Cosmetology Expenses | School Cost, Tuition & Financial Aid

Cosmetology School Cost, Tuition & Financial Aid

Concerned about the cost of beauty school?

One of the very first concerns future beauty school students have is how much it's going to cost, and how they're going to pay for it. We at Beauty Schools Directory have conducted surveys of beauty schools and beauty school graduates to answer the most common questions about the cost of beauty school and the specific training programs, as well as the ways many students choose to pay for school. From tuition costs to financial aid options, we have all the information right here to help you make your decision.

If you are ready to take the plunge and pursue your dream of going to cosmetology school, simply enter your zip code in the box to the right, choose your program, and click "Find Schools" to find colleges near you.

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What is the cost of cosmetology school?

Cost of Cosmetology SchoolInevitably, it's one of the first questions that come to mind when applying for beauty school. "How much is cosmetology school going to cost me?" The answer is that it depends. Many people find that cosmetology is significantly more affordable than a traditional four-year university, but it can still be intimidating.

So what determines the answer to how much cosmetology school costs? The cost of cosmetology school depends on several factors like the beauty school and its location. Cosmetology schools inside or close to major metropolitan cities like New York or Boston will likely endure higher costs for the whole program, whereas smaller, more rural areas or suburbs may have a smaller price tag. Our survey of 55 cosmetology schools says that the cost of cosmetology averages between $10,000 and $20,000. The same comprehensive cosmetology program in a rural area could cost closer to low as $6,500. If you choose a more specific program, like esthetics, nail technology or makeup artistry, the cost of beauty school could be much less, often anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the beauty program and location of the cosmetology school. But one perk to the comprehensive cosmetology training program is that you learn all those things for one price - hair, nails, makeup and some skin care.

As you can see from our survey below, the cost of beauty school that past graduates reported is all over the board. The survey respondents were from different state all across America, and had taken different programs - some took the full cosmetology or barbering programs, whereas some took much shorter, more specific programs like nail technology or esthetics and skin care. As we mentioned above, all these factors and more can affect the cost of your tuition, so be sure to contact several schools near you to compare the costs.

Estimated Costs of Beauty School - Bar Graph

Another thing to consider is that some schools include supplies, cosmetology kits, frocks and aprons, and textbooks in their cost of tuition - be sure to ask the school directly. Some schools have specific vendors they recommend purchasing supplies and kits through that matches up with their specific curriculum, whereas others simply include the supplies right in the total cost of tuition.

We also recommend checking out each school's Net Price Calculator, which the U.S. Department of Education began requiring all Title IV post-secondary institutions that enroll full-time students to feature on their website in 2011. This net price calculator can help students estimate the total price they and their families can expect to pay, including the cost of tuition and fees, books and supplies, other expenses, and room and board (if applicable), as well as the contribution of any grant aid or other financial aid. 

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Is beauty school expensive?

The average cost of a traditional four-year university is just under $24,000 per year according to the National Center for Education Statistics (2015) and has been rising steadily since 1980. Cosmetology school, on the other hand, typically costs less than $20,000 on average for the whole program at most schools, and often much less than that. So comparatively, the beauty school programs are shorter and cost much less than a traditional four-year school. But of course, whether a beauty school is "expensive" is completely relative to your financial situation.

Our survey of beauty school students and graduates showed that more than 70% of them were either "somewhat concerned" or "very concerned" about that they would be unable to pay for beauty school. However, when they learned the total cost, about 57% said they thought the cost was either "surprisingly cheap" or "affordable."  About 43% found it to be "expensive" or "impossibly expensive."

What Beauty School Students Thought About Program Cost - Bar Graph Concern About Paying for School - Bar Graph

We never recommend choosing a beauty school based only on cost, though we do include that very important piece on our How to Choose a Beauty School checklist. Cost and financial aid options may be extremely important to you, but not others who are also considering enrolling in beauty school. Be sure to request information from a handful of schools to completely compare your options and determine how much the total cost of your beauty school tuition and supplies will be so you can plan accordingly.

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Do beauty schools offer financial aid for tuition?

Many accredited cosmetology schools offer financial aid to pay for the cost of cosmetology school to those who qualify, ranging from grants and scholarships to loans and payment plans. There are even some non-accredited cosmetology schools that offer grants and scholarships to qualified students for their cosmetology school costs, though it may not be federal financial assistance. Much of the government financial aid has become available to qualifying cosmetology students at accredited cosmetology schools, and it is no longer required to be enrolled in a traditional four-year university.

Some financial aid options to cover cosmetology school cost for beauty school may include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study and the Federal Perkins Loan. There are also numerous scholarships for cosmetology school to apply for, though it was shocking to discover in our survey that only 22% of beauty school students bothered to apply for the scholarships available to them. Some of the scholarships you could apply for include NCEA Esthetician Scholarships, Cinta Aveda scholarships, ACE Grant, Sports Clip Scholarship, OPI scholarships and the Massage Magazine Scholarship Program, among many others. Be sure to check out our full list of scholarships and check back often, as we will continue to update the list. Also, Beauty Schools Marketing Group offers a $2,500 scholarship to help you pay for beauty school.  

Check with your beauty school as well. Many cosmetology schools like Empire Beauty Schools offer a full list of scholarships and aid as financial well. Don't let the price of tuition be the one obstacle that keeps you from pursuing your dreams of attending cosmetology school. In addition to planning and saving, make sure you are exhausting all your options for scholarships, grants, financing, payment plans and loans to ensure that you can pursue your dreams of becoming a licensed beauty professional.

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