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Doing Your Homework on Financial Aid

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Whether just graduating from high school or retooling to pursue a new field, financial aid resources can help make earning your degree online more manageable, for those who qualify. Eligibility for aid depends upon: availability of funding, timely application, program limitations for grants and loans and other factors. In order to be eligible to receive financial aid at AIU, you must be enrolled in an approved degree program.

Before you start the process, check out our Financial Aid Tools page to help you get an idea of costs and potential aid available.

Financial Aid Options

Federal Pell Grants

Pell Grants are usually only awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. Because it is a grant, it does not have to be repaid. The amount of the award depends on financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student and plans to attend the full academic year or less. Eligibility is determined after the FAFSA application has been submitted.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

FSEOGs, are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFC) will be considered first for an FSEOG. Just like Pell Grants, the FSEOG does not have to be repaid. Grant amounts range between $100 and $4,000 a year, but funds are limited.

Federal Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized. Remember that unlike grants, all loans must be repaid plus interest and applicable fees. For those who qualify, a subsidized loan is awarded to undergraduate students demonstrating financial need and the government pays the interest while you're in school. The unsubsidized loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students, are not based on need and you are responsible for the interest while you’re in school. Although you can have the payments on the unsubsidized loan deferred while in school, the interest does continue to accrue.

Federal PLUS Loans

Federal PLUS Loans are available to either Parents of dependent students as the Parent PLUS or to graduate/professional students as the Grad PLUS. These loans are not based on need but may only be awarded up to the cost of attendance and a credit check is required.

Other Financial Aid Resources

Consider local resources in your community such as the local religious affiliations or a rotary club; check with employers, they may offer education benefits, such as tuition reimbursement programs and your parents’ employers may offer education benefits as well. You may want to consider other sources such as private loans (which must be repaid with interest) or inquire about payment plans to cover a portion of your education. Check with local high school guidance counselors or Chambers of Commerce in your area for other potential financial resources. You can also research web sites such as, or AIU’s Grants & Scholarships page.

Steps to Apply for Financial Aid at AIU

1. Look for eligibility guidelines and deadlines for AIU scholarships and apply accordingly (funds are limited; the earlier the submission, the better chance to receive an award).

2. Apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for federal aid and state aid in most states. To apply, log on to, or to obtain a paper application, call 800-4-FED-AID.

3. Follow up on grants and other scholarships outside federally funded programs.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.