in a timely and productive manner.

3. Grand Canyon University:

Based in Phoenix, AZ, Grand Canyon University is a renowned college that falls under the list of institutions that accept FAFSA. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission till 2027, it is a college that offers undergraduate, graduate as well as doctoral-level degree options for online enrolled students.

Online Colleges That Accept FAFSA Grand Canyon University

It is a not-for-profit college which means that the focus of the institution lies on the quality of education and academics rather than a make-money business model. It is a Christian college which makes it an ideal choice for people who are religious or have a very strong belief in faith.

4. University Of Florida:

The University of Florida is another renowned university that is known for its online classes. They offer both online as well as physical classes and students have the choice to enroll in a wide range of programs most of which can be completed online. They do accept FAFSA therefore if you are eligible to receive the aid, you can go ahead and apply to the University of Florida.

University Of Florida

Another amazing aspect of the University of Florida is its vast degree program range. You can choose to enroll in fields ranging from tech to medical with the guarantee that you will be studying under the best faculty and will be taught in an amazing student-centered manner.

5. Purdue University Global:

If you are someone who has actively been looking at colleges that offer online degree programs, you would have surely come across Purdue University Global. They offer both degree-level as well as certificate-level programs for the students.

Purdue University Global

The university itself is quite old therefore they are one of the most recognized institutions. However, their online degree program was introduced just a couple of years ago. They offer a wide range of programs however the courses related to food science, agriculture and technology are the ones that are highly appraised in the job market.

6. Penn State World Campus:

Based in Pennsylvania, Penn State World Campus is known for not only its degree programs but also for its sports teams and alumni. But if you are not based in Pennsylvania, you can still be a part of this auspicious institution through its online courses.

Penn State World Campus

With a goal of delivering quality education in an affordable manner, the university offers a huge range of programs to choose from. Even the online courses are designed to be interactive and engaging for maximizing learning. They also put FAFSA so if you have the scholarship, you can surely consider opting for Penn State World Campus.

Online Schools That Don’t Accept FAFSA:

Here are two colleges that do not accept FAFSA:

1. Penn Foster:

Located in Scottsdale, AZ, Penn Foster is a dream college for many. However, if you were looking forward to funding your online certification via FAFSA, you wouldn’t be able to do so.

penn foster school

Many people pick Penn Foster because of its one hundred percent online classes mode but they do not support FAFSA therefore you will not be able to utilize the aid to pay for your online classes at Penn Foster.

2. Ashworth College:

Founded in 1987, Ashworth College is another dream institution for many people who are looking to pursue education online. Based on a long-distance education model, the university is surely one of the pioneers of online education. However, unfortunately, they don’t accept FAFSA so the students with a FAFSA grant will not be able to utilize the grant at Ashworth College.

Ashworth College

FAFSA Approved Certificate Programs

Following are the FAFSA-approved online certificate programs. Do check if your required program is on the list or not.

  • Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • Transportation Systems.
  • Technical Communication.
  • Scholarly Publishing.
  • Museum Studies.
  • Gifted Education.
  • Online Teaching for Grades K-12.
  • Art New Media Graphic Design
  • MBA
  • Business management
  • Computer science
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Cyber Security
  • And many others you just need to check your Online school that accepts FAFSA online certificate programs.

How Do I Know If the School I Am Interested In Takes FAFSA?

In order to find out if the school you are interested in takes FAFSA or not, you will have to do some research and find out some things. The first thing that you need to confirm is whether the school is accredited by FAFSA. If this is the case, the school would most likely accept FAFSA.

Another condition that has to be met is for the school to offer both full-time as well as part-time teaching schedules for the students. And lastly, if the school has listed the details of the tuition fee and schedule on its website, it is likely that it will also accept FAFSA.

The best way to confirm whether the college is under consideration is to search for the list of FAFSA-accredited colleges. You can also find numerous articles and resources online that are just the colleges that accept FAFSA. Once you have decided on a college, you should go ahead and check the website of the college to confirm whether they take FAFSA or not. If you still cannot find this information online, feel free to contact the colleges via email or a phone call. The representative will be there to guide you and help you accordingly.

What Type of Financial Aid Can I Get For Online College?

FAFSA is the best option for those who are interested in attending college online. However, unfortunately, not all colleges offering online courses and degree programs accept FAFSA. If that seems to be the case, you can go ahead and search for other grants that the college may accept. You can also try applying for scholarships. Most colleges will also take financial aid scholarships that can be one way for one to be able to fund their online courses.

What Type of Financial Aid Can I Get For Online College

Another amazing way of being able to find your online classes and courses is by signing up for work-study programs. In this case, you will have to set aside some hours to work for your institution and will be paid a stipend in return. This stipend is often deducted from the fees of the course that you are taking so this option too will be able to fund and afford your online courses.

The option of applying for a student loan can also be considered. A student loan is not like a scholarship or some other funding option. In the case of a scholarship, the fee of the student is waived. But in the case of a student loan, as indicated by the name itself, the loan has to be paid back by the student. You can pay back the loan in small installments.

Finding Best Online Colleges with Financial Aid

As already discussed in detail, finding a FAFSA-accepted college is quite simple. All you need to do is to do an online search and you will come across a list of online colleges i.e. colleges that offer online courses and certifications that take the FAFSA financial aid. Once you have chosen the college you want to go to, you can then go ahead and confirm if they take FAFSA by checking their website, writing to them, or calling them.

FAFSA Qualifications Requirement 2023

FAFSA general qualifications requirements include, You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen. Also, you should be enrolled in an acceptable degree or certificate program at FAFSA qualified college or school.

FAFSA Qualifications Income

There are many other factors considered while applying for financial aid but income limit is not one of them. This means it does not matter which income background are you coming from you can still have a chance for submitting your FAFSA.

How Much Does FAFSA give Based on Income?

Under the FAFSA formula, you are not bound to use all of your adjusted income to pay for college. For dependent students, 50 percent of their adjusted available income is allocated. For college expenses, parents’ adjusted available income is allocated between 22 and 47 percent.

How Much Financial Aid Can I Get Per Semester?

If you are allowed to receive FAFSA then you can get 4000$ per year. 2000$ each for fall and winter semesters. But keep in mind there are some other factors to be considered for the grant of financial aid. Like your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), and the cost of attending your school.

How Much Financial Aid Will I Get For 3 Credits?

Generally, you are not eligible for FAFSA for 3 credits but there are some students who can still receive financial aid depending on some other factors. However, you will just get 25% of the aid.

How Much Financial Aid Will I Get For 6 Credits?

If you are a job holder and want to take your study part-time then you really want to know how much you can get FAFSA. If you are planning to take 6-8 credit hours of study then you will be granted 50% of the financial aid. Some other factors are also to be considered including your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), and the cost of attending your school.

How Much Financial Aid Will I Get For 9 Credits?

If you are asking for exactly 9 credit hours then keep in mind you will not get 100% financial aid. Three-quarters times, you will be awarded 75% of the financial aid by the Govt. Some other factors are also to be considered including your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), and the cost of attending your school.

How Much Financial Aid Will I Get For 9 Credits

How Much Financial Aid Will I Get For 12 Credits?

If you choose to study 12 credit hours for your study time period. Then there is good news for you, 100% financial aid will be awarded to you for completing a degree program by the govt. Some other factors are also to be considered including your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), and the cost of attending your school.

How Much Financial Aid Can I Get in a Lifetime?

There are several factors that determine how much you’ll receive, including your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), the cost of attending your school, and whether you are taking all three semesters in a year or just one semester as a part-time.

There is a lifetime limit of 600% on Pell Grant awards; the maximum award amount for six years or 12 semesters is defined as the equivalent of six years or 12 semesters of study.

Online Colleges That Accept FAFSA – FAQs

Do I have to be accepted to a college to apply for FAFSA?
Many people are under the wrong impression that they have to be accepted to a college to be able to apply for FAFSA. In reality, there is no such condition as this. You can apply for FAFSA, get the funding and then go ahead and find a college that accepts FAFSA. Going over the eligibility criteria and the application process for FAFSA, you will realize that being accepted into a college is not necessary.
Can I use FAFSA for online college?
Yes, you can also be eligible for FAFSA if you are attending online schools. You can simply apply for financial aid.
Do you need financial aid for online classes?
Financial aid is not necessary for taking online classes. You can apply for financial aid, grants or scholarships if the fee is too much and you are unable to afford to pay for the online classes on your own.
Can I use my FAFSA money on anything else?
Yes, you can spend your FAFSA money on anything like buying a computer, other related expenses, stationary, and transportation.
Does Penn Foster College accept FAFSA?
Yes, Penn Foster College does accept FAFSA. Therefore, if you have acquired FAFSA funding, you can go ahead and apply to Penn Foster College. The grant will cover your online classes at Penn Foster College.
What online college gives the most financial aid?
Online colleges offer financial aid based on a number of different factors. The amount of financial aid that you will get depends on the college you choose as well as the program and the duration of the program. However, Columbia University is known to be very generous when it comes to offering financial aid to students taking online classes.


Our Verdict:

FAFSA is a great way for people to find their online courses. If you are a student who cannot sign up for regular classes and needs financial assistance to pay for online classes, you should surely need to consider applying for FAFSA.

The best thing about FAFSA is that the application and the eligibility criteria, both are quite simple and straightforward. Plus, there are a handful of colleges that accept FAFSA therefore, students are able to not only find a way to fund their education but can do so by opting for some of the best online colleges and institutions around the globe.