Depending on where you live, attending a beauty school can cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Requirements for cosmetology programs are usually determined by each state’s licensing board, and this can vary greatly from state to state. Most programs are easily completed in 1 to 2 years, depending on how many training hours your state requires and if you attend school full or part-time. Usually, you will have to accomplish between 1,500 and 2,000 hours of training to receive your certification.
For those looking to enroll, there is help in the form of grant and scholarship money to assist students wanting to attending beauty schools. This funding comes from professional associations and corporations that work within the beauty field. In some cases, you can also use federal government education funding to pursue a cosmetology degree. When beginning any search for financial aid, you should start by contacting the school you plan to attend to inquire about student aid offered at each institution.
American Association of Cosmetology Schools ACE Grant
This organization of cosmetology schools offers the American Cosmetology Education Grant or ACE Grant through partnerships with industry sponsors. It is the first industry wide program to provide funding to cosmetology students. Grants can only be used to attend AACS affiliated schools and usually range in size from $500 to $1,000. Find out before applying if the school you plan to attend is eligible for the program. To request an application, fill out this ACE Grant application request form. If you have any questions about the program, contact Wendy at the AACS by calling toll-free 1-800-831-1086, extension 102.
Searching for money to attend any school program usually involves applying for scholarships. This is also the case for cosmetology students. Many of the hair care industry’s most well-known corporations offer scholarships to help students attend school. Here are a few examples.
- Beauty Schools Directory – Awards $2,500 scholarships to cosmetology students. One scholarship is offered quarterly with deadlines for application in January, April, July and October.
- Great Clips – The Alice Madden Barton Scholarship Program awards scholarships twice a year with deadlines in June and December. It can be used to attend any cosmetology or barber school.
- Joe Francis Haircare – Offers $1,000 scholarships to attend cosmetology programs. Applications are accepted yearly from January through June. 26 scholarships were awarded in 2012.
- Minerva Beauty – This cosmetology scholarship is for $1,000 and is available for students enrolled in accredited cosmetology schools. Minerva awards a total of five scholarships a year.
- Sally Beauty Supply – Available to high school graduates entering cosmetology school. Sally awards seven of these $1,000 scholarships yearly.
- Sport Clips and American Crew – Up to 20 students receive a $1,000 scholarship yearly from Sports Clips and American Crew to attend an AACS member school.
Using Federal Financial Aid to Attend Beauty School
The same federal financial aid opportunities available to college and university students can be used by cosmetology students if they attend an accredited program. Not all cosmetology schools are accredited. But if the program you plan to attend is, then all U.S. Department of Education financial aid funding can be used to attend that school. Check with the school you plan to attend to find out if it is an accredited program or use this accredited school search provided by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences to locate accredited programs in your state.
The biggest grant opportunity here is the Federal Pell Grant. It offers up to $5,645 per year to fund education for students that demonstrate financial need. The federal government also offers a large student loan program. For a full rundown of all financial assistance available to attend an accredited cosmetology school, check out our article on Federal Student Grants. You can quickly determine what funding is available to you by filling out one application for student aid. If your school is accredited, contact them directly to ask for assistance in applying for financial aid.