How to Pay for Distance Learning Classes

Students, whether they are learning traditionally or online, are always in need of financial assistance. As distance learning has become a widely accepted part of the educational field, the opportunities for Nebraska online education students to receive financial aid has grown along with it. Depending on your personal goals, your financial need and academic history, you may be eligible to receive funding in the form of grants, scholarships or loans. You should check with your school’s financial aid office to find out more.

Scholarships and grants

The most attractive form of financial aid, scholarships and grants reduce (or eliminate) a student’s tuition burden. There are a variety of programs from which students receive scholarships and grants. Some come directly from colleges or universities, others are specific to an academic program, and private institutions also award them. As a rule of thumb, students who receive this form of financial aid are likely to demonstrate a great financial need as well as an exemplary academic record. You should check with your college’s financial aid office as well as your individual academic department to find out more about the possibilities for scholarships or grants.


One of the most popular and widely distributed forms of financial aid, loans provide students with funding for their education and are gradually repaid after the student leaves school. In general, most loans have a 10-year repayment plan (but some loans may differ). The federal government is one of the largest providers of student loans, which tend to be lower-interest than other programs. You also may want to investigate the possibilities of private student loans, which are provided by banks or other private entities. No matter which type of loan you desire, you will need to file applications to receive them. All federal loan programs require that students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Your loan awards, if any, will be determined by your financial need and could also be affected by the type of program in which you are enrolled. For federal loans, be sure to discuss your options with your school’s financial aid office. You will need to investigate the possibilities of private student loans independently; check with your local bank or an online student loan provider for more information.

Special programs

There is another avenue you can pursue beyond scholarships or loans. In fact, this third option may be particularly attractive to working professionals who are returning to school. Your employer, church group or social organization could have student-aid programs for which you are eligible. The most common (and easily accessible) form of this “extra” kind of financial aid is employee assistance plans. Through these programs, an employer will help fund all or part of an employee’s tuition, provided he/she is studying a subject that will benefit the company/job and the student meets a certain grade threshold. There could be tax implications for accepting this kind of aid. Be sure to ask you human resources whether an employee tuition assistance program exists, and take the time to read through the regulations for the plan. You may be required to submit your grades each semester, or create a presentation for your department related to your course of study.