Distance Learning Funding Options for Your Education

Distance learning funding is an option for distance learners working in conjunction with the United States Department of Education. Colleges and universities can also opt for funding for distance learning which they receive in the form of financial assistance to enrolled degree candidates. Distance learning funding can be in the form of grants, which are typically awarded by the federal government or by state education agencies, and are one-time awards of cash that can offset the cost of tuition. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be repaid.

Distance Learning Funding - Scholarships Scholarships are generally administered by schools or by private foundations. Many scholarships are contingent upon qualifying criteria, such as financial need, academic achievement, athletic prowess, or successful participation in a community program. Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid, but some awards may carry certain obligations. For instance, scholarship winners may be required to volunteer time for a community organization or pledge to work in a specific geographic area.

Distance Learning Funding - Loans Federal Perkins Loans are funds that colleges and universities lend directly to qualifying students to help cover the cost of tuition. After graduation, alumni repay their colleges over the course of ten years at a low, fixed interest rate. Distance learning funding can also be in the form of Subsidized Stafford Loans as they are offered to students who demonstrate significant financial need. These loans help bridge the gap between a student's tuition and their other financial resources, including scholarships and grants.

The Department of Education pays all of the interest charges that accrue during a student's degree program, shaving thousands of dollars from the cost of their education. Workstudy Grants are funds earmarked for qualifying students who work in community-oriented or campus-based part-time jobs during their degree programs. 529 Plans or Coverdell Accounts allow students to invest money for college in sheltered stock market or money market funds. Congress has waived all taxes on interest generated by Coverdell accounts, making them an attractive, if indirect, source of financial aid.

There are a variety of forms of funding available to the distance learning student. If you are in need of funds, evaluate yourself in terms of funding criteria and apply for the grants, loans or scholarships that are appropriate for you. Try to be sure that the program you undertake will increase your earning power, so that you will be able to pay back any funds as necessary.

Jim Zorn is web master of the Guide to Distance Learning. Please visit to learn more about online colleges and universities, distance learning degrees, majors and courses offered. http://www.guide-to-distance-learning.com/index.html

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