Financial Aid for Beauty School Students

Cosmetologists provide very personal services to their clientele in salons and spas. Since cosmetology covers a wide range of services, including hair styling, facials, skincare, and makeup, there are many career options available.

If you've chosen a career in this field, you may be concerned about paying for your training. There are many resources available to help you pay for beauty school, including grants, loans, scholarships and work-study positions. The options are not mutually exclusive, so if you receive a scholarship or grant, but still need assistance, you can also apply for loans. When planning for life after school, however, it’s essential to be mindful of your total debt and aware of whether you’ll be able to repay your loans. Here’s a breakdown of your options for financial assistance:

  • Scholarships and Grants: Scholarships are often given to students with exceptional academic records, but not always. While a high GPA is worth celebrating, there are hundreds of scholarships that look beyond applicants' academic standings. These are often one-time awards that can help with tuition or fees - some full-tuition scholarships are also available. Scholarships and grants usually require an application. Check with your school to see what grants they offer in-house, as well as with professional associations and private agencies. Our Scholarship Resources list below also gives an overview of beauty industry related scholarships.
  • Federal Financial Aid: Cosmetology and other beauty school students can also qualify for federal student aid if the school is appropriately accredited and the program is over 350 hours. To apply for federal financial aid, you’ll need to complete a FAFSA application every academic year. Federal financial aid includes both federal student loans and Pell grants.
    • Federal Student Loans: The U.S. Department of Education serves as your lender and will determine how much you can borrow. Depending on the program and school, a student is typically required to maintain a certain number of course hours to continue eligibility of financial aid. Federal direct student loans charge a fixed interest rate, which is usually lower than the rate charged on private loans. Once you’ve completed your education, you will need to begin paying back your loans. Be sure to factor that interest in when planning for your future payments.
    • Pell Grants: These are awarded to students who have significant financial need. The grants do not require repayment.
  • Private Loans: Private loans are an option for beauty school students who have good credit. Unlike federal loans, your school does not need to be accredited for you to be eligible for these. However, interest rates for these loans can be much higher than federal rates, so be sure to weigh your options carefully. The personal finance company NerdWallet has a breakdown of a few good private loan options. To apply for a private loan, you will need to apply directly to the lender, which will likely conduct a credit check. Several sites give recommendations. It’s best to compare and contrast and try to get the best interest rate.

An essential point about loans is that even if you don’t graduate from your program, you will be responsible for paying back all loans that you took out, federal or private. Some scholarships and grants may have similar requirements; be sure to read the fine print.

SCHOLARSHIP RESOURCES

Various organizations offer scholarships to future beauty school students, current beauty school students, and beauty professionals. Below you'll find a comprehensive list of scholarships within the beauty industry!

CATEGORY: General

Name of Scholarship Cosmetology Specialty Provided By Award Amount Deadline Target Audience Degree Level Essay Required? # of Awards GPA Renewable?
Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation Cosmetology, Barbering Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation $1,200 June 1 Must be currently applying for entrance into cosmetology/barber School, OR actively enrolled in a cosmetology/barber program Undergraduate Yes 20 - No
The Great Scholarship Program Cosmetology, Barbering Great Clips $250 – $1,500 June 30 Open to high school graduates who are interested in pursuing cosmetology or barbering as a career High School Yes Varies - No
Sydell & Arnold Miller Family | Art Of Hairdressing Student Scholarship Hair Styling Beauty Changes Lives Foundation $5,000 July 31 New and current students; students must be accepted or currently enrolled in a program to qualify for these scholarships and must have completed under 50% of their program Undergraduate 3-5 minute video 1 - No
Arnold M. Miller | Find-A-Way Student Scholarship Cosmetology Beauty Changes Lives Foundation up to $15,000 July 31 Eligible students must have a “Find-A-Way Attitude.” Open to new and current students. Students must provide proof of acceptance and/or proof of attendance at an accredited beauty school. Undergraduate 3-5 minute video 1 - No
European Wax Center "Don't Hesitate" Scholarship Cosmetology, Esthiology Beauty Changes Lives Foundation $5,000 February 24 Open to European Wax Center associates only - must be employed by an EWC center for at least six months at the time of application submission, and either currently enrolled or accepted into an accredited esthetician or cosmetology licensure program Undergraduate Essay/Video 4 - No
CosmoProf | Licensed to Create Education Scholarship Program Cosmetology Beauty Changes Lives Foundation up to $5,000 October 15 Open to prospective and newer students enrolled in a cosmetology program Undergraduate 3-5 minute video 5 - No
Beauty Schools Directory Scholarship  Cosmetology, Esthetics Beauty Schools Marketing Group $2,500 July 31 Open to students in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics and skin care, nail technology, and makeup artistry Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
Keller Cosmetology Scholarship Cosmetology Keller International $1,000 June 30 Anyone who is interested in pursuing the art of beautifying the face, hair, nails, or skin is encouraged to apply Undergraduate Video 1 - No
Buy-Rite's Annual Beauty School Scholarship Cosmetology, Hair Styling Buy-Rite Beauty $1,000 November 1 Must have applied to or be enrolled as a full-time beautician/cosmetology student to be elibile. Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
APWU Vocational Scholarship Cosmetology American Postal Workers Union $3,000 May 31 Open to students interested in programs of study leading to trade, technical, industrial or vocational occupations that can include massage therapy or cosmetology High School, Undergraduate Yes 3 - No
Scholarship “Education Rocks” Hair Styling Kathy Jager & Associates 250 June 1 All beauty school students AND seasoned professionals are encouraged to apply Undergraduate Yes Varies - No
Sydell L. Miller | Total Image Esthetics Student Scholarship Esthetics, Makeup Beauty Changes Lives Foundation up to $15,000 July 31 Open to students who believe in “Total Image” beauty and love skincare and cosmetics. Open to new and current students. Undergraduate Video 1 - No
Aesthetic Education Award Esthetics Dermamed Solutions $1,000 January 31, July 31 Must be interested in attending, or already enrolled, at an accredited aesthetic program. Must be passionate about skincare industry. High School, Undergraduate Video 1 - No
Empire Education Group High School Senior Scholarship Cosmetology Empire Beauty Schools $1,000 August 1 Open to any high school senior who has an interest in cosmetology High School - 100 - No
Redken Scholarship Program Cosmetology Redken $1,000 July 1 Open to high school graduates,  enrolled or recently graduated from The Salon Professional Academy at the franchise location. TSPA students must have a minimum 85% GPA and 90% attendance in high school. High School Yes 35 - No
High School Scholarship Cosmetology Avalon School of Cosmetology $1,000 - Eligible high school students must wish to enroll in a licensing program before they get their high school diploma, and be interested in building a career in the beauty industry High School - Varies - No
High School Full Scholarship  Cosmetology, Barbering, Esthetics, Nail Technician Raphael’s School of Beauty Culture Inc. Fully-paid scholarship June 1 Must be a 2019 High School graduate High School Yes 1 - No
High School Partial Tuition Scholarships  Cosmetology, Barbering, Esthetics, Nail Technician Raphael’s School of Beauty Culture Inc. $500 - $1,000 June 1 Must be a 2019 High School graduate High School Yes 1 - No
Get Your Dream Job Scholarship Esthetics Bellus Academy $500 - $1,000 - $1,000 scholarship awarded to those enrolling in any program over 1,000 hours. Students enrolling in programs less than 1000 hours may receive a $500 scholarship. Eligible to those who enroll between May 14, 2019 through December 18, 2019. Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
Tiffany Becher Memorial Scholarship Cosmetology, Esthetics La’ James International College Varies - Open to first time enrollees in cosmetology or esthetics, who complete the full program requirements. Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
CMS Brand Ambassador Scholarship Makeup Artist Cinema Makeup School 2,000 August 1 Winner of this makeup scholarship is determined by the following criteria: social engagement, artistic talent, brand representation, personal statement, and character. Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
Legends of Creature Design Scholarship  Makeup Artist Cinema Makeup School $10,000 September 29 The chosen applicant of this makeup scholarship demonstrates the greatest combination of technical skill, creativity, and sense of character High School, Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
Annual Jay Cannistraci Scholarship Makeup Artist Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry $10,000 December 15 Open to an individual who has the passion and dedication to pursue a career as a professional makeup artist in film and television. High School, Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
Love What You Do Scholarship Cosmetology Sunstate Academy $2,000 September 30 High school seniors who enroll in the cosmetology program at Sunstate Academy are eligible. High School - 1 80% GPA No
Hays Academy of Hair Design Scholarship Hair Design, Cosmetology Hays Academy of Hair Design $500 May 15 Open to high school seniors who  graduate from any Kansas High School and attend Hays Academy of Hair Design. High School Yes 1 - No
The Institute Scholarship Cosmetology Institute of Beauty and Wellness $500 One week prior to the start of class Incoming students at the Institute of Beauty who have been accepted into a specific program of study. High School, Undergraduate Yes 1 - No

 

CATEGORY: For Current Students

Name of Scholarship Cosmetology Specialty Provided By Award Amount Deadline Target Audience Degree Level Essay Required? # of Awards GPA Renewable?
Minerva Beauty Scholarship Cosmetology Minerva Beauty $1,000 May 31 Must have completed at least one semester, or one graded cycle, with an accredited school Undergraduate Yes 10 3.0+ No
Rosy Rewards Scholarship Program Cosmetology, Barbering, Esthiology Rosy Salon Software $500 - $1500 August 15 Currently enrolled in a cosmetology, barber or esthetics program in the US or Canada resulting in a cosmetology, barber or esthetics license. Continuing education programs or students with an existing cosmetology, barber or esthetics license do not qualify. Undergraduate Yes 3 - No
Ratner Companies Passion And Purpose Cosmetology Scholarship Cosmetology Beauty Changes Lives Foundation up to $3,125 October 15 Students who are attending an accredited cosmetology program, students who can demonstrate their passion for cosmetology and why it is their purpose Undergraduate 3-5 minute video 4 - No
MUD (Make-up Designory) Makeup Scholarship Make-Up, Esthiology Beauty Changes Lives Foundation $2,500 October 15 Open to any student attending an accredited cosmetology and/or esthetics school that offers MUD makeup in their program Undergraduate Essay/3-5 minute video 5 - No
Oregon Barber and Hairdresser (B&H) Grant Program Barbering, Hairdressing Oregon Student Assistance Commission Varies February 01 Open to Oregon residents only, who attend a licensed school of barbering, hair design, cosmetology, or manicure in Oregon that participates in Federal Title IV financial aid programs and participates in the Barbers and Hairdressers Grant Program. Must be enrolled in full-time in a program that is at least nine months long. Undergraduate Yes Varies - No
International Spa Association Scholarship Esthetics, Makeup Beauty Changes Lives Foundation $1,000 April 30, October 15 Open to current esthetics, makeup, special effects makeup, or massage therapy students who have not completed more than fifty percent (50%) of their coursework. Undergraduate Video 8-9 - No
Lexli Esthetics Scholarship Esthetics Lexli International $1,000 May 31 Open to legal residents of the United States and District of Columbia who are at least 18 years of age; who are currently enrolled in an esthetician-specific training program at an accredited esthetics, cosmetology or beauty school and have completed at least one semester or graded cycle; and who have maintained at minimum an 80% attendance rate and an 80% grade average. Undergraduate Video 1 - No
Kimber, Robert & Irene, Cosmetology Scholarship Cosmetology Idaho State University Varies April 1 Eligible students should be a cosmetology major who demonstrate financial need. Undergraduate Yes 1 2.0+ No
Harris, Kendra, Cosmetology Memorial Scholarship Cosmetology Idaho State University Varies April 1 Must be enrolled in the Idaho State cosmetology program. Preference is given to students who are from American Falls. If no students are available from American Falls, then it will be opened to any cosmetology student. Undergraduate Yes 1 3.0+ No
Lincoln C. and Linda J. Yamashita Scholarship Cosmetology Idaho State University Varies April 1 Eligible students must be enrolled full-time in at least their second consecutive semester in the cosmetology program in the College of Technology. Financial need may be considered. Undergraduate Yes 1 - No
John Pelloni Scholarship Cosmetology Cerritos College Foundation $300 September 23 Open to students attending Cerritos College who are majoring in cosmetology Undergraduate Yes 1 3.0+ No

 

CATEGORY: Continuing Education for Professionals

Name of Scholarship Cosmetology Specialty Provided By Award Amount Deadline Target Audience Degree Level Essay Required? # of Awards GPA Renewable?
Lifetime Member Scholarship Cosmetology The Joseph L Weir Trust $1,000 March 31 Current PBA Preferred Individual and Student Members to use towards continuing education or cosmetology school Graduate, Undergraduate Yes 5 - No
Phyllis Bellino Scholarship Electrology Massachusetts Association of Electrologists $1,000 Open Enrollment Year Round Must be a Massachusetts resident, US resident, and pass the Massachusetts state board exam. Graduate Yes 1 - No
Electrology Scholarships Electrology American Institute of Education $1,000   Applicants must have prior work experience and skill sets that prepare them for self-employment. Undergraduate Yes Varies - No
Leo Passage Advanced NEXTGEN Scholarship Barbering, Hair Styling Beauty Changes Lives $10,000 October 15 Awarded to those wanting to earn advanced training; eligible for licensed barbers and hairstylists with 1-5 years of experience Graduate Yes 2 - No

 

What’s the Difference Between Scholarships and Grants?

Although both cosmetology scholarships and grants provide money towards education, there are important differences between the two.

Scholarships

Scholarships also provide money for education that doesn't need to be paid back. However, unlike grants, scholarships are often based on merit, not financial need.

Beauty schools, colleges, and vocational schools are common sources for cosmetology scholarships. Many scholarships are also awarded by corporations and businesses closely linked to the beauty industry.

Scholarships may help new or currently enrolled students pay for cosmetology school, but some are also available for already-licensed cosmetologists. Licensed professionals can return to school for continuing education, including areas such as esthetics programs, laser hair removal, tattoo removal, and micro-needling courses.

Once you decide on a specific cosmetology program, contact their office to learn more about what scholarships and grants are available through the school or from outside partners.

Professional cosmetology associations and organizations can also be a helpful source for scholarship and grant funds. Check out their websites for information about available grants and scholarships:

Here are a few more ways to find aid to help you pay for your beauty program:

  • Ask a guidance counselor. Career counselors and advisors at your high school or at your local community college often have lists of scholarships and grants they can share.
  • Ask your stylist. Do you have a favorite hair stylist or facialist? They might be a good source of advice. Ask them to share their experience of cosmetology school. Discuss your goals with them.
  • Search for scholarships and grants related to your demographic. Scholarships are often available for students in specific subject areas or who fit within certain demographics. Try an internet search like "scholarships for male cosmetology students" or "esthetician grants for African American students".

Grants

Grants are usually based on financial need and are often provided by state and federal governments. Some examples of federal grants are the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). In most states, students who apply for government financial aid must attend cosmetology schools that are approved by that state's cosmetology licensing board.

If you're planning on attending an accredited cosmetology program that is eligible for government-issued grant money, you'll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information you include on the FAFSA is used to determine how much federal grant money you're eligible for. You can find more information about government grants through the Federal Student Aid website or the financial aid office of the cosmetology school you plan to attend.

Some beauty schools and organizations also provide their own grants. These often can only be used towards a particular school or program.

For example, The American Council on Education (ACE) partners with cosmetology schools to provide ACE Grants to eligible students. These grants are typically applied towards tuition payments. Common requirements for these grants include high school transcripts, an interview, a personal essay, and letters of recommendation.

How to Win Scholarships and Grants

Although the application process for cosmetology scholarships and grants can feel a bit overwhelming, the most important thing you can do is to keep calm and get organized. When you begin your applications, collect all the necessary paperwork and keep it in one place like a folder or notebook. Be exact when following directions. Read and understand all the criteria. Keep in mind any strict deadlines.

Don't make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to look for aid money. Apply as early as possible before your start date for school.

You should also apply for as many scholarship programs that you can. Successful applicants are usually the ones who have applied for the most scholarships. Don’t overlook small amounts either. When combined, these small scholarships can really add up.

Like for other majors, many cosmetology scholarships or grants require a personal statement or essay. This is where you can let your personality shine. Write your essay in a natural way and include your own ideas. Each application will have its own writing prompt, but here are some questions to get you thinking about your future beauty career:

  • Why do you want to be a beauty professional?
  • Why do you think it is a valuable career?
  • Which beauty school did you choose and why?
  • Why are you the right student to receive a scholarship?
  • What are your plans after beauty school?

Once you've written your essay, check for some common mistakes:

  • Exaggerating your skills. Personal statements are an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments, but be honest. Don’t be modest, but do not exaggerate.
  • Not following directions. If there is a word limit, make sure you stick to it. If they ask specific questions, answer them. Not following directions exactly can ruin your chances.
  • Including typos or mistakes. Proofread your writing several times before you turn it in. Ask someone else to review it. Spelling and grammar mistakes are a big no-no.

Since cosmetology requires people skills and artistic talent, many scholarships and grants have additional application requirements you might not see with other majors. Here are a few ways you can prepare:

  • Get to know people in the industry. Some grant and scholarship applications may ask you to interview a salon manager or owner to learn more about the industry. Developing these relationships ahead of time can make it easier to find a person to interview and can give you valuable insights into the industry.
  • Take photos of your work. If you're already enrolled in a cosmetology program or have been honing your skills on your own, make sure to take ongoing photos of your work. Some scholarship applications want to see your skills, so don't wait to take photos when you're on a time crunch or stressed out about your application.
  • Hone your on-camera skills. Many cosmetology scholarships require short videos with your application to show off your technique and personality. Practice with a friend to make sure you're showing your personality and cosmetology techniques in the best light when the camera is turned on.

Finally, be confident. There is a wide range of options available to help make your cosmetology training affordable. Be persistent and you'll find the support you need to start your career.

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