Not so long ago, only students taking courses on campus were eligible for federal financial aid. But today, there are many online colleges that accept FAFSA, and online students qualify for many of the same types of aid as on-campus learners.
Read on to get matched with great online colleges that take FAFSA and see how the FAFSA can help support you on your path to success.
Did you know?
Only schools that are regionally accredited can accept the FAFSA and offer students federal financial aid. Make sure any online school you apply for is accredited and accepts the FAFSA.
List of 13 Online Colleges that Accept FAFSA
Below are 13 online colleges that accept FAFSA and some of the popular programs at each.
Explore each one to find the perfect program for you. Then see if you may be eligible for loans, grants, and scholarships from the federal government.
1. St. John’s University
Federal School Code: 02823
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Founded in 1870 by the Vincentian Community, St. John's University offers a wide range of online graduate degree programs. SJU’s online courses provide the same, high-quality education offered on campus and are taught by the University’s widely respected faculty.
Full-time online degree students receive an IBM laptop and access to a range of student services including financial aid management, technical support, library resources, career guidance, counseling resources, online tutoring, campus ministry information, and much more.
Financial Aid at St. John’s
- St. John's University Office of Financial Aid (OFA) administers federal, state and university aid programs, as well as a limited number of privately funded scholarships
- More than 96% of St. John's students receive some kind of financial assistance
- St John’s Office of Student Financial Services provides a FAFSA checklist to help students and their families complete their FAFSA thoroughly and correctly
Notable Programs at St. John’s
- Master of Science in Library and Information Science: In this program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), students can learn how to analyze, evaluate and organize information to enhance information delivery in chosen specialties such as archival studies, public librarianship, and youth services.
- Master of Public Health: Students prepare to lead the way to a healthier world by learning to plan, implement and evaluate projects and interventions; apply theory to practice; and obtain real-world experience through community fieldwork.
- PhD in Literacy: Students can apply the latest research and specialized knowledge to create innovative solutions that meet the literacy needs of at-risk learners. The program prepares students for literacy education roles in schools (local, district, state or federal level) and universities as teacher educators.
2. Lewis University
Federal School Code: 001707
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Founded in 1932, Lewis University is a Catholic university that provides more than 7,000 traditional and adult students. students with customizable, market-relevant, and practical degree programs that are immediately applicable to their careers.
Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Online students are assigned a personal Student Services Coordinator who guides them through their entire academic career at Lewis University.
Financial Aid at Lewis
- Loans are available for those who qualify and applicants are encouraged to apply for the FAFSA
- 97% of Lewis students receive some sort of financial aid
Notable Programs at Lewis
- Masters in Organizational Leadership: Students build upon their innate ability to inspire others, enabling them to effectively empower and motivate people in any organization. The curriculum is designed with real-world, applicable examples and a Capstone Project is integrated, so the knowledge gained can be directly applied to careers in higher education, executive coaching, and non-profit management.
- Masters in Computer Science: Through hands-on coursework, students learn advanced computing while honing problem-solving, analytical and creative abilities. They gain highly valued tech knowledge and skills in this rapidly growing field, and get ready to shape tomorrow's technology in dramatic ways, with concentrations in cyber security, intelligent systems, and software engineering.
- Masters in Criminal Justice: This graduate program offers students the knowledge and skills needed to critically analyze and ethically address the complex issues in contemporary society. Its relatable and engaging coursework emphasizes organizational and management theory, the development of practical skills relating to the administration of criminal justice agencies, and the ability to apply theory and research to address and resolve practical problems.
3. Seton Hall University
Federal School Code: 002632
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Founded in 1856, Seton Hall is one of the country’s leading Catholic universities. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, SHU offers more than 90 rigorous programs that are nationally recognized for their academic excellence and educational value.
Seton Hall’s online learning programs are supported by a full range of student services, including online registration, advisement, financial aid, library resources, campus ministry, and career services. They feature the same high-quality instruction, cover the same topics and are taught by the same award-winning faculty as the school’s on-campus programs.
In addition, instructors who teach online also receive additional training for successful online instruction to ensure that students receive the best educational experience possible.
Financial Aid at Seton Hall
- 98% of Seton Hall students receive some form of financial aid
- Seton Hall provides over $96 million a year in financial aid to students
- About 97% of students receive scholarships or grant money directly from the university
Notable Programs at Seton Hall
- Masters in Business Administration: Students build functional business knowledge, analytical thinking and global management skills that they can immediately apply to their career, selecting a concentration in accounting, finance or marketing.
- Master of Science in Nursing: This program gives students the opportunity to select one of two study tracks. The Primary Care track focuses on disease prevention, health promotion, and the management of patients with multisystem health problems. The Acute Care track prepares students to take care of patients with acute and chronic disease management within hospital, urgent care, emergency room and sub-acute settings.
- Master of Science in Accounting: Designed for individuals with an undergraduate degree in business, students build the foundation for an accounting career, prepare for the CPA exam, and develop the networks required for success. Students also can tailor their learning to a specific area of interest through a choice of electives, and have the opportunity to explore career options through the assistance of a dedicated career advisor.
4. Benedictine University
Federal School Code: 001767
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of The American Dietetic Association
Founded in 1887 with a strong Catholic heritage, Benedictine University’s School of Graduate, Adult and Professional Education provides students with the knowledge, skills and creative problem-solving ability demanded by today’s workplace.
Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees are offered in a variety of disciplines, including business, education and health care, through fully online, flexible on-campus, and hybrid or blended cohort formats.
Financial Aid at Benedictine
- 99% of full-time, beginning undergraduate students at Benedictine University receive financial aid by way of grants and scholarships
- During the financial aid process, a student will be considered to determine if they qualify for Benedictine University Institutional Funding in addition to their scholarship and federal aid eligibility
- 79% of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid
Notable Programs at Benedictine
- MBA in International Business: This three-course curriculum explores cultural sensitivity and diverse workforce management, the application of marketing principles and concepts in the international environment, and theories of international economics and finance. Benedictine's accelerated MBA program is designed for motivated professionals who earn may earn their degree in as little as one year.
- Graduate Certificate in Health Education and Promotion: This certificate course trains students to participate in or lead health promotion activities, initiatives and programs for communities, private companies, schools, and other settings.
- Masters of Public Health: Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), this graduate program offers four focus areas to specialize in: Health Education & Promotion, Health Management & Policy, Emergency Preparedness, and Epidemiology.
5. Bradley University
Federal School Code: 001641
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, as well as 22 additional program-specific accreditations
Founded in 1897, Bradley University is a private, not-for-profit institution that offers more than 185 academic programs, including six innovative online graduate degree programs in nursing and counseling.
In response to students’ needs for flexibility and affordability, Bradley has transformed its approach to graduate education and today offers distance learners a cutting-edge format and a rich culture of collaboration, support, and shared values.
Financial Aid at Bradley
- Bradley’s Office of Financial Assistance partners with students and their families in helping manage the expenses associated with their Bradley experiences
- Grant assistance is available through FAFSA, scholarships directly through the school, and work study programs
- More than 90% of Bradley students receive some form of financial assistance awards
Notable Programs at Bradley
- Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner: Designed to prepare students for advanced practice with individuals and families throughout the life continuum, this online MSN-FNP program can prepare nurses to diagnose illness, conduct exams and care for patients and families.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice – Leadership Track: Nurse practitioners can gain the doctoral-level credentials though an innovative curriculum is designed to prepare students for the highest level of nursing practice, research and leadership. Courses include Management in Healthcare Organizations, Principles of FNP Practice, and Advanced Pharmacology.
6. Our Lady of the Lake University
Federal School Code: 003598
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Our Lady of the Lake University is a Catholic, private university with its main campus in San Antonio, and additional campuses in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley. The university offers more than 60 high-quality, student-centered bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in weekday, evening, weekend, and online formats. LLU offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors.
Financial Aid at Our Lady of the Lake
- Our Lady of the Lake University is committed to helping make a quality, private education affordable for all families
- 75% of Our Lady of the Lake students receive federal loans
- Students can easily apply for FAFSA through a simple link on the OLLU website
Notable Programs at Our Lady of the Lake
- Master of Education in School Counseling: This program is designed to help students gain the skills they need to be effective and influential school counselors at the primary and secondary levels. Courses include Guidance and Counseling Services, Vocational and Aptitude Assessment, and Ethical Issues in Schools.
- Master of Social Work: One of the nation's oldest and most prestigious schools of social work offers its acclaimed MSW degree program entirely online. The curriculum focuses on social work across the life span, the program prepares students for social service leadership and advanced direct practice in a variety of settings and for a variety of clients, from young children to elderly adults.
7. Concordia University-Portland
Federal School Code: 003191
Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Concordia University-Portland is a private, nonprofit Christian liberal arts university open to students of any faith. Twenty-six undergraduate majors are offered with concentrations in more than 20 fields and the College of Education, the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Management, and School of Law also offer post-graduate degrees.
Concordia offers a range of fully online degree programs that are as challenging and comprehensive as their on-campus programs, with classes limited to between 6 and 18 students to foster a true cohort dynamic of camaraderie and teamwork.
Financial Aid at Concordia
- Concordia-Portland offers a variety of scholarships, grants and awards designed to make the cost of a top-quality liberal arts education more affordable
- The school’s financial counselors go above and beyond to create individual plans to help students reach their educational goals.
- 97% of students receive financial assistance
Notable Programs at Concordia
- MEd in Educational Leadership: A dynamic online program designed to help advance careers as recognized education leaders. Students learn how to influence a collaborative work environment and gain management skills in the public or private sector.
- MEd in Career and Technical Education: Students develop cutting-edge knowledge relative to career options and 21st Century skills, and gain knowledge of managerial roles and functions essential to administering and supervising a CTE program in a variety of settings.
- EdD in Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation: This fully online Doctorate of Education program develops transformational leaders inside and outside the education sector. It’s ideal for candidates from academic, governmental, community, nonprofit, and religious fields who want to further enhance their organizational management skills through high-level problem solving, decision-making, and collaborative skills.
8. Utica College
Federal School Code: 002883
Accreditation: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
This coeducational, private comprehensive college was founded by Syracuse University in 1946 and became independently accredited in 1995. UC offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees across 38 undergraduate majors and 31 minors.
Utica is committed to the idea that successful learning can take place anywhere, any time, and its online programs provide the same quality education found in physical classrooms, in a format that responds to the evolving needs of students in today’s world.
Financial Aid at Utica
- More than 90% of students receive financial aid
- The Office of Student Financial Services works closely with each student to ensure maximum access to a broad range of scholarships, grants, student loans, and other forms of aid
Notable Programs at Utica
- Masters in Data Science: Students learn how to analyze and leverage big data to gain valuable insights that can lead to innovative ideas and solutions in a variety of fields. Core courses emphasize research design and critical evaluation of data using theoretical models, as well as the social process of making decisions and implementing solutions based on data.
- Masters in Cybersecurity: This graduate program trains students to proactively address ever-changing attack and infiltration techniques. Students also gain advanced knowledge and hands-on experience in cyber intelligence, critical infrastructures, and investigative principles as they relate to cybercrime.
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): Advanced training available for nurses in one of three specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Nursing Leadership. Each specialty expands students’ business knowledge so they can maximize nursing skills to take on more significant roles.
9. Anna Maria College
Federal School Code: 002117
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Anna Maria College is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic liberal arts institution that was founded by the Sisters of Saint Anne in 1946. AMC's programs integrate liberal education and professional preparation that reflect the respect for liberal arts and sciences education grounded in the traditions of the Sisters of Saint Anne.
In addition to various undergraduate and graduate programs and courses offered at its campus in Paxton, Massachusetts, AMC offers a range of 100% online undergraduate and graduate programs online. Online students earn the same respected degree as students who attend the on-campus programs but they attend class virtually through AMC’s learning management system.
In addition, online students can access 24/7 tech support, receive writing support through the Student Success Center, and receive guidance from a dedicated Student Services Coordinator.
Financial Aid at Anna Maria
- Nearly 98% of full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid
- Scholarships range from $17,500 to $22,500
- The Anna Maria website offers an easy portal to apply for FAFSA
Notable Programs at Anna Maria
- Master of Criminal Justice: Designed with law enforcement officials in mind, this graduate course balances the leadership and organizational aspects of public service with the specific needs of the justice community. Courses include topics such as community partnerships, justice and public policy, management policies in government finance and organizational theories.
- Masters of Health Emergency Management: This interdisciplinary program integrates technology, clinical practices, emergency and disaster medicine with engineering, ethics and computation. In cooperation with the BIDMC Fellowship in Disaster Medicine Program, it provides health professionals with the leadership, organization and communication skills to take on elevated roles during health emergencies and disaster events.
- Masters of Homeland Security: Created and taught by highly respected experts in the field, this program offers returning vets and working professionals the edge to advance their careers in this growing market segment as well as the convenience of online flexibility. These are credentials worth looking into for those who wish to stand strong for our country’s security, whatever tomorrow may bring.
10. Widener University
Federal School Code: B04724
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Founded in 1821 as a preparatory school for boys, today Widener is a private, coeducational university with campuses in Pennsylvania and Delaware. About 3,300 undergraduates and 3,300 graduate students attend Widener in eight degree-granting schools, through which they can choose among 60 options including top-ranked programs in nursing, engineering, social work, and the arts & sciences.
Widener University’s Graduate Studies and Extended Learning offers innovative, distinctive online programs in a flexible platform designed specifically for busy working professional.
Financial Aid at Widener
- 85% of Widener's full-time graduate students receive financial aid
- 44% of part-time students taking at least six credits per semester benefit from federal financial assistance
Notable Programs at Widener
- Master of Social Work This program has been designed to meet the educational and lifestyle needs of most students seeking graduate training in social work. Students learn to recognize that many issues presented by clients are a result of exposure to trauma in their families and communities, and are trained to intervene effectively with clients and to advocate for universal human rights.
11. Lasell College
Federal School Code: 002158
Accreditation: Commission on Institution of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Lasell is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational college that grants bachelors and masters degrees through online, hybrid, and on-campus courses. Courses are taught by knowledgeable leaders and educators in their fields, and an innovative yet practical curriculum is built for real-world success.
Graduate programs are flexible and convenient, allowing students to explore academic advising, internship assistance, networking events, and library resources online when students need them.
Financial Aid at Lasell
- 98% of undergraduate students received grant or scholarship aid.
- 80% received federal student loans.
- Students may apply for student loan resources by completing the (FAFSA)
Notable Programs at Lasell
- Master in Business Administration (MBA): This program instills the skills, knowledge, and credentials students need to maximize their impact on company performance. The program's coursework - taught by a small team of expert faculty - covers topics such as organizational development, leadership, quantitative analysis, finance, and strategy.
- Master of Science in Management – Human Resources: Students analyze techniques and research on hiring and employee retention, as well as how to address issues of increasing productivity in the workplace among other topics.
- Master of Science in Project Management: This management concentration instills the skills and knowledge to create a project plan, define project goals and objectives, specify the tasks required to achieve those goals, and ensure that the plan is carried out effectively and efficiently.
12. Maryville University Programs
Federal School Code: 002482
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Founded in 1872, this private, coeducational university is nationally recognized as a pioneer and standard-setter of excellence in distance learning. MU offers more than 90 degrees at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels to students from 50 states and 54 countries and will be expanding its online bachelor’s degree programs with 10 additional programs designed to educate and prepare working adults for the evolving career marketplace.
Currently, a wide range of online bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and certificate programs are offered 100% online, with no entrance exams or application fees and a per-class average of just 20 students per class.
Financial Aid at Maryville
- 94% of Maryville's full-time students receive some form of financial aid
- Financial aid at Maryville is available in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study programs
- Maryville’s financial aid experts and admissions personnel stand ready to help students apply for financial aid, find external scholarships for which they may qualify, and explore private grants and loans
Notable Programs at Maryville
- EdD in Higher Education Leadership: Students examine the dynamics affecting college students and lead positive organizational change. And they explore real-world theories and methods pertaining directly to higher education to become reflective leaders with specialized expertise.
13. Walsh University
Federal School Code: 004071
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Located in Northeast Ohio, Walsh University offers a top quality, accredited Catholic Liberal Arts education. Students can choose from more than 70 majors and seven graduate programs. Walsh’s online degree programs are taught by the same highly qualified faculty members who teach on-campus.
The majority of Walsh's online courses are offered in an accelerated, asynchronous format through a collaboration and learning environment that allows learners the flexibility to work anywhere, anytime.
Financial Aid at Walsh
- 98% of full-time students receive financial aid
- Walsh’s financial aid staff is available to guide students through the financial aid application process and provide counsel on the various aid programs
Notable Programs at Walsh
- Master of Business Administration (MBA): Aligned with AACSB standards, the online MBA program is designed for working professionals with their future in mind and builds off their experience while meeting the demands of today's business world. It prepares students for a successful career at the management or executive level.
Walsh offers five other online programs:
- Bachelor of Business Administration
- Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Organizational Development and Leadership
- Master of Arts in Education
- Master of Science in Nursing
Online Colleges and FAFSA
Whether you’re going to school full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies, applying for financial aid for online college begins with the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
When you fill out a FAFSA, it is reviewed by the Department of Education to determine your eligibility for any of nine federal financial aid programs, such as grants, work-study, and federal student loans, as well as more than 600 state aid programs.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2014-2015 school year, 84 percent of students at public 4-year institutions were awarded financial aid and 90 percent at private non-profit 4-year institutions.i
Five Steps to Finding a FAFSA-Accepted Online College
As a distance learner, you may not have to worry about the costs of room and board at a traditional college, but you will likely still need to pay for tuition, books, and supplies. The FAFSA may take a little time to fill out but it could lead to valuable scholarships or grants to help cover those very important education costs, which may take the pressure off the rest of your budget.
Step 1: Find out if you’re eligible for FAFSA
The only way to tell if you are eligible to receive aid is to apply for it. Many factors are taken into account when awarding government financial aid, but it’s designed to be accessible to the people who need it most. Therefore, everyone who needs financial assistance to attend college should apply.
Different schools may have different eligibility requirements, but in general, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident alien
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment, at least halftime, in a degree program
- Register with the Selective Service Administration, if required to do so
- Not be in default on a loan or owe a repayment on a previous financial aid award
- Establish financial need
Step 2: Determine your online enrollment status
Will you be going to school fulltime or part-time? As a part-time student, you may be able to work to cover rent, food, and other day-to-day expenses. But as a full-time student, you may not be able to work a full-time job.
It’s important to know your enrollment status before you fill out your FAFSA because it could affect the kind of aid you’re eligible for and how much aid you receive. For example, some online programs require students to meet credit-hour requirements to receive certain amounts or types of aid, which means that if you work more hours, you may not be eligible for as much aid and vice versa.
Step 3: Start your FAFSA school code search
You can submit your FAFSA information to up to 10 total colleges or universities, whether they are traditional or online. Each college is identified by a unique Federal School Code for student federal aid programs, which you can find using the Federal School Code Search tool on the FAFSA application site.
When you list the schools you want to attend on your FAFSA, be sure to submit that school’s code. Most students list their colleges in their order of preference.
Step 4: Submit your FAFSA application
There are two options to complete the FAFSA:
Online: Go to fafsa.ed.gov and file online to take advantage of:
- A secure and easy-to-navigate website
- A built-in help guide
- Skip logic that eliminates questions that don’t apply to your situation
- IRS retrieval tool that automatically populates answers to various questions
- Option to save your work and continue later
- Ability to send FAFSA to as many as 10 colleges that accept financial aid (vs. four with the print form)
- Reports get to schools more quickly
Mail: Send a paper copy of your FAFSA to
- Federal Student Aid Programs
- P.O. Box 7654
- London, KY 40742-7654
- Obtain your paper copy at fafsa.ed.gov or call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY line)
Step 5: Choose your FAFSA-accepted online college
After you apply, your FAFSA information is sent to colleges and universities that you select. The schools then send you a notice of acceptance and financial aid coverage. Each school may award you a different package, depending on your eligibility.
Maintain your federal aid eligibility through FAFSA
Once you’ve met the requirements and received your federal aid package, you’ll need to stay eligible throughout your college career to keep receiving financial assistance. This means maintaining a satisfactory grade point average and meeting all quarter or semester course load requirements.
Be sure to consult with your chosen school’s financial aid office to find out specific details as well as how you can regain eligibility in the event that you no longer qualify. And remember to submit a Renewal FAFSA each year. The FAFSA website makes it easy by auto-completing certain information from the previous year to relevant sections.
Find Your FAFSA-Approved Online School Today!
Getting a quality, affordable online college education starts with the FAFSA. Just follow the simple steps above and get started applying for federal aid to attend prestigious online colleges today.
If you have any other questions about FAFSA, check out our common questions about the FAFSA or learn more about the FAFSA and federal student aid.