After the excitement of hunting and applying for an art school, paying for your art education becomes the biggest source of anxiety. The typical college student won’t have the ready cash to cover a full degree’s worth of classes and materials, but there are plenty of other options out there. Here are five of the most widely used.
FINANCIAL AID CENTER
First off, the best answers can come from the most obvious place. Your future school is sure to have resources available for their students, so try giving them a call or heading over to their website’s financial aid page. Most will have specific financial aid offices dedicated to people like you. If you’re feeling completely out of you depth on the issue of paying for college, this is the very best place to start learning from scratch.
Don’t forget that financial aid centers also exist elsewhere for free. If you’re still a high school student looking ahead to college, drop by the office or talk to a counselor. You might be able to pick up tips, pamphlets, and fliers with sound advice.
College loans present a fair trade off to the average student: you borrow the money to pay for the art education you can’t afford at the time, and then pay it back incrementally when you’ve completed college and find yourself in a better place to support yourself. Federally funded student loans are cheaper than the typical loan because the government sets a limit on the amount of interest that can be charged. In addition, no payments are required until six months after graduation. Private loans, on the other hand, need to be more carefully researched because they don’t carry the same guarantees as federal ones. But they often allow students to borrow more money, and as long as you stay on top of all the rules and deadlines, they can be a valuable financial asset.
Learn more about the ins-and-outs of both kinds of loans here.
Grants are loans’ better half-they offer the money to fund your art education, but you never have to pay them back! There are all kinds of different grants, from those sponsored by the federal government to privately funded ones that set guidelines based on need, merit, and a number of other factors. The process of applying for a grant can be a long and arduous one, sometimes as difficult as the college application itself, but the reward of “free” money makes it all worthwhile in the end.
More about art school grants and how to apply for them.
SCHOLARSHIPS AND CONTESTS
Scholarships can be a tricky business. On the one hand, there are literally thousands of them out there, offering to help you get through college for nothing more than an essay, or a picture, or a video, or even just an idea. On the other hand, while they can be an amazing source of funding for your college education, they’re never a guaranteed one. It’s best never to pin all your hopes and all your financial aid plans on getting a single scholarship; look at winning one as an unexpected and delightful windfall. With the amount of people hunting online for them, the competition is getting ever stiffer, and you’ll need to pick and choose which ones you apply to.
Contests, similar to scholarships, offer free money or other rewards for standing out from the rest of the pack. Large contests, some of them even international, can have truly mind-boggling prizes. But because you’re competing with a pool that includes more than just college students, the odds are oftentimes tipped even further against you.
Learn more about where to find scholarships and contests, as well as tips on improving your chances of winning.
In addition to the most popular financial aid solutions we have listed here, there are other sources of valuable information. Try cruising websites and forums devoted to the subject to yield helpful results. People who have gone through the confusing process themselves are usually ready to hand out advice; you might even apply this concept to your daily life and ask friends or coworkers who are in college or have graduated. Just be careful to stay away from scams and remember that not everything you hear is true.
Not having $10,000, $20,000, or even $40,000 of cash on hand doesn’t mean you have to forgo the art education of your dreams. Opportunities for funds, whether given on a loan or with no strings attached, abound in this day and age. As long as you’re willing to do a little bit of extra work, there should be no reason to let money get in the way of studying art.