Have an eye for fashion -- but no cash to fund the fine-tuning? No worries! Paying for fashion school is no trickier than paying for any other college program, as long as the fashion school and program qualify for student financial aid programs. For example, the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Art Institute are both eligible for federal financial aid programs. Additionally, fashion students can apply for private and school-based financial aid. Be sure to compare the net cost -- the cost after financial aid -- of fashion school rather than the sticker price.
File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before your school's priority deadline. It's normally Feb. 15, but your school can tell you if the date is different. By filling out this application, you will be considered for need-based federal aid such as the Pell grant, subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans. Schools generally use the information you provide on the FAFSA to evaluate your eligibility for school-based aid and require you to file this application even if the funding is awarded based on merit.
You can find scholarships on your own or with the assistance of a financial aid counselor. Search online scholarship databases to quickly locate scholarships you may qualify for. Scholarships.com boasts that over $19 billion has been awarded through the website since 1999. Fastweb.com is another leading scholarship database. You can search based on your major in fashion to find scholarships specifically for fashion students. Scholarships are great because they are free money.
Be noticed and rewarded for your inner fashionista by competing in fashion design competitions. Teens can get a headstart with the Duck Stuck at Prom $5,000 duct tape prom dress contest. Winners not only earn recognition and bragging rights for their resume, they also generally earn cash prizes. This award money can be used to pay for fashion school. In addition to competing in fashion design competitions, consider competing in fashion writing competitions or submitting your fashion blog for awards.
Earn While You Learn
Many students, not just in fashion schools, work to help pay their way through school. Not only does a job help pay the bills, it also provides students an opportunity to gain real-world experience. Look for jobs that allow you to apply your fashion skills. Look for work as a pattern maker, merchandiser or clothing retail associate. You can also make your own products and sell them at local stores, online or flea markets. If you can sew well, consider hemming pants or making custom items for a fee.
- Scholarships.com: Fashion Scholarships
- Bureau of Labor Statistics-Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fashion Designers
- Kent State University Fashion School: Scholarships
- Sugino Gakuen: The 50th National Fashion Design Contest Entry Requirements
- Financial Aid Finder: Unclaimed Scholarships
- Duck Brand: Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.