Five Tips for Finding Culinary School Financial Aid
Getting a culinary education can be an expensive undertaking, especially if you’re looking at one of the top culinary schools. That’s because big names like Le Cordon Bleu and Institute of Culinary Education offer top-notch training, but they come with a top-notch price tag, as well.
Even if you do look at a more modest culinary arts program at either a private or public facility, you could be facing tens of thousands dollars of tuition and room and board costs.
Fortunately, culinary education is like most other forms of education, and there are avenues for finding and securing financial aid. Any student serious about attending a cooking school or baking school should be sure to check out options in financial aid before applying – the time investment is almost always well worth the financial benefits.
Before you start, however, here are five key tips to keep in mind:
File your FAFSA early. State due dates for the FAFSA form vary, but no matter where you live, it’s best to get it in as early in the year as possible. Federal and state funding are limited, so the earlier you get in, the better your chances of getting grants.
Don’t assume culinary school is less relevant than any other degree. Many culinary students assume that not going to a university or community college means that they aren’t eligible for grants and scholarships. This isn’t true; in fact, some scholarships look specifically for students in this type of vocational training.
Even if your parents aren’t contributing dollars and cents to your culinary education fund, they can still contribute. For example, if you have a parent with a military past, you may qualify for special veteran scholarships. Your parent’s employer might also have funds set aside for scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.
Match your culinary school to your unique situation. Your goals, your lifestyle, your location, and your skills are all going to influence where you go to cooking school and for how long. Don’t invest any more money than you need to for what you want out of your culinary education.
Beware of scholarship scams. You should never be required to pay a fee for scholarship or grant consideration, and promises that seem too good to be true probably are. Getting financial aid is hard work, and any company that promises otherwise is lying.
As with most things, doing your homework will go a long way in helping you pay for culinary school. Start looking early and take the time to do everything right. It will pay off in the end.
Be sure to read our article Finding and Applying for Culinary Scholarships and Grants
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.