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19 online colleges that accept FAFSA: Your list and guide

If you're considering completing the FAFSA, make sure the online school you're eyeing accepts federal student aid. Keep reading to discover 19 online colleges that accept FAFSA.
Written by Ashley Reid, Contributor
An older white woman sits on a couch and uses a laptop.
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Online colleges may provide a more affordable, convenient path to a degree. But many students still need financial aid to help them cover the costs. Most start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. Thankfully, many online schools accept FAFSA, just like their in-person counterparts.

The FAFSA can tell you how much federal aid you can receive through grants and loans. Keep reading to discover more about the financial aid and 19 online schools that accept FAFSA.

How do you qualify for financial aid?

What is FAFSA? It's simply the application for federal financial aid. Many undergraduate and graduate students use it to find out how much federal aid they can receive to help cover tuition. 

Completing the FAFSA is often a prerequisite for scholarships and tuition assistance programs.

Before filling out the FAFSA, make sure you qualify. You can find some eligibility requirements below. 

  • U.S. citizen (there are exceptions for eligible noncitizens)
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of financial need
  • Accepted or enrolled in a program that accepts FAFSA
  • High school diploma, GED, or completion of approved homeschool program

Visit the Federal Student Aid website for complete eligibility information.

What can disqualify you from getting financial aid?

A few situations can disqualify you from getting financial aid. These include the following:

  • Defaulted federal student loans
  • Money owed on federal student grant
  • Not using money for educational purposes
  • Not maintaining satisfactory academic progress

Noncitizens or students with criminal convictions can receive financial aid in certain circumstances.

Another thing that can disqualify you is attending a non-accredited college or university.  

How can I tell if an online college accepts FAFSA?

There are two easy ways to check if an online college accepts FAFSA. 

First, you can find information on the school's website. These sites often have a "tuition and financial aid" tab listing ways to finance your education. A school that accepts FAFSA usually lists it on the financial page.

You can also visit the Federal School Code Search. Even if you don't know your school's code, you can put in the name and location. If an entry with a code is listed, then the school accepts FAFSA. 

Keep in mind that only accredited schools can accept FAFSA. Colleges can be accredited at the school-wide level by organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Some degrees have program-specific accreditation. For example, online business school accreditation may differ from engineering accreditation. But these program-specific accreditations do not affect FAFSA. 

Perhaps you are looking for accredited online MBA programs and only see program-specific accreditation. Look for the school's "about" tab, or simply web-searching the school's name plus "accreditation."

19 accredited online colleges that accept FAFSA

If you're looking to save money on your higher education by applying for FAFSA, start your college search with the list below. Each of the following online schools — listed in alphabetical order — is accredited and accepts FAFSA.

1. American Public University
Charles Town, West Virginia

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in cybersecurity
  • BA in homeland security
  • BBA in business administration
  • MA in entrepreneurship
  • MS in nursing

Acceptance rate: 100%
Graduation rate: 18%

APU is part of the American Public University System and offers affordable education to public service and military personnel. Despite its name, APU is a private, for-profit school. 

Over 85% of APU enrollees have a military background, but anyone can apply to the programs. 

APU offers over 200 online degree and certificate programs across five schools. Students can also pursue undergraduate or graduate NanoCert programs. These last only a few months and cover topics like counterintelligence and entrepreneurship.  

Accreditation: American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. Anna Maria College
Paxton, Massachusetts

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in health administration
  • BA in psychology
  • BS in fire science
  • MS in criminal justice
  • Master of public administration

Acceptance rate: 86%
Graduation rate: 50%

Anna Maria began as an all-female Catholic college in 1946. Almost 30 years later, it became a coeducation institution. Today, the university's Catholic roots continue to influence its values of promoting service, justice, and peace.

This Massachusetts university offers six online degree programs. Students pursuing a master of public administration can select one of five specialization tracks, like homeland security or emergency management.

Accreditation: Anna Maria College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

3. Arizona State University
Phoenix, Arizona

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in economics
  • Bachelor of applied science in project management
  • MS in biomedical diagnostics
  • Master of education in global education
  • Master of science in engineering; sustainable engineering

Acceptance rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 52%

ASU dates back to nearly 30 years before Arizona became a state. Over its almost 140-year history, ASU has become an innovative institution recognized for its research. In 2021, it served more than 135,700 students.

Today, about 65,500 students use ASU Online. Learners can select from hundreds of online degree and certificate programs. ASU offers online and on-campus students study abroad and tutoring opportunities.

Accreditation: Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. Baker College
Owosso, Michigan

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in game development
  • BBA in management
  • BS in human services
  • MS in industrial/organizational psychology
  • MSN in nursing administration

Acceptance rate: 54%
Graduation rate: 22%

Baker provides three main learning methods. Enrollees can study at one of the Michigan campuses or through online platforms. Baker Online offers asynchronous learning, while Online Live includes real-time meetings and lectures. 

Most online programs occur through Baker Online. Students can also select from 16 Online Live degree programs. Some programs include a 4+1 option, allowing enrollees to accelerate their learning and complete a bachelor's and master's degree in five years. 

Accreditation: Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. Benedictine University
Lisle, Illinois 

Popular degree programs: 

  • BSN
  • MBA
  • BA in management
  • MS in nutrition and wellness
  • Master of public health

Acceptance rate: 61%
Graduation rate: 56%

St. Procopius Abbey monks founded BC in 1887. Today, this Catholic institution serves nearly 3,800 students. It promotes Benedictine values while offering an inclusive learning environment. 

Students benefit from various learning formats. They can take on-campus classes at the Illinois or Arizona campuses. Learners can also choose hybrid or online degree paths. BC offers 14 degree and certificate programs entirely online.
Accreditation: Benedictine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

6. Bradley University
Peoria, Illinois

Popular degree programs: 

  • BA/BS in interdisciplinary innovation
  • BA/BS in general studies
  • MS in nursing; nursing administration
  • MA in nonprofit leadership
  • MA in counseling; clinical mental health counseling

Acceptance rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 76%

Bradley began as a polytechnic school in 1897. Over the past 125 years, it has grown to include eight colleges and schools. Students can pursue continuing education courses, full degree programs, and study abroad options.

Bradley offers mainly graduate programs online. Still, students with at least 90 undergraduate credits can complete their BA or BS through the general studies or interdisciplinary innovation programs. 

Accreditation: Bradley University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

7. Capella University
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Popular degree programs: 

  • RN-to-BSN
  • BS in business; accounting
  • BS in healthcare administration; healthcare administration leadership
  • MS in psychology
  • MS in information technology; cybersecurity

Acceptance rate: 100%
Graduation rate: 16%

Capella, a private, for-profit institution, offers over 160 online programs. As an online school, it helps busy adults pursue higher education in an innovative way. Students can choose two online learning formats: FlexPath or GuidedPath.

FlexPath helps learners save money by charging per term, not credit. Students complete the classes at their own pace. The GuidedPath offers some structure and classroom interaction.

Accreditation: Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

8. Lasell University
Auburndale, Massachusetts

Popular degree programs: 

  • Bachelor completion in business administration
  • Bachelor completion in interdisciplinary studies
  • MS in criminal justice
  • MS in rehabilitation science
  • MBA in sustainable fashion operations

Acceptance rate: 85%
Graduation rate: 60%

Founded in 1851, Lasell has offered online programs for more than 15 years. Students can choose from over 60 online degree programs

Lasell offers its over 1,700 enrollees several ways to save money. The Lasell Works program provides increasing scholarships for students who work and study online for their sophomore year. Learners can also earn credit for community service.
Accreditation: Lasell University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

9. Lewis University
Romeoville, Illinois

Popular degree programs: 

  • BA in organizational leadership
  • BA in criminal justice
  • BS in computer science
  • MS in data science
  • MS in health information management

Acceptance rate: 66%
Graduation rate: 67%

Lewis has provided a values-centered curriculum since its founding in 1932. Its Catholic and Lasallian roots help students pursue spiritual values while preparing for their careers.  

Enrollees can enjoy the 410-acre Illinois campus or complete a degree program online. Lewis offers several degree programs in an accelerated format, letting students complete two degrees in a shorter period. 

Accreditation: Lewis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Maryville University
St. Louis, Missouri

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in mathematics
  • BS in computer science
  • BS in marketing
  • MS in nursing; adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • MS in speech-language pathology

Acceptance rate: 95%
Graduation rate: 57%

Maryville offers more than 50 degree programs for its over 6,900 online learners. The simplified online admissions process removes any exam or fee requirements. Maryville also reports that 93% of full-time students receive financial aid.

Apple recognized Maryville as a distinguished school for its tech innovation. Online students experience some of that innovation with Maryville's digital learning platform.

Accreditation: Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

11. Penn State World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in political science
  • BS in health policy and administration
  • BS in turfgrass science
  • Master of professional studies in renewable energy and sustainability
  • Master of professional studies in data analytics

Acceptance rate: 78%
Graduation rate: 71%

Penn State began in 1855 and launched online courses through the Penn State World Campus in 1998. Today, over 20,000 students attend the Penn State World Campus. They benefit from career-focused curricula and professors experienced in teaching online. 

Penn State World Campus offers over 200 online programs. The college promises to provide an active learning environment and equip students with in-demand, marketable skills.
Accreditation: Penn State World Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

12. Rush University
Chicago, Illinois

Popular degree programs: 

  • MSN nursing leadership; clinical nurse leader
  • MS in clinical laboratory management
  • Ph.D. in nursing science
  • Doctor of nursing practice in neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Doctor of nursing practice in transformative leadership: population health

Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
Graduation rate: 83%

Part of the Rush University Medical Center, Rush offers healthcare degree programs online and on its Chicago campus. It offers primarily graduate programs, with mainly doctoral degrees available online. 

Rush provides hands-on training alongside leading healthcare practitioners. Even online students take part in real-world training, as many programs require campus visits and clinical hours.

Accreditation: Rush University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

13. Seton Hall University
South Orange, New Jersey

Popular degree programs: 

  • MA in police graduate studies program
  • MA in school counseling
  • MBA
  • MSN in adult-gerontology nurse practitioner
  • MS in accounting

Acceptance rate: 78%
Graduation rate: 70% 

A Catholic university, Seton Hall helps foster future leaders in heart, mind, and spirit. It began in 1856 and now serves nearly 10,000 students. Graduate students make up about 40% of the student body, and Seton Hall offers only graduate programs online

Students can select from various master's degree programs, several in nursing. Other online options include a doctorate in nursing and graduate certificates. 

Accreditation: Seton Hall University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

14. Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in health information management
  • BA in communication; public relations
  • BA in psychology; child and adolescent development
  • MBA in accounting
  • Master of education in curriculum and instruction; educational leadership

Acceptance rate: 94%
Graduation rate: 40%

SNHU helps online students save money by offering military discounts and accepting transfer credits. Students can transfer up to 90 undergraduate credits or 12 graduate credits. The per-credit tuition for online classes also has not increased for ten years.

Since 1932, SNHU has offered an alternative and flexible approach to education. The distance-learning program began in 1995 and now includes over 200 online degree programs

Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

15. St. John's University
Queens, New York

Popular degree programs: 

  • BS in business
  • MBA in enterprise risk management
  • MA in global development and social justice
  • MA in theology
  • MS in actuarial science

Acceptance rate: 75%
Graduation rate: 61%

St. John's is a Catholic and Vincentian university, founded in 1870. Students can attend one of the three New York City campuses or three European locations. St. John's also offers many degree and certificate programs online

The university helps develop solutions to social injustices and poverty, locally and globally. Its core values include service, opportunity, and respect.

Accreditation: St. John's University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

16. University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

Popular degree programs: 

  • BA in education sciences
  • BS in fire and emergency services
  • BS in journalism; sports and media
  • Master's in medication therapy management
  • Master's in wildlife forensic sciences and conservation

Acceptance rate: 31%
Graduation rate: 88%

UF began in 1853 as a small seminary. It has since grown to become a leading research university. In 2021, the school invested $960 million in funding toward approximately 8,000 ongoing research projects.

During the 2020-21 school year, about 11% of undergraduate students attended classes online. UF offers 24 undergraduate and dozens of graduate programs online. 

Accreditation: University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

17. Utica College
Utica, New York

Popular degree programs: 

  • BBA in business administration
  • BS in health sciences
  • BS in fraud and financial crime investigation
  • Master's in social work
  • MS in forensic accounting

Acceptance rate: 86%
Graduation rate: 51%

UC began as an extension of Syracuse University in the 1930s. It officially became a university in 1946 and now serves over 5,000 students. 

The institution offers almost 30 online degree and certificate programs. Students can choose various topics, from nursing to data science. Some degree programs — like the online MBA — also include specialization options. 

Accreditation: Utica College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

18. Walsh University
North Canton, Ohio 

Popular degree programs: 

  • BBA in accounting
  • BS in professional aviation
  • BS in game development
  • MA in counseling and human development; school counseling
  • MSN; family nurse practitioner

Acceptance rate: 77%
Graduation rate: 59%

A Catholic institution, Walsh has created leaders through service since 1960. The physical campus covers 136 acres. Working adults can benefit from the varied online degree and certificate programs. They can also customize their degree with concentrations.

Students enjoy an accelerated online format with personalized support from professors. Walsh may also grant credits for life experience or previous training. 

Accreditation: Walsh University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

19. Widener University
Chester, Philadelphia

Popular degree programs: 

  • AS or BS in allied health
  • Bachelor's in organizational development and leadership
  • RN-to-BSN-to-MSN
  • MBA
  • M.Ed. in instructional technology

Acceptance rate: 75%
Graduation rate: 60%

Over the past 200 years, Widener has evolved into a career-focused institution. It now offers 11 online degree programs and several certificate options. 

Students who want to finish their bachelor's degree at Widener can transfer up to 90 credits. Widener also offers accelerated online options. For example, learners can pursue a 4+1 program that combines a bachelor's and master's degree into only five years. 

Accreditation: Widener University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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