The process of applying for student aid at an online college is similar to the application process at a traditional school. To be eligible, students must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA becomes available online on October 1 annually; students should start preparing their FAFSA form as soon as possible, as many awards are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Note that students applying for student aid must be enrolled at an online college that has been accredited by a federally recognized accreditation agency. The status of an online student (full time or part time) may also affect their eligibility to receive aid.
OpenCourseWare is also a good idea for students about to enter a very specialized field, such as a degree in medicine or the law. By taking free online classes before the official program starts, students can prepare for the eventual coursework, including its fundamentals and jargon. This will also help them start off ahead of the pack in very competitive programs. Additionally, if an individual is thinking of entering into a specific program, but is still not quite sure of their choice, OpenCourseWare can help with the decision by giving a good precursor to what the courses will be like.