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How to get financial aid for cosmetology school


    If you’re interested in attending trade school — like cosmetology school — one question you might be wondering is if you can access financial aid, particularly federal financial aid. The short answer is as long as your cosmetology school and specific program are accredited, you’ll be eligible for federal financial aid.

    In this article, we’ll cover what cosmetology school costs and how to access financial aid, including scholarships and loans. Keep reading to learn more.

    The average cost of cosmetology school

    Going to any school is a financial decision, including cosmetology school. Expect programs to range on average from $5,000 to $15,000, with some programs costing as much as $20,000. 

    Job opportunities are another consideration to make simultaneously. The projected growth in this field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, is 11% from 2021 to 2031, “much faster than the average for all occupations,” per the BLS.

    How long does cosmetology school take?

    How long you’ll be in cosmetology school will affect how much your schooling will cost (along with how many other expenses you’re likely to rack up during your years in school).    

    While most programs take roughly one year to complete, choosing to attend school full-time or part-time could impact the length of the program and how long it takes to be able to work.

    It’s important to note that each state has specific licensing or certification requirements for cosmetology, which could impact the length of the program you must complete to become licensed in your state or certified to work.

    Federal financial aid that’s available for cosmetology school

    To be eligible for federal financial aid for a cosmetology school, your school and program must be accredited. Many of them are, which means federal financial aid is available to those interested in cosmetology school.

    To make sure you’ll be eligible for federal financial aid, you’ll want to double-check that the program you’re interested in (or are already enrolled in) is an accredited degree program. You can use the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to best figure this out (or call the school you’re interested in and ask).

    While some federal aid is awarded based on financial need, like the Pell Grant, federal aid also opens the door to federal student loans with advantageous interest rates and repayment plans explicitly geared toward students. To find out how much federal aid you’re eligible for, the first step is filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). From there, schools will supply you with an aid award letter outlining what aid (if any) they can provide.

    Scholarships for cosmetology school

    Scholarships are funds awarded to students to help pay for school that don’t need to be paid back in most circumstances. Although some scholarship applications can be pretty lengthy, it’s worth the time to apply because every little bit counts when navigating paying for school.

    Of note, there’re scholarships offered specifically to cosmetology students. It’s also good to speak with your school’s financial aid office and ask about internal scholarships they might offer.

    Loans for cosmetology school

    If you decide to secure student loans to pay for school, conducting thorough research is important. It’s usually advisable to max out the federal loans available to you first and then secure private student loans if you need additional funds to pay for school. This’s because federal loans often come with advantageous interest rates and repayment terms.

    Final thoughts

    Securing financial aid for cosmetology school requires first checking if your school and program are eligible for federal financial aid. If it is, from there, you’re going to want to file the FAFSA® to begin the process of securing aid.