Does FAFSA cover online courses or summer classes?

Fafsa for Online and Summer Classes

Accreditation Matters

The FAFSA is available to students if the school they go to participates in federal student aid programs. You will find the FAFSA available at most colleges, universities and trade schools. The reason why the FAFSA is so readily available is because schools know it is the only way that students can afford to sign up for their classes. Of course, the school itself has to meet certain requirements to get approved for issuing the FAFSA.

It doesn’t matter if they are public schools or private schools either. For starters, these schools are required to be accredited by some regional or national accreditation agency and they are also obligated to post the cost of attendance for the school on their website. FAFSA approved schools must also offer their students either a full-time or part-time schedule.  This is a requirement set by the government in order for any student to get approved for a federal loan.

The U.S. Department of Education oversees the FAFSA and all the federal loan programs. They are usually pretty relaxed about issuing money to students as long as they meet the basic eligibility requirements. The federal student aid office does not hold any prejudices over what types of classes you take or programs you enroll in at the college. It just has to be an accredited college with a published cost of attendance and it has to offer a part-time or full-time curriculum.

For example, you could enter into a Bachelor’s degree program or a career diploma program and still get approved for financial aid through the FAFSA. But if you are enrolled in some kind of “home study” or “independent study” college then federal aid will not be available to attend that school because it has a self-paced curriculum that allows students to complete their classes whenever they want. A FAFSA approved college does not let students do this because the government wants to ensure that students are regularly attending classes and not just doing nothing.

Double check the school

A common perception is that online classes and certificate programs are not real college classes. But what you have to look at closely is the college that is providing these classes and programs. If the college is accredited and meets the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Education then you can use the FAFSA to help get a federal loan to pay for these online classes and certificate programs. To see if a school you are interested in is approved for the FAFSA, just go to https://fafsa.ed.gov and click “School Code Search.” Enter in the information about the school and click search. If that school participates in the FAFSA then it will be listed in the search results. That means you can get federal financial aid for the school.