More Financial Aid for Online Education
By Chris Nelson
Until now, the U.S. government restricted federal financial aid so that only schools offering at least half of their courses at campus locations qualified. That meant that student financial aid has not been available to schools that offered the majority of their courses online. You can look forward to this changing, thanks to theCollege Access and Opportunity Act, HR 609.
This legislation recognizes that "alternative postsecondary education options, such as community colleges, degree granting or certificate programs, proprietary schools, and distance learning programs, provide an important alternative gateway to a college education." In addition to eliminating the "50:50" rule, the new act will significantly increase financial aid and make it easier for students to attend and find financial aid for online education. This validates the importance of online learning programs as an alternative for students who are unable to attend campus-based schools for a variety reasons, whether they work during the day, have children who need care, perform military duties, are challenged by physical disabilities etc.
For potential students who cannot attend a traditional university, or cannot finance a traditional or online education, the decision will give students the opportunity to explore the many advanced programs offered online.
This legislation highlights the growing importance and maturity of online education. Schools that have been providing online education have developed highly successful, in-depth programs that are critically relevant to today's job seekers and potential employers. The success of these schools has encouraged many prestigious traditional schools, such as Boston University, to broaden their curriculum to include online education.
Schools are monitored closely and accreditation is strict, ensuring the academic quality of online programs. Schools must maintain a high caliber educational curriculum—as overseen by a committee secretary—to qualify for financial aid funds, as well as national and/or regional accreditation. Read more about online school accreditation.