The process of applying for student aid at an online college is similar to the application process at a traditional school. To be eligible, students must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA becomes available online on October 1 annually; students should start preparing their FAFSA form as soon as possible, as many awards are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Note that students applying for student aid must be enrolled at an online college that has been accredited by a federally recognized accreditation agency. The status of an online student (full time or part time) may also affect their eligibility to receive aid.
If you have never been issued credit, some lenders may evaluate your creditworthiness based on factors such as proof that you pay rent, utility, and phone bills on time, or that you make regular deposits to a savings or checking account. You could also ask another person, such as a parent, to cosign a loan. This gives you an opportunity to make payments on time and build your credit history. At the same time, the lender's risk is reduced because it can rely on the good credit of the cosigner. (The cosigner would have to pay what you owe if you didn't make the payments.)