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wiseGEEK: Can I Apply for Financial Aid Online?

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Students can apply for financial aid online in a number of countries. Each region has different procedures on how to apply, but many people are able to make a single application for most government supported grants and loans. The best known of these may be the US Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA ). Canada has a number of similar websites that are specific to the province in which a person lives. The process is not as streamlined for private scholarships, and options to apply online may or may not be open to applicants.

Making an application for financial aid online in the US has become relatively standardized since the introduction of the FAFSA. Students can collect all their information, feed it into a computerized form, and automatically be considered for any federal grants and loans. Occasionally, some state-issued grants require an additional application, and students should check with their school’s financial aid office to determine if this case. Very often, any form of state aid is considered with federal aid to create one financial aid package .

In most cases, students are not obligated to file for financial aid online. They can get and file a paper copy of the application. Some people feel more comfortable with this because they then don’t have to submit private information, like a social security number, over the Internet. There are some protections the US government has to try to keep sensitive information

safe, but at present, people concerned about this issue can still choose to do an offline filing.

Canada handles the way people file for financial aid online differently. Though an application is made online, it must be made through the person’s province of residence. Applicants looking at instructions for financial aid applications on some of the main Canadian websites are likely to find links to each province where it can be electronically filed.

Other countries that offer financial aid online may have different instructions on how to apply. Students will need to investigate if and how a country offers aid. In any country, it is exceptionally important that people follow directions and apply by any stated deadlines.

Scholarships and grants frequently have deadlines, too, and students may or may not be able to apply for these types of financial aid online. This is highly dependent on each individual source. Sometimes, colleges have a single application for all institutional grants, but in other cases, students will need to apply for grants as they become eligible.

There are a number of websites online that list many available scholarships. Some sites may be difficult to navigate because of numerous advertisements, but some students may still find them convenient and useful. For those who are content with slower search methods, there are also scholarship books people can access at many college libraries or in college scholarship offices.

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