right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Financing grad school for MM in performance

songbirdmamasongbirdmama 281 replies19 threads Member
edited October 20 in Music Major
I believe most grad programs have financial aid based on merit/talent rather than need. In the event that D does not qualify for a full tuition merit award, I'm wondering how need based aid is calculated: Are grad students considered independents? Sorry if this sounds naive, but I am admittedly in the dark about this!
edited October 20
16 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Financing grad school for MM in performance

  • CaraCoMOCaraCoMO 82 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I don't have any answers, but following with great interest!
    · Reply · Share
  • jadedhavenjadedhaven 55 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Great questions. We know our bassoon music major freshman will be going on to a masters program, so I've done a little digging on the topic. I'm looking forward to other responses.

    I know UT Austin offers full tuition for all of their music performance graduate students. Yale does as well.

    I pretty sure graduate students are considered independent adults for financial aid.

    · Reply · Share
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 281 replies19 threads Member
    @jadedhaven I think they are independent too, but wondered if there are consequences. For example. if they are declared independent, are they still covered under the parent's health care plans until 25?
    · Reply · Share
  • bridgenailbridgenail 1052 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Grad students are independent...and ALL are financially needy. So the process is different from UG. I’m not an expert but there was no FAFSA. If anyone knows more about “need” hopefully they will speak up.

    In our experience, grad students got scholarships, TAs, fellowships etc to lower tuition. My D got a fellowship to cover most tuition so we never pursued need (if it were even available). The fellowship was nice bc she didn’t have to “work” for it, like a TA. So she was able to get a separate job to cover the remaining fees and some personal expenses. The bank of mom and dad paid room and board.

    Most of my D’s friends were paying some tuition and room and board. There are of course free programs but the competition is fierce (for VP for Curtis and Rice that could be 2 or 3 spots annually for both!). So you can’t count on that...but my D went to a less selective state school and got a good deal. She was accepted at selective conservatory/programs with 50% tuition to nothing. Note that my D had a few friends go to schools in NYC for grad school paying full freight..bc their families could. Schools don’t have to be “free” to fill a class. There is more demand for spots than supply. So (besides free programs) we saw a real mix in offers from selective (and less selective) schools highly dependent on the needs of the school...meaning from full tuition to nothing. My D found out after entering her school they needed a performance ready mezzo for their fall opera...so they were willing to discount for that.

    And for health insurance until 26, a young adult can be independent and filing their own taxes and remain on their parents’ insurance. They do not need to be a student. They can even have a spouse and a baby and still be on their parents’ insurance until age 26. My D remained on my insurance until 26. We experienced no consequences. My work is related to insurance so..no worries there...presently...

    I hope this helps.
    · Reply · Share
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 281 replies19 threads Member
    edited October 20
    Great @bridgenail That they are independents, and all in the same boat is good to know, as is the piece about health insurance. Thank you. And YAY!! to no FAFSA!
    edited October 20
    · Reply · Share
  • MomofadultMomofadult 1103 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Check this with individual schools. Juilliard, for instance, requires parent info for grad students with only a few exceptions. From their website:

    Note to graduate students: We will waive the parent tax requirement only if you can prove that you were self‐supporting in the year prior to enrollment. Documentation may include your most recent tax return, or documentation of scholarships, loans or sponsor support. Scholarship decisions are based on a combination of financial need and merit combined. The financial strength of your family is an important consideration whether or not they will provide direct support to you during your graduate studies.
    · Reply · Share
  • bridgenailbridgenail 1052 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Correction in my post: "for VP for Curtis and Rice that could be 2 or 3 spots annually for both" I meant to say for a MEZZO VP candidate (not all). Curtis took only one coloratura the year my D auditioned (she's not a coloratura). I would guess that Rice takes 2 or 3 mezzos a year. Of course there could be more offers but I would bet the yield is very high at those two programs.

    As for families providing income information for grad school, it does activate that dark corner of my mind as I was surprised by the "no support" offers by quite a few conservatories (one to my D and others to her friends...I mean you can't even offer a $5K bone...the offers felt like this: you're good enough to come here and support our truly talented students).

    I hope that I'm just being negative on a cold, rainy day here...but experience does suggest to me that some school (and I have no experience with Juillard) **** for students that will pay a lot...as some families simply can.
    · Reply · Share
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 281 replies19 threads Member
    edited October 21
    @bridgenail Spot on: "you're good enough to come here and support our truly talented students" Though it's actually translated "You are good enough to come here and have your parents support our truly talented students".
    edited October 21
    · Reply · Share
  • MomofadultMomofadult 1103 replies29 threads Senior Member
    I've been in the field my entire life. Not sure what the above posts are suggesting or concerned about, but elite schools are not looking to admit students that are below their standard. Any student admitted to an elite school, whether offered funds or not, should feel their talent has been recognized.
    · Reply · Share
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 281 replies19 threads Member
    @momofadult It was my understanding that merit awards are also indications of those students that will be most competitive for performance opportunities during a 2 year MM. If a student does not get any award, aren't they less likely to get substantial roles than the student that wins "full rides" or large scholarships? To me, this is an indication of relative talent, and while the unfunded student still may be quite talented, his/her growth may be better at a place where they are at the top of the talent pool and will receive financial support.
    · Reply · Share
  • bridgenailbridgenail 1052 replies5 threads Senior Member
    edited October 22
    Yes, the post above was my point too. This was common point of discussion amongst my D's peers and with her teacher.

    I was not saying accepted students are not talented. In fact, my D only accepted at a less selective school bc she DID get acceptances at top schools. So she knew that she was competitive in that pool.

    But then the decision becomes more nuanced than simply talented or not talented, selective or non-selective, scholarship or not. It becomes about money and what you want to accomplish in grad school and where. And any answer here is simply up to the student and their family.

    My comment was to point out that when you are in a talented pool, there still *may* be winners and losers (unfortunately). This is particularly true in opera where the supply of talent is much higher than the demand. Not all talented young people at conservatories go on to be successful in the opera world (so avoid debt if possible). When you leave a grad program for opera, you want to have at very least one principal role under your belt. If you go to a selective program WITHOUT any assistance you *may* not be given a principal role. I have seen and experienced this with my D at a less selective program where promises were made about roles/opportunities/money. If you get none of that, it may still work out. However if you are going to pay $70,000 at a conservatory with no guarantees (even soft ones like a small scholarship or enthusiastic teacher)...and the full tuition person will definitely get roles...that can be a real problem. Sure the conservatory name and experience will mean something...but without roles on your resume, it can be a tough transition to the professional world (and then add debt to that - how do you compete against the person who got a full ride and 3 principal roles!). Of course some students make it regardless...so it really is up to the student and what they believe will work best for them. Still...this is a common discussion in the VP grad school world.
    edited October 22
    · Reply · Share
  • coolguy40coolguy40 2342 replies3 threads Senior Member
    It can vary somewhat by state, but generally yes, college graduates are considered independent students. This means he should be able to get grants and loans on his own. The amount of aid varies widely from school to school, so the only way to know is to actually apply for financial aid.
    · Reply · Share
  • buoyantbuoyant 116 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Interesting information @Momofadult shared about Juilliard regarding parents' financial information for grad school applicants. Wow... when does it end? Would be nice to retire someday. ;)

    I have to agree with @songbirdmama - my female VP senior is hearing that it's better to take a year off than to attend grad school without a (relatively) significant merit scholarship, as there's no better indication that you might be competitive for roles.

    Taking a year off before grad school can be helpful as some young women's voices are still developing. My concern with taking a year off is that she'd need to start paying her student loans off, right? I guess we'll know in May. :)

    It's likely a completely different story for young men in VP.
    · Reply · Share
  • compmomcompmom 10830 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Students are considered “ independent” when they reach age 24. There are a few other ways to gain independent status but for the majority, age is the determining factor. Is anyone finding that grad schools are considering under-24’s as independent?
    · Reply · Share
  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 281 replies19 threads Member
    So I guess there is no hard and fast rule regarding what to expect. I just was hoping not to have to fill out another FAFSA until D #2 reaches her senior year of high school!
    · Reply · Share
  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad 994 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Graduate students are considered independent on the FAFSA even if younger than 24. Individual schools can request parent info if they want it, but the parent info shouldn't be needed on FAFSA anymore once the student has a bachelor's degree.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity