Depending upon the type of music school you select, your tuition can run between $6,000 and $35,000 per year. Fortunately, most students will be offered some form of financial aid to help pay for their education expenses. Types of Financial Aid
There are three main types of financial aid for music school:
- Grants: Grants are financial aid awarded based on need. The most common types of federal grants are the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
- Scholarships: Scholarships are like grants in that the money you receive will not need to be repaid. However, scholarships consider factors such as academic merit and musical ability in addition to your financial need.
- Loans: If you do not obtain enough grant and scholarship money for your tuition, you will be able to apply for student loans. The interest rate on these loans is relatively low, but it is important to be aware of the fact that your debt can’t normally be discharged through a bankruptcy proceeding. Therefore, you should only borrow what is truly necessary to pay for your educational expenses.
Most students pay for music school using a combination of grants, scholarships, and loans. However, you may receive only enough financial aid to pay for your tuition, fees, books, supplies, and living expenses as determined by the school you attend. This means that a large scholarship award will reduce your Pell Grant eligibility or the amount of money you are allowed to borrow as a federal student loan.
Applying for Financial Aid
To apply for grants and loans, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form will ask for information about your income and assets as determined by your previous year’s tax return. Unless you are 24, married, have children, are a military veteran, or a ward of the state, you will also need to provide information for your parents. It does not matter if they are planning to help with the cost of your music school education; there is simply a defined set of criteria for determining a student’s dependency status. In most cases, students with parents who are divorced will need to provide income and asset information only for the parent who has legal custody.
Scholarship applications can be obtained through the music school you wish to attend or through private sources, such as your high school and local nonprofit arts organizations. Many scholarships are awarded based partially on financial need, so you will need to have completed the FAFSA in order to be eligible. Scholarships that are specifically for music school majors will typically require a recorded performance in addition to your paper application, although your school audition may be acceptable in some circumstances.