Transfer Scholarships and Grants For Online Colleges: Finding Affordable Education

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One-third of college students transfer from school to school. Some transfer for better academic opportunities. Others, on the other hand, transfer for financial purposes. Students will find it extremely beneficial to apply for transfer scholarships and grants for online colleges.

It’s no secret that higher education costs have increased significantly over the years. The NCES’ data states that the average annual cost of an undergraduate degree jumped from $25,280 in 2019-20 to $27,673 in 2022-23. The overall cost of college education will continue to increase, with no signs of slowing down.

Fortunately, students today have the option to pursue online colleges. These colleges are known for their affordability. Similar to traditional colleges, they also offer aid.

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Online transfer students can apply for scholarships and grants. They can use these aids to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Moreover, these opportunities allow them to focus more on their studies. Ultimately, opportunities increase the chances of student success.

Continue reading to learn more about transfer scholarships and grants. We will also provide tips on where to search for these opportunities.

What are Transfer Scholarships and Grants?

Transferring schools brings many challenges. As a transfer student, you may have a hard time adjusting to the new academic standards and learning environment. On top of this, you might also lose your current financial aid program (if you have any).

Online colleges can be the best alternative to expensive traditional schooling. Yet, it’s still important to find ways to manage the cost of education.

Enter transfer scholarships and grants.

What are the grants for online colleges?

Grants are usually need-based, but some are merit-based. Grants can come from many sources. You can typically find them in federal and state governments, private organizations, and sometimes your institution.

Government Grants

Federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education are mainly based on financial need.

Pell Grant

For undergraduates without a prior degree.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Available for undergraduates with financial need.


This is for students preparing to teach in high-need fields. Requires a teaching commitment.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

For students whose parent or guardian died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

State Grants

Some grants come from your state government and are awarded by your school after they receive your FAFSA information.

In most cases, you don’t need to pay back the grants you receive. However, some grant programs may require you to do so. Here are some instances where students are obliged to pay back the grants:

  1. Early withdrawal from courses
  2. Reduced enrollments status
  3. Received outside aid that lowered financial need
  4. Violated eligibility requirements

What is a scholarship for online college?

Scholarships for online schooling are gift aids. Unlike loans and some grants for online college, you don’t need to repay them. There are various types of scholarships available to transfer students.

Academic Scholarships

Granted based on a student’s academic achievements. These include high GPAs or standardized test scores.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Awarded to students upon evaluating their skills, talents, or accomplishments in a field of study.

Need-Based Scholarships

Considers a student’s financial need.

You may ask, what’s the difference between traditional and online degree scholarships and grants?

The main difference between these two opportunities is the target audience. Online degree scholarships and grants for transfer students are for students transferring from one college or university to another. On the other hand, the other types of scholarships and grants may target other groups, such as Women in STEM and freshmen.

Another differentiating factor is eligibility criteria. Some aids require transfer students to meet certain credit hours from their previous school or program.

If you’re transferring to a new school, applying for institutional scholarships and grants might be different. Typically, new students are automatically considered for these funds. However, transfer students often need to submit a separate application to be eligible for these financial aid programs. This ensures they are properly evaluated based on their unique academic background and needs.

Why Online Colleges Offer Transfer-Specific Scholarships and Grants

Students are deciding to pursue online learning. The flexibility this modality offers allows students to keep a job that’ll help them pay for tuition. Moreover, online colleges eliminate the cost of transportation and relocation.

The worry of online colleges not providing enough financial aid was a prevalent problem before. Today, these colleges are competing with their traditional counterparts, offering students various opportunities to pay for college.

Transfer-specific scholarships and grants benefit both the student and the institution.

Financial aid for online degrees offers students financial relief. Many of these opportunities cover tuition costs, textbooks, and other educational expenses. Moreover, it also serves as a gateway for educational and career advancement.

Online university scholarships and grants also benefit the institution. They attract more students by offering incentives and affordable options, encouraging those who started their education elsewhere to transfer to their programs. The benefits include:

  1. Higher enrollment rates.
  2. More talented students who, alternatively, attract more school donors.
  3. A diverse and culturally aware environment.

How to Find Transfer Scholarships and Grants for Online Colleges

Where can you get grants for online colleges and transfer scholarships? Everywhere! 

Transfer scholarships and grants for online colleges can be found in your state and local government, college/university, and even your employer. Here are some tips on where to search for these opportunities:

College Websites

Start on the official websites of online colleges.

Financial Aid Offices

Contact the financial aid offices directly.

Scholarship Search Engines

Utilize online scholarship search engines such as Scholarship360,, Going Merry, and

Professional Organizations

Find opportunities in industry-specific professional organizations.


Check with your employer or inquire with companies in your industry.

Nonprofit Organizations

Research opportunities available in your area or through national nonprofit organizations.

State-Specific Programs

Explore state-specific scholarship programs for transfer students.

Private Donors and Foundations

Research scholarships by private donors, foundations, and philanthropic organizations.

Eligibility Requirements for Transfer Scholarships and Grants

Online transfer grants and scholarships will have different specific requirements. Some programs might look at your academic achievements, while others will consider your financial needs. It’s important to read the terms and conditions of online college transfer scholarships and grants.

Nevertheless, here are the common eligibility criteria:

Academic Achievement

Many require a minimum GPA or specific academic performance in previous coursework.

Financial Need

Some prioritize students with financial need. It is determined by completing the FAFSA or similar forms.

Essay or Personal Statement

Many of these opportunities require applicants to submit essays or personal statements. You should always carefully outline goals and valuable experiences.


This criteria boosts your application materials. You can ask your teacher, employer, or community leader to create one for you.

Pro tip: Always maintain a good academic standing. The higher your grades are, the more online college transfer scholarships and grants you qualify for.

You can also apply for scholarships that do not specify what type of students they’re for. You’ll be a competitive applicant as long as you have an excellent academic track record. 

Application Process for Transfer Scholarships and Grants

The process of applying for scholarships can be intimidating. It’s particularly challenging for transfer students without much prior scholarship application experience. But don’t worry; here are a few pointers and techniques you may use to improve your chances of being awarded a scholarship/grant as a transfer student.

  1. Start Early

Researching and applying for scholarships at a later date might not give you many options. These opportunities are limited, and late applications might mean there will be none left for you. It’s ideal to start the search 6-8 months before you transfer.

  1. Identify Eligibility Criteria

Check if any specific documents are required beyond the general application (e.g., GPA minimum, major).

  1. Prepare Required Documents

Begin gathering and preparing required documents as soon as possible to avoid last-minute stress. These typically include:

  • Essays or Personal Statements
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • If applicable, documents demonstrating financial need.
  • Complete the Application(s)
  1. Complete the Application(s)

Fill out all required forms. Double-check for any additional documents specific to each scholarship. Missing details, even basic information, might void your application.

  1. Submit Applications

While you can submit applications by the specified deadlines, submitting them earlier is suggested. Submitting days before the deadline allows the committee to review your application thoroughly, potentially giving you an advantage. Consequently, missing deadlines could lead to disqualification.

After submitting your application, you should monitor your email and any online portals for updates. In most cases, scholarships and grants would want a confirmation on your end if you’re accepted. If you don’t reply to them for days, this might send the wrong message. Respond promptly to requests for additional information or documents.

If the notification is taking too long, you can send a follow-up email. Do so professionally, and do not spam them with multiple emails. 


Transfer scholarships and grants help reduce the rising costs of college, making online schools a practical option for affordable education. These opportunities benefit the students by alleviating their financial stress. It also benefits the institutions as they attract more talented students. 

You should seek these funding options for a more affordable and sustainable college education. These opportunities will help you avoid loans and motivate you to always do better in your studies to maintain eligibility for many scholarships and grants.