How to Find Funding For You Culinary School Education
Deciding to attend school to receive your culinary, hospitality management, or pastry arts degree is a proactive step towards increasing your opportunities in the employment world. Obtaining your Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Certificate, or Diploma will better prepare you to receive an entry-level position in a professional kitchen setting.
However, the college application process is an overwhelming and daunting process. Aside from your concerns about the admissions process for a specific institution, you probably have questions about paying for your education.
If you or your family is low on educational funds, you should not be deterred from applying to an accredited culinary institution. There are a variety of different financial aid opportunities available for eligible prospective chefs and pastry artists, and it is critical that you are informed about your options so that you can receive the type of assistance that is best suited towards your needs.
This article will help you learn about how to find available culinary scholarships and grants. Read some of the basic information provided below so that you are better prepared to determine the type of financial aid you should be seeking.
Most accredited schools with culinary programs offer financial aid officers and representatives that will work with prospective students, and these counselors are valuable resources to keep in mind as you tackle the financial aid process.
Need Versus Merit
There are two-types of financial aid that you may receive when applying for assistance: need-based financial aid or merit-based financial aid. What is the difference between the two?
Need-based aid is given by the federal government and is determined by the assets and income of your family. Once you fill out your Free Application for Student Aid (known as FAFSA) you will be able to determine your eligibility for such funding.
Merit-based aid can be rewarded based on a variety of factors including an outstanding academic transcript or skills in a particular area. The majority of merit-based financial aid comes from a range of scholarships.
There are many merit-based culinary financial aid options for students who have excelled in the kitchen. Regardless of your family's financial situation, you should pursue specific scholarships that may be geared toward your strengths in order to alleviate the financial burden of attending a secondary college.
Grants are known as "gift aid" because, unlike a loan, it is not a form of financial aid that needs to be repaid. Grants can come from the specific college or university that you are attending or the federal or state government. Your eligibility to receive a government-funded grant will be determined after you fill out your FAFSA profile.
Federal grant money is primarily need-based, rather than merit-based (although sometimes students must meet a minimum GPA requirement). Some of the grants issued by The United States Department of Education that you will most likely come across in your research are listed below:
Federal Pell Grants: this is the most popular form of grant that is generally issued to students who have yet to obtain their bachelor's or professional degree
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): this is a form of school-based aid that is administered to those students receiving a Pell grant with the most urgent financial need.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH): This grant is provided for prospective students that are committed to pursuing certain types of classes and educational paths that are low-income and high-need fields of study.
Outside grants: Apart from need-based grants offered by the government, there are a variety of outside grants provided by different private organizations that are interested in helping to fund an aspiring chef or pastry artist's education.
There are numerous scholarship opportunities available for you to pursue and similar to grants, scholarship money does not have to be repaid. Scholarships can be offered by third-party agencies, the specific college or university you are attending, or certain federal agencies.
Most scholarships are merit-based and awarded to individuals that are exceptional in a specific field or area of study.
For example, The American Culinary Federation offers educational scholarships to amateur chefs looking to receive their degree. This organization offers scholarships for specific schools, including The Chef's Academy and Johnson & Wales University.
However, you don't need to have any special extracurricular talents to win scholarship money‚ novice chefs still looking to go to culinary school may receive a scholarship because of their proven academic excellence throughout high school.
It is possible to receive a full-scholarship or only a partial scholarship to attend college, but this is dependent on what the specific organization or school is offering. Keep your eyes open for scholarships that may be geared towards you.
There are thousands of opportunities out there that may reduce the cost of your culinary school tuition. To find suitable culinary scholarships, begin by talking to a financial aid adviser at one of your prospective schools, then look up various organizations online.
A loan is money offered to you that you are borrowing and eventually paying back, with added interest. Student loans can come from both federal or private agencies, yet federal loans are the most common and generally offer more flexible pay-back plans.
Here are the types of loans that you may come across most frequently in your research:
Stafford Subsidized Loans: a loan offered to students with financial need. Your school determines the amount you can borrow and the U.S. Department of Education pays interest for certain periods of time on the loan
Stafford Unsubsidized Loans: available to students who may or may not have financial needs. Your school will again determine the amount you are able to borrow. You are required to pay interest on the loan during all periods.
Perkins Loans: low-interest federal student loans for kids with exceptional financial need. Not all schools participate in the Perkins program so make sure you check with the institution beforehand.
Work study programs provide students with part-time employment (generally on-campus at their specific institution) to earn money that will help them pay for their own education. These jobs generally relate to a student's course of study.
For instance, as a culinary student you may be asked to work your school's on campus eatery or restaurant. The intention of the work study program is to help kids pay their way through school while getting hands-on experience in the employment world.
Now that you know the different kinds of financial aid that are out there for you to pursue, you should continue to explore culinary-specific scholarships and grants you may be able to earn. You should be able to reach your educational goals and not be deterred by the tuition costs of a specific college or institution.
Seek out a financial aid adviser at the school you are interested in, fill out your FAFSA profile, and contact organizations that provide accredited culinary scholarships.
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.