While postsecondary education provides many benefits in terms of developing your general knowledge and building lifelong friendships with your classmates, it is a good idea to consider the overall cost of your education before enrolling in a particular program. This is especially important if you’re thinking about studying in an area that doesn’t typically result in positions with high wages. You do not want to graduate from music school with student loan debt that you will be unable to repay, since this will make it hard to achieve financial goals such as being able to purchase your first home.
Calculating the Cost of Music School
The cost of music school varies widely. The cheapest option will be to study at a public university in your home state. Because they are supported by tax dollars, public universities offer very affordable tuition for state residents. Out-of-state residents typically pay much more to earn their degrees. For example, tuition at the University of Houston was $8,532 for state residents and $14,108 for out-of-state students during the 2010-2011 academic year. However, if you decide to take a year off to work before attending music school, you may be able to establish residency and earn the cheaper tuition rate. Contact the admissions officer at the school you wish to attend for details.
Private colleges and universities do not generally charge different rates based on your residence because they don’t receive tax dollar support for their academic programs. For example, Wartburg College had tuition costs of $30,110 for the 2010-2011 academic year regardless of whether or not you qualified as an Iowa resident. If you have a strong academic record and considerable musical talent, however, you may be offered enough scholarship aid to make a private college or university just as affordable as attending a public college or university as an out-of-state student.
Music schools that are part of a specialized performing arts program are comparable in price to a private college or university. For example, tuition at Julliard was $32,180 for the 2010-2011 academic year. Admission is very competitive, however, and only the very best students can expect to be offered scholarship assistance.
Many students hope to cut the cost of music school by living off campus with several roommates or living at home and commuting to the school of their choice. Unfortunately, a growing number of programs now require students to live in dormitories during their first year of music school. If you’re hoping to save money by changing your living arrangements, investigate your school’s requirements carefully before making your final decision.
When researching the cost of music school, don’t forget that the “sticker price” of an institution is not nearly as important as the financial aid package you are offered. The federal student loans and grants you can receive by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be the same at every institution. However, differences in school sponsored aid can be substantial. Speak with an admissions officer from the program you wish to attend to learn how to apply for any scholarships that may be able to reduce your out-of-pocket tuition costs.