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While federal student loans for cosmetology school can help you afford your beauty school program, the cost of this education can be more expensive than you might think.
On average, cosmetology school students take out nearly $7,500 in federal student loans to cover their education costs, according to the nonprofit Institute for Justice. Though this is lower than the National Center for Education Statistics national average of $16,800 in student loan debt for all certificate degree students, cosmetology costs can potentially put a heavy burden on future estheticians.
Here’s what you need to know about financial aid and student loans for cosmetology school:
- How much does beauty school cost?
- Private student loans for cosmetology school
- Financial aid for beauty school
- How to pay for esthetician or cosmetology school
How much does beauty school cost?
Depending on which cosmetology school you attend, the cost of tuition, fees, and supplies can range from about $5,000 to over $25,000. The average cost for attendance, not including additional costs like room and board or transportation, is nearly $16,000, based on our analysis of NCES data.
Supplies can be a fairly significant cost for aspiring beauticians, as you’ll need to purchase the tools of your trade in addition to any books for coursework.
Private student loans for cosmetology school
In general, private lenders don’t offer student loans created specifically for cosmetology school. But, cosmetology students have several private student loan options that they can access, even though the student loans aren’t specifically created for that purpose.
In particular, you can use Sallie Mae’s Student Loan for Career Training for any number of trade certificate programs, including cosmetology. College Ave also offers student loans geared toward trade schools, which you can potentially use at cosmetology or esthetician schools. Such loans are only available at participating schools with some additional eligibility requirements, including:
- Both loans have a $1,000 borrowing minimum.
- You can only take a College Ave loan if you’re attending a degree-granting school. In terms of cosmetology, that means you’ll be attending beauty school to receive an associate’s degree, rather than simply a certificate.
- The Sallie Mae student loan is available to cosmetology students at a non-degree-granting school. If you’re pursuing a certificate rather than a degree, this loan might work for you.
Credible partners with multiple lenders who offer private student loans that you can use to pay for cosmetology school.
|Lender||Fixed Rates From (APR)||Variable Rates From (APR)|
|4.50%9 - 15.49%9||6.37%9 - 16.70%9|
Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available. Prequalified rates are not an offer of credit. | 10Ascent Disclosures | 1Citizens Bank Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 11Custom Choice Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures
Financial aid for beauty school
While most media reporting on federal financial aid for students focuses on traditional two- and four-year degree seekers, students of technical and trade programs, such as cosmetology, may also be eligible for federal financial aid.
To determine if you’re eligible for federal student loans, you’ll need to start with your cosmetology school. In order for their students to receive federal aid, beauty schools must meet the following criteria:
- The school must be accredited. You can search for an accredited cosmetology school on the American Association of Cosmetology Schools website.
- No more than 50% of the school’s students can be without a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, no more than 25% of students can be incarcerated and no more than 25% can be students via a correspondence course.
- The school must not have a high dropout rate. However, the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t define the dropout rate that would cause a school to lose its eligibility for federal financial aid.
Check out: 5 Steps to Take If You Can’t Afford College
If you’re applying to a beauty school that’s eligible for federal funding, you’ll need to meet these requirements to qualify for a federal student loan to help you pay for your certification:
- U.S. citizenship (eligible non-citizens may also receive federal student aid)
- Valid Social Security number
- FAFSA submission
- Enrollment or acceptance for enrollment at an eligible institution
- Satisfactory academic progress
- Lack of federal student loan defaults
- Having a high school diploma or equivalent (However, you can also be eligible with a diploma, or GED equivalent if you enroll in an eligible career pathway program and meet one of the “ability-to-benefit” alternatives)
Read more: How to Pay for College
Cosmetology schools with financial aid
The following five cosmetology schools have multiple branches across the country, and each one provides federal financial aid to its students:
- Aveda: Schools under the Aveda name are all across the country. While you may need to double check that your local Aveda school offers financial aid, it appears that the vast majority of the schools do.
- Empire Beauty Schools: Empire Beauty School has locations in 21 states, and the program offers scholarships, grants, and access to federal student loans.
- Ogle Schools: With nine Texas locations, Ogle Schools can be a good option for aspiring cosmetologists in the Lone Star state. Ogle Schools offer financial aid in the form of federal student loans and grants, scholarships, access to private lenders, Veterans Affairs Education Benefits, and funding through the Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services.
- Paul Mitchell Schools: More than 100 Paul Mitchell Schools are all across the country. Students can access federal student aid when they enroll.
- Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy: Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy has 11 locations across the country. Each school offers federal student aid, and individual schools may offer scholarships as well.
How to pay for esthetician or cosmetology school
To pay for your cosmetology education, here are the steps you need to take:
- Look into scholarships and grants. Many esthetician and cosmetology schools, nonprofits, and professional organizations offer scholarships and grants to students entering beauty school. You don’t need to repay this type of financial aid, so it’s the most affordable way to pay for your education. Make sure you exhaust these possibilities first.
- Fill out the FAFSA. Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is how schools determine your eligibility for various types of federal aid, including scholarships and grants. Visit the StudentAid.gov website to complete the FAFSA.
- Accept federal student loans you qualify for. Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA, your beauty school’s financial aid office will send you an award letter outlining the specific federal student aid you’re eligible for. Based on this award letter, you can determine which of these federal student loans or aid programs you want to accept.
- Use private student loans for remaining costs. If your scholarship, grant, and federal financial aid isn’t enough to cover your costs, you may want to consider a private student loan for the remainder. To be eligible for a private student loan, you’ll generally need a good credit score and history, as well as a verifiable income — unlike federal student loans. If that’ll be a tough bar for you to clear, applying for a private student loan with a cosigner who has good credit may help you get approved. Additionally, you may also be able to qualify for a private student loan for bad credit.
If you’re interested in a private student loan for cosmetology school, you should shop around and compare as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your needs. As you’re comparing lenders, consider the interest rate, loan term, the amount, and any fees the lender charges.
Read more: Is Going to College Worth It? How to Decide
The companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Whether you’re the borrower or cosigner, Credible makes it easy to compare rates from multiple private student loan providers without affecting your credit score.