Beauty School Grants
If it’s true that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” then American women are terribly concerned about their beholders. Despite the economic recession, women (and men) continue to flock to salons and spas for cosmetic services of one type or another. In this quest for perpetual youth and beauty, many consumers spend thousands of dollars per year on various cosmetic procedures.
So, why not cash in on this vanity craze? Why not become the person that provides grateful clients with beautifying treatments? Why not go to cosmetology school and start your career in the world of beauty?
Cosmetology School Costs
Of course, your first objection to this suggestion is likely the cost of attending cosmetology school. Indeed, the tuition and fees present a giant hurdle in the path to becoming a licensed cosmetologist. The cost for attending cosmetology school ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the geographic location and type of program in which you wish to enroll. At first glance, many students believe this financial obstacle to be insurmountable.
Steps to Financial Aid
However, you needn’t finance your entire education out of your own pocket. There are plentiful grants, scholarships, and loans available, many specific to the field of cosmetology. So, simply slow down, take a deep breath, and prepare to put in plenty of work filling out applications. The money is out there; you’ve just got to do the legwork to make your dreams a reality. Steps you will need to complete before attaining financial aid include:
- Decide upon a cosmetology school
- Gain admission to cosmetology school
- Apply for federal student aid
- Apply for financial aid via your cosmetology school
- Apply for private scholarships and grants
Decide Upon a Cosmetology School
So, the first step in this process is to decide upon a cosmetology school. Search for a cosmetology school near you on sites such as Beauty Schools directory, BeautySchool.com, or BeautySchools.edu. Keep in mind that beauty schools must pay to advertise on these sites; therefore some schools in your area may not appear on these sites. Another option is to look in your yellow pages or use a general search engine such as Google to find schools in your area.
Decide Upon a Branch of Cosmetology
Another factor in your school search is determining in which branch of cosmetology you’d like to practice. There are a variety of schools, which are based on cosmetology specialization. These include:
- Cosmetology School
- Esthetician School
- Nail Technician School
- Makeup School
- Barber School
- Massage School
- Aromatherapy School
- Reflexology School
- Laser and Electrolysis Classes
- Permanent Makeup Classes
Each school has varying admission requirements. These requirements include such criteria as minimum age, high school diploma, interview, and test scores. For example, the Modern Beauty School in Missoula, Montana requires applicants to be at least 17 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and submit a 500-word essay. Some (such as the nationwide network of Empire Beauty Schools) even have online application forms. Others require you to pick up an application in person.
Federal Student Aid
Once you have gained admission to a cosmetology school, it’s time to start applying for financial aid. Your first step should be to apply for federal student aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can find information on federal student aid programs as well as a FAFSA application at the FAFSA website. Federal aid programs include:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- Federal Work-Study
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Family Education Loan
- the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program
- PLUS Loan
School Financial Aid
After you have filled out your FAFSA and explored your options for federal aid, it is time to look to your cosmetology school for financial aid. Some, but not all, cosmetology schools offer various financial aid programs for their students. Some schools, such as Aveda Institutes, have a financial aid director on staff who will assist you in assembling your financial aid package. Other schools, such as the Paul Mitchell Corporate Schools, have certain requirements for maintaining continued financial aid. These requirements include being enrolled at least half time in a degree or certificate program as well as maintaining a record of satisfactory academic progress.
Private Financial Aid
Once you have covered your federal aid prospects as well as those from your cosmetology school, it’s wise to begin looking at private sources for financial aid. There are actually quite a few private scholarships created specifically for beauty students.
The Spa Foundation not only provides financial assistance to beauty, spa, and massage students; they also provide their recipients with life coaching in areas such as motivation and financial management. This scholarship comes with extra homework; monthly assignments and reports are required.
The National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors & Associations provides $1,000 scholarships to esthetician students. Students must submit a 250-word typed essay with their application. Scholarship recipients must maintain an 80% attendance and 80% grade average.
The American Health and Beauty Aids Institute provides cosmetology scholarships in amounts of $250 and $500. Through its Fred Luster, Sr. Education foundation, nearly $500,000 in scholarships have been awarded.
OPI, through the Schaeffer Family Foundation, awards $500 to a different cosmetology student each month. Students must be enrolled or currently enrolling in an OPI preferred cosmetology school. The application requires a 1-2 page essay as well as a recommendation from someone within the beauty industry.
The American Association of Cosmetology Schools offers ACE Grants as well as Cosmetology Scholarships. These scholarships are sponsored by companies such as Sports Clips as well as private foundations such as the Pat Goins Memorial Foundation. Only students enrolled in AACS member schools are eligible to apply for these scholarships.
Great Clips sponsors the Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology School Scholarship Program. These scholarships are more flexible in that they can be used at any cosmetology or barbering school, and they are even open to high school students. They are given out twice a year.
The “Education Rocks” scholarship is available to beauty students in the amount of $250. Students are able to submit their application via an online form. The application does require two short answer questions.
The Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation awarded nineteen $1,000 scholarships in 2009. Cosmetology students are eligible for this scholarship, and a letter of recommendation is required with the student’s completed application.
Scholarships for Women
Other scholarships are not specific to the field of beauty but may be used towards the financial cost of attending beauty school. Particularly, there are many scholarships geared specifically toward women that may be applied toward beauty school.
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation is named after the first woman of color to be elected to the US House of Representatives. Representative Mink was passionate about women’s rights and educational opportunities for mothers and children. The Foundation offers scholarships for low-income women with children who are hoping to further their education. The Foundation awarded five $2,000 scholarships in 2009 alone. Applicants can apply between May 1, 2010 and July 1, 2010.
The Soroptimist International of the Americas is an international organization devoting to assisting and empowering women. The word soroptimist means “best for women” and the organization helps women achieve a better future. Each year the organization gives away more than one million dollars to offset educational expenses for needy women. Eligible women are those that provide the primary income for their families.
The Women’s Independence Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to women who have suffered domestic partner abuse as well as to those who work in the field of domestic violence. Applicants must meet certain requirements including being accepted into an accredited course of study and having a career plan.
The Jeanette Rankin Foundation is named after the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress. In the thirty years since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $1.3 million in scholarships to more than 600 women. Scholarships are awarded to low-income women who are over the age of 35. Applications are available now for the 2010 school year, and completed applications must be postmarked by March 1, 2010.
With so many financial aid options, available, what are you waiting for? The money is out there; use it to better your future! A career in beauty can be yours if you just put in the hard work to make it happen.