Q&A: Financial Aid at Online Graduate Schools

A: We totally understand that you're concerned about the cost of education. This is no small undertaking. If you can somehow pay tuition upfront – you won’t need any financial aid. If you need loans for both tuition and to pay the bills while you’re in school, you’ll find no shortage of lenders willing to loan you the money. Schools can link you up with their popular providers. Obviously, you should borrow as much money as you need, but no more. Over the the course of the next 20 years, you could end up paying more than times what you initially borrowed -- so it's best to limit that number as much as possible at the beginning of the process.

As with any education-based loan, you want to make sure the profession or field of interest you are pursuing will help set you up financially to pay back any loans you accrue. You want to make sure that your education bolsters your earning potential, but you also don't want to dig yourself into a deep financial hole that you can't climb out of.

For more advice check out info on Stafford Loans and FinAid.org. Many schools will also offer scholarships to qualified candidates, but those can be incredibly competitive and very difficult to get. Luckily, there is no shortage of outside scholarships that qualified students can earn. For a comprehensive list of scholarships that could be awarded to you, make sure to check out some of the online scholarship databases like FastWeb, or SallieMae, or CollegeBoard.

Be sure to exhaust every scholarship opportunity available. The more time spent researching and applying to various grants, the less time needed to recoup the expenses of schooling. If loans are needed, shop around for the best interest rates.