Financial Aid for Culinary School
Culinary school financial aid can help you afford professional training.
Making Education Affordable
When you're ready to start your culinary career, but paying for school seems like an impossible task, never fear. If you know where to look, financing your culinary education may be easier than you think. The first step is simple: complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here is a basic tutorial on how to tap into the many financial aid resources available to culinary students.
College loans have lower interest than other kinds of loans because the federal government regulates the maximum interest that lenders can charge on federally guaranteed student loans. Another benefit is that loan repayment does not begin until six months after graduation (or when enrollment in school is less than half time). Borrowers having difficulty repaying their education loans can seek assistance, including deferment and forbearance.
Although, there are different types of college loans, the most common federal student loan is the Stafford Loan. Stafford Loans include both the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. These programs are dispersed directly to students. They can be subsidized or unsubsidized depending on the student's financial situation.
Private loans are another way to pay for your culinary education. These loans offer higher limits and no payments until graduation, but interest begins accruing immediately upon loan distribution. Completing federal forms, such as the FAFSA, is a requirement to obtain private loans. Eligibility can be determined by you or your parents' credit score. Having a credit score above 650 will increase your chances of being approved for a private loan. Because interest rates and fees are based on your credit score, it's often better to apply with a cosigner to achieve a lower rate.
PLUS Loans are available to parents of dependent students enrolled at least half time in an undergraduate education program. A good credit score is a requirement for a PLUS Loan, and there is a yearly limit. This limit is equal to your school costs minus other financial assistance you receive. In addition to the loan limit, the first payment is due 60 days after the loan is distributed. There will also be a small fee that your parents are required to pay (which is usually less than four percent of the loan).
Graduate and professional degree students are now eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan program, under the same terms and conditions. This program is referred to as the Grad PLUS Loan program.
For more information about loans, visit these financial aid resources:
Culinary School Grants
The biggest perk that comes with getting grants is that you won't have to pay back the money you receive. So if you are willing to put in the effort it takes to apply, you may possibly get "free" money for school. Securing a student grant can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and there are more grants available than you might think. For more information, visit these financial aid resources:
Culinary School Scholarships
Because scholarships do not need to be paid back, they are an excellent way to help finance your education. However, when applying for scholarships, expect to face competition. For culinary students, your state's restaurant association may be a great place to start your search for scholarships. You should also check with national organizations for scholarship possibilities. A couple of organizations in the culinary industry that offer scholarships include the following:
- International Food Service Executives Association
- American Institute of Baking
Beyond professional associations, some of the best scholarship resources can include:
- Religious organizations
- Private and public schools
- Small businesses
- Large corporations
- Community groups
- Generous individuals
- Philanthropic foundations
For more information, visit this scholarship resource:
- Scholarship searching resource:
Work-study programs offer students an opportunity to finance their education by working in on-campus jobs, community-related jobs or assisting teachers. Often, work-study awards depend on factors such as level of financial need and school funding availability.
You can work with professors on-campus or with a nonprofit agency or public bureau off-campus. If you can find a work-study opportunity in your area of interest, it's even better. You'll help finance your education and have experience to put on a résumé. You can indicate whether you want to be considered for work-study assistance when completing your FAFSA form.
For more information, visit these work-study resources:
- FAFSA application and information:
- Federal work-study information:
Culinary Careers Resources
Looking for information about culinary careers or education? From tips on choosing culinary schools and degrees to salary information and job descriptions, we can help you get started.
Apply to Culinary Schools
- Choosing a Cooking School
- Culinary School Accreditation
- Financial Aid for Culinary School
- Balancing Work and Culinary School