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Discover Online Psychology Programs with Financial Aid

As a prospective or current psychology student, paying for school is probably top of mind for you. These scholarships and financial aid-friendly psychology programs ease your money stress.

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Author: Angela Myers

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Getting a psychology degree is a rewarding experience, but at times it can also be overwhelming. Between studying for exams, conducting research in your field, and doing clinical psychology rotations, you have plenty to worry about. Figuring out how to pay for college shouldn’t be added to the list.

Yet a 2021 research study found that financial stress is one of the biggest concerns for college students. Worrying about how to pay the next tuition bill can get in the way of your studies and disrupt your mental well-being, which is why it’s important to explore available financial aid opportunities.

If you want to ease your financial burden either before starting your degree or before your next semester, you’re in the right place. This guide details financial aid opportunities, including student loans, scholarships, and grants. It also reveals how to find a financial aid-friendly psychology program and discipline-specific financial aid opportunities. No matter your specific psychology discipline or how much aid you need, this guide has opportunities for every psychology student.

You deserve to focus on your studies without worrying about your bank account. Continue reading to learn how to make that your

A Look at Real Psychology Programs Online with Financial Aid

Whether you’re getting an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree in psychology, be sure to explore a college’s financial aid options before applying. The five programs below stand out in terms of comprehensive financial aid and a variety of specializations, from industrial psychology to school psychology.

Arizona State University

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Arizona State University has an amazing psychology department. Students choose between multiple degrees, including a bachelor’s or master’s in general psychology, a bachelor’s or master’s in forensic psychology, a bachelor’s or master’s in positive psychology, and a master’s in political psychology. All programs are available in an online format, cutting down on transportation costs and student fees. Tuition is determined by a student’s application, including their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information. When applying aid, the university considers a student’s geographic location, financial need, and degree level. If students enroll in a fully online program, they pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of whether they live in Arizona or not. The university states most students receive some sort of financial aid and offers a large number of scholarships. The school has a search tool to show which scholarships students are eligible for. Arizona State also offers degree-specific opportunities, such as the First Things First Early Childhood Therapist scholarship.

California Coast University

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Another great option for students at all educational levels is the psychology department at California Coast University. The school offers robust PhD, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees in psychology. Associate degree students complete foundational courses at $170 per unit (most classes are three units). Bachelor’s degree students have more wiggle room for electives; they take specialized courses along with foundational classes such as Introduction to Psychology. Tuition is the same as for associate degree students. Master’s students and PhD candidates pay $250 and $320 per unit, respectively. All students receive a tuition discount that starts at 10%, with the exact discount amount dependent on a student’s demonstrated financial need. The school also offers tuition payment plans so students can make monthly payments instead of paying for their tuition all at once. For additional savings, students can complete any of these degrees online, eliminating transportation costs and some student fees.

Louisiana State University

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When looking for an affordable and high-quality psychology program, consider the bachelor’s degree offered by Louisiana State University. The program provides a robust introduction to the field as well as the option to concentrate in one of five subdisciplines: applied behavioral analysis, clinical psychology, family psychology, general psychology, and industrial psychology. No matter which concentration a student chooses, the degree can be completed online, eliminating student fees and transportation costs. Online programs are also easier to balance with full-time or part-time work, meaning virtual students often have a healthier cash flow while getting their degrees. Louisiana State University’s bachelor’s degree costs $325 per credit, however the school offers various financial aid options. Students are automatically considered for scholarships awarded by the university. Out-of-state students pay in-state tuition rates for online programs.

Southern New Hampshire University

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One of the most affordable programs in the nation also happens to be one of the most flexible. Southern New Hampshire University offers fully online degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Undergraduate tuition is $330 per credit hour, while graduate students pay $637 per credit. The school also offers tuition discounts to veterans, active military personnel, and their spouses. Affordable tuition is only part of the reason Southern New Hampshire University made this list. The school also offers various scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Each student is assigned a financial counselor, and they work one-on-one to create a customized financial plan. This plan often includes scholarships and grants from the university as well as recommendations to apply for additional aid. The counselors also work with students to navigate employer reimbursement programs and student tax credits.

Walden University

Walden University’s psychology department is known for high-quality curricula, low tuition prices, and flexibility. Degrees at the doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s levels are offered in a fully online format. Depending on the degree type and a student’s preference, courses can be taken at set class times or in an asynchronous format in which students watch prerecorded lectures and complete class activities on their own schedule. Students specialize in various subfields including adolescent psychology, educational psychology, clinical psychology, and more. At the master’s and doctoral levels, students also have the opportunity to conduct research. Tuition varies by program. For example, the bachelor’s in psychology with a specialization in child and adolescent development requires 181 quarter credit hours at a cost of $340 per quarter hour. The master’s in developmental psychology requires 48 quarter credits at a cost of $570 per quarter hour. For comparison, the PhD in clinical psychology requires 143 quarter credits plus additional quarter credits for the dissertation at a cost of $525 per quarter hour. For the PhD you’ll also need to pay for residencies and in-residence supplemental tuition. The university has many discounts, including tuition discounts for veterans, employees at partner companies, applicants referred by alumni, those who demonstrate financial need, and family members of Walden students or alumni. To bring the price down even more, the school offers financial aid packages. Many scholarships are degree-specific, such as the doctor of psychology in behavioral health leadership scholarship and the master’s in industrial psychology scholarship.

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Financial Aid Options for Psychology Students

Finding a school with a strong financial aid package is important, but most students benefit from applying to additional financial aid opportunities as well. Government agencies and private organizations offer multiple aid types. The three most common are outlined below, with examples of each.

Scholarships

Almost every psychology student should apply for scholarships. Scholarships are money given to students without expectation of repayment. Many groups provide scholarships, including universities, federal and state governments, and private organizations. Scholarships also have diverse eligibility requirements; some are merit-based while others are determined by financial need. Some scholarships require applicants to be from a specific discipline; others are open to all students.

Often, discipline-specific scholarships are less competitive; there are fewer psychology students than college students in general. Applying to scholarships tailored to psychology and your degree level can increase your chance of receiving financial aid.

Grants

Grants are similar to scholarships: Students receive money for their education without the expectation they will pay back the award. The main difference between scholarships and grants is that grants often have additional requirements. For psychology-specific grants, the additional requirement is that students complete a predefined research project in exchange for winning the grant.

Since research within psychology is important, government agencies and private organizations allocate significant grant funding to psychology students at the undergraduate, master’s, and PhD levels.

Loans

Loans may be the most common type of financial aid. According to the Federal Reserve, more than four in ten adults who attended college took on student loans. Due to their high demand, loan applications are often easy to complete. But before you fill out any applications, you should be aware of the different types of loans.

Student loans are not created equal. Loans subsidized by the government or no-interest loans, such as the Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program, are often more sustainable than unsubsidized loans, which have higher interest rates. If you work while getting your graduate degree, you may also have to make loan payments while studying, though most full-time students can defer payment until after graduation.

Eligibility & Application Checklist for Financial Aid

Every financial aid opportunity has its own requirements. One scholarship requires short answers and essays while another replaces written components with an interview. However, many applications share some common requirements. Try these tips to make the application process easier.

Complete the FAFSA Early

Before applying for any financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA is a government form where you input information about your financial situation and the government provides a federal aid package. Along with federal aid, many private organizations, universities, and state governments ask for the FAFSA and use your responses to determine financial need. The application deadline varies by school. The FAFSA is free to fill out at studentaid.gov.

Thoroughly Review Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

It’s not a great feeling to start a financial aid application, only to realize you’re not eligible. To ensure you’re using your time strategically, review the eligibility criteria and requirements before applying. Usually, a financial aid opportunity has the requirements listed on a website or the application package, so don’t skip reading all application instructions.

Check Deadlines and Apply Early

Too many students spend time on scholarship applications, only to realize the deadline was last week. When this happens, they lose opportunities and the time it took to fill out the application. To avoid this fate, check deadlines and add them to your calendar. On top of adding deadlines, it’s also good to assign milestones or tasks each week between now and the deadline so you know you’re on track.

Gather all of the Necessary Documents

Before submitting an application, make sure you’ve gathered all the necessary documentation. If applying for a scholarship for your PsyD degree, for example, you most likely want to gather transcripts from your undergraduate and master’s programs. You may need other opportunity-specific documents as well. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly review an application before starting on it.

Receive Feedback on Supplemental Materials

Many financial aid applications require essays, statements of purpose, and short answer questions. While it can be tempting to whip these up as fast as possible, be thoughtful in filling them out — and careful in editing them. To make the editing process smoother, ask a trusted friend, teacher, tutor, or writing center consultant to review written materials. Many universities have free tutoring or writing center resources to help.

Review Award Letters

Once you know what loans, grants, and psychology scholarships you’ve received, it’s time for the final step: Review the award letters. When reviewing, pay attention to university-specific financial aid. This helps you determine the price for each school and know which are in your budget. You should also pay attention to how many opportunities require payment with interest and how many have no strings attached, such as scholarships.