Does Financial Aid Cover Distance Education?

Federal, state, and institutional financial aid can cover distance education. However, students must attend an accredited program and meet the lender’s and school’s requirements for receiving aid.

Can All Financial Aid Be Used for Distance Education?

A student can use grants, loans, and work-study programs from the federal government to cover the cost of distance education. However, the recipient must enroll in an accredited Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) institution. If the school you want to attend is accredited, you can use your federal aid for distance education as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements. Many grants and loans, for example, require that you at least be enrolled part time.

In addition to federal financial aid, state aid may be available to help pay for distance education. Individual institutions may also offer aid that you can use for distance education or online courses. Ohio State University, for example, offers departmental scholarships, and residents in the state can apply for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant and use the award to pay for distance education courses from eligible universities. Check with the financial aid departments of each school to which you’ll apply for more information and additional aid opportunities.

Note that most state aid is reserved for residents who have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months minimum. If you’re taking classes remotely and don’t live in the state that the institution is in, your aid options may be limited. 

Which Distance Programs Qualify for Financial Aid?

Only programs from institutions accredited through the DEAC qualify for federal and state financial aid. DEAC keeps an updated directory of eligible schools, although each institution will have its own enrollment rules and additional standards you’ll have to meet to use your financial aid.

In many cases, applying for aid, whether from the federal government, state government, or the school itself, is the same for on-campus and remote students. Complete the FAFSA® and check for additional eligibility criteria and financial aid options from the school you’re attending.


“Welcome to DEAC.” DEAC. Web. 23 May 2018.

“Directory of Accredited Institutions.” DEAC. Web. 23 May 2018.