Mistake #4: Not Applying for Grants and Scholarship
The costs of culinary school – though notoriously high – don’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, the majority of students receive some sort of financial assistance, whether in the form of loans, scholarships, grants, or work-study programs.
Learn What Grants and Scholarships are Offered through the School
Almost every culinary school has a financial aid department. Most of them offer financial planning services that provide advice and assistance on identifying and applying for financial aid of all kinds. However, while this can be a great resource, don’t rely solely on the department to help you finance school. Their first goal is to get you to sign up for their school; how you pay is really up to you.
You should always begin by filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) from. This is the national standard in education funding, and it determines your financial eligibility for grants, loans, and work-study programs.
This eligibility is based almost entirely on your income, your parents’ income (if you are under 23 and unmarried), and the amount of money the school has available.
If you qualify for grants or work-study, it’s usually a good idea to take advantage of these options, since they don’t require repayment. Remember, though, that all loans will need to be repaid. If there’s another way to pay for school, use that first.
Many culinary schools also have their own scholarships, which you can find by looking on their website or by talking with your financial aid adviser on site. Unfortunately, these are usually something that everyone wants to take advantage of, so you can safely assume that the competition will be fierce.
While this should never stop you from applying, you may need to look elsewhere for money. Good places to look include:
- Professional culinary organizations
- High school counselors
- Employers (food industry and other)
- The Internet
This last option might be your best one, since many online resources make it their job to find the best funding opportunities available today. No matter what else you do, be sure to take the time and apply.
Although the scholarship application process can be time-consuming and frustrating, the only way to get money is to ask.