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Where Can I Find Financial Aid to Attend Culinary Arts School?

Higher Education Articles July 25, 2014

Attending culinary school can be an expensive proposition. Tuition is costly, and just like with any other higher education institution, culinary school comes with added expenses such as room and board, books, and more. Not many people can afford to pay for the high costs of culinary school without a little financial help. For that reason, it is important to look into the possibility of financial aid for culinary school.

Choosing a School

The first step to starting a culinary arts career is choosing the best school. Luckily, there are culinary schools all over the U.S. and even abroad, if a student wants to go the extra mile. For those who want a quality culinary education in the U.S., schools like Le Cordon Bleu, Institute of Culinary Education (NYC), California Culinary Academy, Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, and the New England Culinary Institute, are some of the best culinary schools available. Of course, once a student has chosen a school, the next step is figuring out how to pay for it. That is where financial aid options come into the equation.

Financial Aid Options

Luckily for culinary students, financial aid is available in many forms. Just like with a traditional four-year college, everything from student loans to pell grants are available. Financial assistance to cover tuition, books, and housing can make a huge difference in a student’s ability to attend culinary school and pursue his or her dream, so it is important to take the time to fully understand and take advantage of any and all help available.

The following list of options is a good starting point when searching for financial aid for culinary school:

Scholarships – Generally merit-based for academic performance. They can be found by doing research and filling out application forms on sites like Scholarships do not have to be paid back and are a great source of free money to help a student attend culinary school.

Grants – Need-based (according to income). Do not have to be paid back unless student drops out of culinary school before the end of a semester, then repayment would be expected. Students can get more information on grants by checking with organizations like the International Food Service Executives Association, the American Institute of Baking, Religious organizations, Small businesses, Community groups, and more.

FAFSA – (Free Application for Federal Student Aid,) or FAFSA, is the most commonly known free student aid assistance available. FAFSA is based strictly on need rather than merit, and income, family size, and location are primary factors in FAFSA grant awards.

Federal Student Loans – The federal government offers two types of student loans: The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Interest rates are limited on these loans and repayment doesn’t begin until after graduation.

The options listed above are only a few ways a student can approach the problem of financial aid for culinary school. A lot of individuals choose to work while attending or postpone enrollment while saving. Friends and family members can help with tuition or a student can get creative and figure out other ways to raise money to attend. There is no question, culinary school is expensive and financial aid is challenging. However, for those who fight through the challenges, a culinary arts degree can have a huge payoff when it is all said and done.

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