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Can You Use Financial Aid for Summer Classes?

Are you a current college student interested in finishing your degree program more quickly? Perhaps you are an adult learner looking for shorter term classes to advance your career and open up new options. No matter what your situation, seasonal courses may suit your educational needs perfectly. However, concerns about whether financial aid exists for summer classes may give you pause. You do not have to worry even if you have a unique schedule. At most institutions, summer classes are eligible for the same type of financial help as any other options.

Why Choose Summer Classes At All?

The decision to take college classes during the hot summer months usually comes down to accessibility and scheduling. These are especially popular with adult students who want to continue an interrupted education or finish a degree or certification program as quickly as possible. At most institutions, there is no real need to take the entire summer off. If you can keep earning credits all year round, you can finish sooner than traditional students who take a two-semester per year approach.

In some cases, summer classes might actually cost less per credit hour than school-year options. You may be able to get the same amount of credits with fewer actual hours in the classroom. Also, they are more prevalent at community colleges that have lower tuition fees to begin with. Despite the savings, financial aid is still a very real option for students who need it.

Filling Out the FAFSA for Summer Terms

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step and ultimate answer to most college funding, loan, and grant receipt. It has very specific deadlines for different college semesters. However, when it comes to summer classes, different schools approach this document in different ways. Speak with the financial aid office at the particular college or university you plan to attend to learn when you should fill it out. The last thing you want to do is miss the deadline and take yourself out of the maximum aid package possible.

Summer Classes Are Eligible for All Types of Financial Aid

Every type of financial aid available to traditional fall-to-spring students is also accessible to those who choose summertime classes.

1 – Grants – Pell grants for low-income students, state grants, and those specifically given by universities and other organizations may be used for summer classes in most cases. This is absolutely true for federal ones. Non-government grants may have different rules.

2 – Scholarships – Private scholarships come directly from schools, companies, nonprofit organizations, and occasionally philanthropic individuals. If you intend to go to school in the summer, simply make sure you apply for scholarships at the appropriate time to meet deadlines and have money in place when your term begins.

3 – Loans – Most student loans do not specify which semester you have to use them for. They are usually based on individual years, so you can use them for summer classes without problems. Research your options and try to find the maximum amount of funding with the most beneficial payback terms.

4 – Work-Study – Whether a work-study program is available in the summer at your chosen institution depends on their participation with the federal program and its own particular needs for workers. This is something to discuss directly with the college's financial aid office.

Financial aid for summer classes opens up a world of possibilities for new high school graduates and adult learners interested in taking noncredit or degree program courses seasonally. Although you should speak with the specific institution for more information about funding, you do not have to change your plans when it comes to advanced educational opportunities.