13 questions everyone has about financial aid

June 07, 2021 · 4 min read · By ASU Online
Learn all about financial aid, from scholarships and grants, to applying for aid, to estimating your tuition costs and more.

How will I pay for college?

It’s the question most every college student asks before starting their educational journey. And we’re here to help answer it. Get the details on terms you need to know and answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about financial aid at Arizona State University and paying for college below.


What is financial aid?

Simply put, financial aid helps you pay for attending college. Depending on the type of aid, it may allow you to cover the costs of tuition, textbooks, school supplies and more education-related expenses.

Financial aid can come from federal, school and private sources and come in the form of grants, loans and scholarships.


Can I get financial aid if I take online classes?

Yes! ASU Online students can apply for financial aid the same as in-person students.

Get the details on financial aid for ASU Online students.


What are ASU financial aid office hours?

Office hours for each of ASU’s four financial aid offices are:

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday - Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Current or incoming ASU Online students can call the financial aid office at 855-278-5080. Financial aid agents are available to take your call 24 hours a day.

More information can be found at ASU’s financial aid and scholarship services page.


What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your gateway to getting financial aid and should be the first step for any student seeking help for paying for college. It can qualify you for grants, scholarships and student loans.

As the name implies, it costs nothing to apply. We highly recommended applying as early as possible each academic year as some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Get the details on how to apply for the FAFSA as an ASU Online student.


How long does it take for the FAFSA application to process?

If you submit the FAFSA online, the U.S. Department of Education will process your application within 3-5 days. If you submitted a paper FAFSA, your application will be processed within 7-10 days.


When does FAFSA open for 2021-22? 

The FAFSA opens each October 1 for the next academic year that starts Fall A and ends in Summer B. You will need a complete 2021-22 FAFSA on file for the academic year beginning Fall A 2021.

Two ASU students work together on a project.

What is a scholarship for college?

Scholarships are essentially free money to be used to pay for college. Scholarships do not need to be paid back as long as enrollment for the semester in which you receive the scholarship is maintained.


How do you get a scholarship for college?

We recommended starting with ASU’s scholarship search tool. You can filter your search to scholarships you’re likely to meet the criteria for. These filters include:

  • Academic level.
  • Estimated GPA.
  • Your major and college.
  • Which ASU campus you’ll attend.


Each scholarship has a page with criteria details and the deadline to apply for it.

Visit ASU Online’s scholarship opportunities page for more information and a link to the ASU’s scholarship search tool. You can also search for scholarships by department and college. These scholarships are usually restricted to students majoring in a particular academic discipline.


Can I get a scholarship for online classes?

Yes, some scholarships are available to online students. Not all scholarships will be available to online students, though. We encourage online students to read each scholarship’s criteria to confirm it’s not exclusively for on-campus students.


When to apply for online college scholarships?

You’ll want to check the deadline for the specific scholarship(s) you’re applying for. Some have specific deadlines while others are always open to applications.


What is a grant?

Grants are a form of financial aid that don’t need to be repaid as long as enrollment for the semester in which you receive the grant is maintained.

Grants can come from a variety of sources, with the most common being federal and state governments and the school you’re attending.


What is a federal grant?

Federal grants are distributed by the U.S. Department of Education. They offer several types of federal grants to students attending four-year colleges or universities.

The most commonly distributed federal grant is the Federal Pell Grant. It is awarded to undergraduate students with financial need who have not already earned a bachelor's, graduate or professional degree.

Learn more about Federal Pell Grants at studentaid.gov.


How do I get a federal grant?

As mentioned above, the first step to being awarded federal grants is to submit your FAFSA. Once your FAFSA is complete, ASU will provide you with information about the grants and scholarships you’re eligible for.


About ASU Online

Earn your degree completely online from the nation's most innovative university. ASU Online offers more than 300 degree programs and certificates in high-demand areas such as nursing, engineering, business, education and more. Explore all of our areas of study.

Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
  • Innovative curriculum design.
  • Superior student support services.

Learn more at our about us page. And follow ASU Online on Facebook, YouTube, X and Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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