You’ve Made Your Choice…Now What?
You’ve decided to go to beauty school. Maybe you just graduated from high school, or you are looking for a new career. The fact remains: you have determined that you are ready to take the reigns and do something about it. The next obvious question, aside from where to study, is where the money will come from.
Whether you want to cut hair or be able to offer a variety of salon services, getting to that place is going to be expensive, no matter where you go. Cosmetology school can cost anywhere from $6,000 to even triple that cost, or more, depending on the school and which area of the country in which you choose to study. In our current economy, that sounds scary. Thankfully, you can rest a little easier and put those fears aside. There is a variety of options right at your finger tips. You just need to know how and where to find them.
Where do I Go Now?
“Where do I go now?” is the question you are probably asking. The following guide is provided in order to lead you in the process of making the first crucial steps to fund your education. With a little work, an opportunity to accomplish your dreams in the beauty industry is just within your reach.
First of all, you will want to make sure you know where you plan to receive your education. There are many accredited beauty and cosmetology schools around the U.S.
Most cosmetology schools are accredited by an organization known as The National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (also known as the NACCAS). The NACCAS is located in Alexandira, Virgina, and accredits around 1,100 schools nationwide. Simply put, schools accredited by the NACCAS are recognized by the federal government, thus allowing students attending these schools to qualify for federal government financial aid.
Therefore, knowing that you are planning to study with one of these myriad schools is the best place to start. Once you know that your educational program is accredited, you will want to fill out and submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This document may be found on line at: www.fafsa.ed.gov. Your institution of choice should also have a paper copy they can make available to you in their financial aid office. You will need to fill it out and submit it to the federal government for review.
What the Federal Government Offers
So now you are probably asking, “Okay, so that sounds great, but can I really expect money from the government for beauty school, even though it’s not a typical college or university?” Well, the answer to how much exactly depends on your (or your parents’, if you are still a dependent) current financial status, but the simple answer is, “Yes.”
The government will ask you (via the FAFSA form) to provide your family’s financial information, and depending on your status, you may well be eligible for grants. Grants are monetary gifts that do not require re-payment.
A General Description of Federal Government Grants
There are a few government grants that you can expect to be considered for when you fill out a FAFSA. They consist of:
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is awarded to students based upon financial need. If you are awarded a Pell Grant, the government will pay your educational institution, which will in turn forward any moneys left over from your tuition fees, to you, usable at your discretion for other school related and living expenses. Your school will then notify you of your reward in writing.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is also financial based, but for undergraduate students with, “exceptional financial need,” according to the federal student financial aid website: www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Federal Work Study
The Federal Work Study program is a program in which students earn educational funding through part time work (about 10 to 15 hours per week) at their school. Keep in mind that hours are allocated to each student in keeping with the amount of the financial aid which has been awarded. Each school is allocated a certain amount for FWS every year, and it is up to administrators to apply this funding to students as they see fit.
Further information related to these grant programs may be found at the federal student aid website, www.studentaid.ed.gov. Note that, when it comes to being accepted for federal grants, it is best to apply as early as possible in order to receive the greatest support if you are in need.
Now that you have an understanding of what kind of government grants are available, you have a good base knowledge of where to begin searching to fund your educational costs. However, even if you qualify for government aid, it likely will not cover everything for tuition, books, and living expenses (such as food, rent, car, clothing, etc.), not to mention what else is on your individual plate.
While any government aid you receive will certainly be helpful, that is just the beginning. There are myriad other avenues to finance your certification as well.
Other Kinds of Scholarships and Grants
There are numerous organizations and foundations which offer scholarships to those seeking a career in the beauty industry. Once you have chosen where to achieve your education, and checked into all your options with the government as well as your school, the next step is to begin looking in the private sector. Believe it or not, there are countless promising possibilities.
The ACE (Access to Cosmetology Education) Grant was created by the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, and partners with sponsors to provide grants to working adults who desire to earn a cosmetology license. A total of four $1,000 grants are awarded annually. For more information, go here: cosmetology.org
National Coalition of Estheticians
The NCEA (National Coalition of Estheticians) Scholarship is awarded to students while they are currently in school for an esthetician program. The scholarship is intended for students to exhibit a high quality performance, as well as financial need.
In order to apply, students need to write a 250 word essay explaining why they feel they meet the financial requirements of the scholarship, as well as an expression of their personal desire to become an esthetician. For detailed applicant information: www.ncea.tv/scholarships-grants.
OPI offers six scholarships, with a sum of $500 each, to students attending AACS member schools, via the Schaeffer Family Foundation. The student is required to write a one to two page essay discussing why they have chosen a career in the beauty industry, as well as how they see nail care as an important part of their vocation. An industry recommendation must also be submitted as part of the scholarship application. For specific details related to application, download it from the website.
Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology School Scholarship
Great Clips offers the Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology School Scholarship. Anyone who expresses zeal, and displays giftedness in cosmetology, as well as a desire to expand their skills in the field may apply. The scholarships are gifted in January and July of each year, and may be used for any cosmetology or barbering school. You can download the application from the website.
Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation
The Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation offers scholarships to newly applying or current cosmetology or barbering students only. It is important to note that current students who will be graduating between January 1st and August 31st of the present year are not eligible.
Required along with the completed application are: one or two letters of recommendation, as well as a one to two page essay outlining financial need, family history, and what reason the applicant has for entering the field of cosmetology. The application may be found here.
Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation
The Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation is sponsored by Paul Mitchell. Whether it’s the gift of a three day convention or a trip to the New York fashion show, this scholarship is available to students and new professionals, with the goal of furthering vocational experiences and educational opportunities. For more information, visit paulmitchell.edu.
The American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI) a scholarship through the Fred Luster, Sr. Education Foundation. The Fred Luster, Sr. Foundatsion was opened in honor of the late founding board member of AHBAI, as well as the creator of Luster Products, Inc. Cosmetology students who win the scholarship will be given $250, for a total of $5,000 awarded in scholarships altogether.
Students must have an 85% or higher grade point average in their respective cosmetology programs, and have completed at least 300 hours. Other areas of interest related to the scholarship are: extra curricular activities, attendance records, and competitions participated in by the student. For more information, see the AHBAI website at: ahbai.org
Scholarships for Female Students
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation will offer five Education Support Awards in the amount of $2000 each in 2011.
Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color to be elected to the United States House of Representatives, and was well known during her career for her tireless efforts on behalf of low income and under educated women, especially those with children (among further labors on behalf of the civil rights movement and other justice seeking efforts). The award is given to low income mothers who are pursuing education or some kind of job training.
Soroptomist Women’s Opportunity
The Soroptomist (meaning ‘best for women’) Women’s Opportunity is an international scholarship available to women all over the world. The organization’s goal is to support women in need. The scholarships are particularly designed for women whose families rely on them to be the sole financial provider; thus for these women education and other types of skilled job training is a necessity. Women receiving these scholarships may use them for any costs which may support their education.
Women’s Independence Scholarship Program
The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (a.k.a. WISP) was created at the turn of the century as a means to support women coming out of abusive ‘intimate partner relationships’ (wispinc.org). The scholarship seeks to help those women in the most despairing of economical circumstances – especially those with children who have nowhere else to turn and who have a dire need to acquire an education or some kind of employment worthy training.
The woman must also have applied (and been accepted to) or be in the process of applying to an accredited program of study. For more information visit: wispinc.org.
Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship
The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship fund is intended for low income (as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Lower Living Standard) women over the age of 35. She must be enrolled in or accepted to an accredited school. Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States Congress and had a passion for women’s rights. For more information, visit the Jeanette Rankin Foundation, at www. Rankinfoundation.org.
Miscellaneous Organizations to Research
A final area of consideration when searching out grants and scholarships for a cosmetology licensing program is national organizations with local chapters. Keep in mind that most of these groups offer scholarships on a national level, though they are typically seeking students with the desire to attend at least a four year university.
Conversely, it is likely that contacting your local chapter of groups such as: Kiwanis, Moose Lodges, Lyons Clubs, or the Elk or Rotary Clubs, may be well worth the time and effort spent contacting. Some of these organizations in your hometown (or a neighboring community) could perhaps be willing to provide assistance to students with an aspiration for cosmetology school and other types of trade schools.
One thing to remember when looking at this kind or group is that they typically give money to students attending accredited schools. This may or may not be an issue, but if you make sure your institution is accredited, you’ll know you’re one step closer to your goal. In the end, just remember that it never hurts to ask, and you’ll never know if you don’t find out for yourself.
Many Beauty School Grant Options Available
As you can see, for such an exciting and thriving field, there are so many unique prospects within world of cosmetology. Don’t let the day to day burdens of life keep you from pursuing your life long dreams. Take hold of the knowledge you have now acquired, and seek out these countless options in order to fund your continuing education for the betterment of your (and your family’s) future!