The internet has well and truly democratized information, but it’s all, shall we say, in a bit of a jumble.
To get genuine, focused content, we often have to purchase a membership to one of the many online learning platforms, such as Coursera, which is fine… if you can afford it.
Although Coursera does have some free classes, at $399 a year, the premium membership is one of the most expensive of the popular online learning platforms, and a full Coursera degree can set you back thousands of dollars.
The good news is that Coursera offers financial aid and scholarship programs for most of the available courses, and here’s how to apply for financial aid in Coursera!
Applying For Financial Aid In Coursera: A Step-By-Step Guide
I’ve got some more good news for you… it’s relatively easy to apply for financial aid when studying with Coursera. Here’s how you can get the ball rolling on your application.
Step 1. Verifying Your Identity
Before you begin the application process, you must first head over to your account settings menu and verify your identity.
To do so, you must provide three things…
- Some basic info — Your first name, your last name, your birthday, and the nationality of your ID
- A photo of some ID
- A photo of you
Don’t sweat it if you forget to complete this step first, as it can be completed after submission, but I’d recommend verifying ASAP.
Step 2. Choosing A Course
As mentioned earlier, Coursera (see also ‘Can I Get Certificate From Coursera During Free Trial‘)doesn’t offer financial aid for all of its courses.
To check if the course you’re interested in qualifies for financial aid, go to the course homepage on the Coursera website, and look for the “Financial Aid & Scholarships” section.
If the page says that the course is backed by financial aid programs, there’ll be a link that reads “Learn More & Apply”.
If this section is absent on the course page of your choice, then, sadly, Coursera won’t offer you a discounted or free ride no matter how suitable you are as a candidate.
Step 3. Follow The Link And Fill Out The Application
The form is composed of two prompts and you must respond to each one. You don’t have to write a full-blown essay, but each section needs to be at least 150 words long, and the more detailed it is, the better.
Remember, you’re essentially asking for money here, so you need to prove that you’re worthy.
The prompts are as follows…
- Why are you applying for financial aid?
- How will this course help you achieve your goals?
How To Respond To The Prompts
Of course, I can’t tell you exactly what to say, but I can tell you what the folks over at Coursera are looking for in a good application.
Your application needs to…
- Describe your financial circumstances — Here’s where you lay it all out in black and white. This will establish your base eligibility for financial aid, so it’s important to be as clear and honest as you can about your finances. If you’re struggling to get started, ask yourself why you’re in the financial situation you’re in — This is your opportunity to tell your story.
- Explain how paying full price for the course will cause financial hardship — Now’s the time to get more specific regarding your finances. Be as concrete as you can. Explain what you would go without if you had to pay full price. Perhaps there’s absolutely no feasible way that you could pay full price. Explain why this is the case.
- Explain your motivation for doing the course — Your application won’t be approved if you don’t have a good reason to do the course in question. For example, you can’t just feel like learning a bit of SEO because you’re interested in the subject. You have to show that you’re going to actively apply your knowledge to make a change in your life. Are you writing a thesis? Are you trying to join or start a business? Let the application committee of Coursera know how valuable the course will be to you.
- Show that you plan to abide by the Coursera Code of Conduct and Honor Code — In this section, you need to sell yourself as an honest and hardworking individual. Essentially, you’re promising that you’re not going to cheat in order to improve your own results or behave in a way that could jeopardize the results of your fellow coursemates.
- Explain how you want to give back to the Coursera community — You’re contributing to and being an outstanding member of the Coursera community is essentially how the platform extracts value from you when it won’t benefit from full payment. Show that you are willing to engage with the community and help others when they need it and that you’ll be active on the community discussion threads by asking and answering questions.
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Step 4. Submitting & Waiting Period
Once your form is filled out, select “Submit Application”, then wait for the results.
Application reviews can take as long as 15 days, so try to be patient. In the meantime, you may be able to activate audit mode and start your course for free.
Then, once your application has been approved, you can continue with the full course.
For certain courses, however, this is not an option, as you will have to wait at least two weeks after your application is approved before you can begin in earnest.
Coursera will only reach out to you over this period if there’s some sort of problem with your application, so no news is good news.
You can check the status of your application on the “Updates” section of your account, but Coursera will send an email to confirm or deny your application once reviewed.
That’s really all there is to it. With any luck, your application will be approved and you can begin your learning journey — Hooray!
If this is indeed the case, you’ll typically be granted 180 days to complete your course, so knuckle down, work hard, and most of all, enjoy!