The process of applying for student aid at an online college is similar to the application process at a traditional school. To be eligible, students must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA becomes available online on October 1 annually; students should start preparing their FAFSA form as soon as possible, as many awards are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Note that students applying for student aid must be enrolled at an online college that has been accredited by a federally recognized accreditation agency. The status of an online student (full time or part time) may also affect their eligibility to receive aid.