Financial Aid for Culinary School


What Exactly Is A Scholarship?

Scholarships are financial awards for your education that do not need to be repaid. While they are typically awarded based on merit, very often the scholarship committees take financial need into consideration in awarding their recipients. The amount of total financial aid cannot be more than the cost of attendance for your college or university.

Scholarships are typically developed to fit a particular student profile – whether based on academic interest or proficiency, ethnicity, interests or field of study, or they could be related to an affiliation (such as religion, military, club membership, employer, etc.). Some scholarships are even based on physical appearance or fire-safety knowledge!

Scholarships can help lessen the impact of ever increasing tuition costs. According to The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) in 2013 almost 70% of students graduated with student loan debt – a whopping $28,400 on average!  Scholarships help to fill the gap between low-income families and higher-income. Frequently government aid is focused on lower income students, leaving middle or higher-income families struggling with high tuition costs. Scholarships can help reduce the responsibility significantly. And for independent students, it means less time you need to spend working while trying to finish your degree.

Show Me The Money!

Show Me The MoneyFinancial aid comes in many varieties of support and from many different locations. Your first step in the process should be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you a good idea whether you are available for need-based financial assistance. The government will send both you and your colleges of interest a copy of your eligibility. The school then uses this to determine your eligibility for local scholarships such as state funding as well as school-specific possibilities.

Culinary Arts Scholarships

A career in Culinary Arts is a long and undeniably challenging path.  Graduates from culinary school frequently have low wages, often in the low $20,000. Because of this, it’s important that students understand the cost of tuition and the repayment schedules, and pursue any possible scholarship or grant opportunity to reduce their responsibilities upon graduation.

While there are many different types of scholarships available for academics, sports and more, there are also many available to students with an interest in the culinary arts, hospitality or tourism. By focusing attention specifically on these options, you can apply for scholarships that have significantly less competition.

These are just a small sampling of some of the possible scholarships available to culinary students.  Internet and library searches can provide more information, as well as a conversation with the financial aid department of your school of interest.

Steve Hymans Extended Stay Scholarship – $500 to $2,000, deadline May 1st, eligibility requirements include enrollment in a hospitality major, minimum 3.0 GPA, US citizen, some experience working at a lodging property.

The Ecolab Scholarship – $1,000 to $2,000, deadline May 1st, eligibility requirements include being enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours at a US based institution, in a hospitality-related degree.

The American Express Scholarship – $1,000 to $2,000, May 1st, eligibility requirements include being enrolled in an undergraduate degree-granting program and working 20+ hours a week at an AH&LA member hotel for at least 12 months or be the dependent of a qualified employee.

CANFit Program Scholarship – amount varies, March 31st, eligibility requirements include being an undergraduate or graduate African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino student with financial need, who is interested in studying nutrition, physical education, or culinary arts in the state of California.

Hyatt Hotels Scholarships – amount varies, May 1st, eligibility requirements include being enrolled in a bachelors program in hospitality management for a minimum of 12 credit hours, hold sophomore standing, be a minority student and a US resident.

American Academy of Chefs Scholarships – amount varies, March 31st $Culinary Institute of America, eligibility requirements include having a gpa of 2.5+, being an exemplary student, high school senior that is accepted into an accredited post-secondary school in either culinary or pastry arts, with a goal of being a chef or pastry chef.

Cream of the Crop Scholarship – 10,000 to $20,000, submission deadlines vary, eligibility requirements include having a gpa of greater than 3.5, completed application with supporting materials, attending the CIA, exemplary student with leadership skills.

Begin your research early! A good place to begin is your high school guidance counselor or the financial aid department of the college you want to attend. Very often they can point you in the direction of common scholarships and assist with the application process. In addition, check with your employer or your parent’s employers, clubs and local groups. Sometimes they offer scholarships to employees, members or children of employees/members. Lastly, you can search at the library or on the internet as well. A word of caution – be wary of scams involving paid searches!  You should never have to pay for a scholarship search.


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