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Scholarships and Grants for Online Students

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Online education has become increasingly popular recently, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many students to transition to remote learning. However, the cost of online college can still be a significant burden for many students. Fortunately, scholarships and grants are available specifically for online students to help offset the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses. 

This article will explore the best scholarships and online college grants for students and how to apply for them.

You can explore our Gov Relations resources for more scholarships and grants for students.

Best Scholarships for Online College Students

Best Scholarships for Online College Students

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Career Development Grants

These grants provide up to $2,000 to women pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree or certification program. The grants can be used for tuition, fees, books, transportation, and childcare expenses. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must demonstrate financial need.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

This scholarship provides up to $40,000 per year for up to three years to community college students transferring to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor's degree. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, financial need, and a commitment to community service.

Emerge Scholarship Program

This program provides scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 to women returning to college after a hiatus or pursuing a degree later in life. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate financial need.

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

This scholarship provides up to $23,000 over four years to students who are pursuing a career in teaching. Applicants must be Illinois residents, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and demonstrate financial need.

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

This scholarship provides up to $7,000 to students pursuing a career related to the environment, Native American tribal policy, or Native American health care. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or nationals and must demonstrate leadership, public service, and commitment to their field of study.

Types of Grants for Online College

Grants are another way to finance your education without taking on debt. There are several types of online college grant available to students:


These grants are awarded based on financial need and are designed to help students who might not otherwise be able to afford college.


These grants are awarded based on academic or athletic achievement or other talents, such as music or art.

Academic Departmental

A specific academic department awards these grants based on academic performance, the field of study, or other criteria.


These grants are awarded by corporations or businesses and are often targeted toward specific majors or fields of study.

Professional Association

These grants are awarded by professional associations or organizations and often target students pursuing a specific career.

Grant Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for online college grant can vary widely, depending on the type of grant and the organization that is awarding it. However, some standard eligibility requirements include the following:

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency: Many grants are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Financial need: Many need-based grants require applicants to demonstrate financial need.
  • Academic achievement: Merit-based and academic departmental grants often require applicants to have a minimum GPA or to have achieved a certain level of academic excellence.
  • Field of study: Some grants are only available to students pursuing a certain major or field of study.
  • Demographic characteristics: Some grants target specific demographic groups, such as women, minorities, or first-generation college students.
  • Community service or leadership: Some grants require applicants to demonstrate community service or leadership.

Application Process for Scholarships and Grants

The application process for scholarships and grants can be time-consuming and competitive. Here are some general steps to follow when applying for scholarships and grants:

  • Research: Start by researching different scholarships and grants available to online college students. You can search for scholarships and grants using online databases such as Fastweb,, or the College Board's scholarship search tool.
  • Gather required documentation: Before you can apply for a scholarship or grant, you will need to gather the required documentation. This may include transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, and financial aid forms.
  • Write a strong essay: Many scholarships and grants require applicants to write an essay or personal statement. Use this opportunity to showcase your strengths, goals, and reasons for pursuing a degree.
  • Meet the application deadline: Be sure to meet the deadline for each scholarship or grant you apply for. Some scholarships and grants have early deadlines, so start the application process early.
  • Follow up: After submitting your application, follow up with the scholarship or grant provider to ensure that your application has been received and is complete.

Required Documentation Needed

When applying for scholarships and grants, you will typically need to provide the following documentation:

  • Transcripts: Most scholarships and grants require applicants to provide transcripts from their current or previous schools.
  • Essays or personal statements: Many scholarships and grants require applicants to write an essay or personal statement explaining their goals, achievements, and reasons for pursuing a degree.
  • Letters of recommendation: Some scholarships and grants require applicants to provide letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, or employers.
  • Financial aid forms: Need-based scholarships and grants may require applicants to submit financial aid forms, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Proof of eligibility: Some scholarships and grants require applicants to provide proof of eligibility, such as proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.

Finance Your Online Education With Scholarships And Grants

Scholarships and grants can be a great way to finance your online college education without taking on debt. Financial assistance options for online high school diplomas are available too. However, the application process can be competitive and requires careful planning, research, and attention to detail. By following these steps and providing the required documentation, you can increase your chances of receiving a scholarship or online college grant to help you achieve your academic and career goals.

For more educational financing options, visit our Gov Relations guide on scholarships and grants for veterans.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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