How to Afford Culinary School
Culinary school, life other types of higher education, can be extremely expensive. Depending on the institution you attend, you can pay as much as ,000 a year for tuition and fees.Although the prospect of financing your education might seem daunting, you can make culinary school affordable with a little planning, some financial assistance, and thrifty living.
Planning for Culinary School
Start a savings account.If the resources were available, your parents may have started a savings account for your education when you were young. You should use this money to help pay for culinary school. If you do not already have a savings account, start one and begin putting a little in it each month.
- If you have a job, consider putting 10% of your income into savings each month.
- 529 college savings plans are particularly popular because they defer taxes on savings if the student attends an eligible institution. Although some institutions may not be eligible, you can use your 529 plan to attend certain culinary schools.
Earn money in high school.In order to put more money in your culinary school savings account, you should consider working a part-time job while in high school. Working a job in the evenings and on the weekends can help you set aside a fair amount of money. Find something that looks interesting and fits your schedule.
- You can start your own business doing things like yard work, babysitting or dog-walking.
- You could also consider working picking up a job as a waiter, lifeguard or laborer.
Consider your goals.As you are looking at schools, determine what it is you want out of the educational experience. You can attend a culinary school, which focuses strictly on the culinary arts or attend a college with a culinary program, where you will take culinary arts classes and classes outside of your major.Look at the expenses of the various schools that you are interested in and determine which one is the best educational and financial investment.
- Although a culinary school may be cheaper, it will largely only train you to work in the culinary arts.
- If you change your career path, a degree from a four-year institution may help you find opportunities outside of the culinary arts.
Applying for Financial Aid
Research financial aid options.Once you have determined what type of school you will be attending, you should look into what kind of aid you will be eligible for. There are many different kinds of state and federal aid available to students with financial need. Talk with a counselor at your school or a financial aid supervisor at the institution you are thinking about attending.
- You can ask your counselor things like “what financial aid do I qualify for?” or “how do I apply for financial aid?”
- Financial aid can include scholarships, grants, and loans.
Complete the FAFSA.The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of financial aid options to students planning to get a post-secondary education. In order to qualify for this financial aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form takes into account your financial background to determine if you qualify for government assistance.
- You should complete the application the January before you start college.
- Completing the FAFSA will help determine what types of federal grants and loans you qualify for.
Look for grants and scholarships.Grants and scholarships are basically monetary gifts that do not need to be repaid.Research and determine which scholarships and grants you may apply for. Many scholarships and grants are merit-based, so you will want to keep your grades up and be an active member of your community.
- Depending on your background, you may qualify for federal Pell grants, which do not have to be repaid.
- Consult with your guidance counselor or a financial aid adviser at your prospective school.
Check out food service related scholarships.When looking for scholarships as a culinary student, your state’s restaurant association might be a good place to start your search. You may also want to see if you qualify for any scholarships from groups like the International Food Service Executives Association or the American Institute of Baking.
- Scholarships from these organizations can help you meet the cost of attending a four-year college or vocational school.
Take out a loan.Because of the high price, many people take out student loans to pay for their education. These can be federal or private loans. Federal loans tend to be a better option because they have lower interest rates, offer flexible repayment plans, and, in certain instances, allow loan forgiveness if you work a certain job.
- Consult with your counselor or a financial aid adviser.
Apply for work-study programs.The Federal Work-Study program allows students to work part-time jobs in order to help pay for their education expenses. These programs often encourage students to work jobs that meet community needs or are related to their course of study. As a culinary student, you may find yourself working in a food service position on campus.
Join the military.Military service is another option to look into when considering how to pay for culinary school. The GI Bill, which helps pay for the educational expenses of active and former members of the U.S. military, can be used to pay for culinary school.In fact, the different military branches offer culinary arts programs that can prepare you for a career in the food service industry.
- If you are interested in being a culinary specialist in the U.S. Army, you will need to score at least an 85 on the Food Operators section of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Your scores on this exam help determine what role you will serve in the U.S. Army.
Saving Money in Culinary School
Find a roommate.One way to save some money in college is to avoid living alone. Depending on where you live, a roommate can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in rent. If you are looking at culinary schools, this is particularly important because most institutes do not have student housing. Put up an add on Craigslist or in your local newspaper looking for a roommate, or use those services to find someone interested in a roommate.
- If you are in the same city as your parents, you might consider living with them.
- Be wary of Craigslist postings and never go look at a place by yourself.
Buy used books and supplies.Books and school supplies can be very expensive and cost a few thousand dollars a year. As a culinary student, you will want to look into buying used uniforms and equipment, which will be a large part of your student expenses. Also, in order to save some money, buy used books from your university bookstore or get them online.
- Check Craigslist for people looking to sell their used gear.
- You could also contact students from the previous year and see if any of them are selling their stuff.
Take advantage of student discounts.Many businesses offer student discounts for their goods or services. These deals often include marked down prices simply by showing your student ID. Take advantage of these offers when you have the chance. You can often find these discounts at the beginning of the school year for various supplies and sometimes your books.
- There are often student discounts for more frivolous things like movies, concert tickets, and food.
Use public transportation or ride a bike.If you live in an area that has public transportation, take advantage of this service to get to school. This will save you money on gas and servicing your car. Some schools include free public transit passes with enrollment. If you own a bike, you might also consider biking to school. This is a cheap and healthy means of transport.
- If your city does not have good bike trails, be careful when cycling in traffic.
Budget responsibly.The best way to make school more affordable is to budget wisely. If you create a budget and stick to it, you will be able to avoid having to use things like your credit card, which can quickly leave you in debt. When you start culinary school, write out all of your expenses and your income. Make a plan and stick to it.
- Be sure to pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and interest charges.
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