Financial Aid for Non-Traditional Students –

What tips can you offer specifically for online students applying for financial aid?

For older working adults that are taking online courses, it is important to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. I always suggest applying for the FAFSA at the time that you file taxes. This way it is done and you do not have anything to worry about.

Once a student’s financial aid package has been completed and the school has given the student his/her award to accept, it is important that students do not take out more loan funds than they will need to pay tuition and fees. Some students may need a little extra to help pay bills or personal expenses, but remember that the more that is borrowed, the more you will have to repay later – plus interest.

Student loan debt enters repayment when the student has either graduated or stopped attending school at least half-time and is no longer attending at least half-time, so it is important to realize that the student loan will be an additional bill that needs to be paid each month. Always be aware of the current interest rate on student loans, apply for any grants that you feel you are eligible for, and ask the school about scholarship opportunities. Scholarships are available for almost anything, and students can search for scholarships online at There students will find scholarships for which anyone can apply and different categories for which students may qualify.

Always do your research and ask questions when unsure about financial aid. The school can help you and the Department of Education ( has resources available which can help students become successful.

Edited by Valerie Jones

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Latisha Bonner has been in the financial aid business for 10 years, four of those which she spent working directly with Sallie Mae assisting students with loan repayment and working with colleges to help students fund their education. She’s had experience working in financial aid and student accounting for different schools and currently serves as the default prevention coordinator for a four-year university.