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Share some good financial aid stories?

TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
edited September 2009 in Visual Arts and Film Majors
Alright, here's the thing. I am not worried about my daughter getting into a good art school she loves. I'm worried about financial aid. My son got to pick from full ride offers, but he was a traditional student. As far as I can tell, art schools don't *have* full rides. (Even Cooper Union is only full tuition, which leaves thousands of dollars in room/board/supplies/travel.) Every day I find myself stressing about this more and more. It seems like *every* art school gaps aid, and it's just a matter of whether the gap is 8K or 28K. *wince*

Does anyone have any *good* financial aid stories? I guess I need "Chicken Soup for the EFC=0 Mother of a Senior Art School Hopeful". :-) Alternatively, anyone know of any schools with *amazing* aid that we should have on our list?
Post edited by TrinSF on
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Replies to: Share some good financial aid stories?

  • worried_momworried_mom Registered User Posts: 2,205 Senior Member
    You probably won't get many "good" financial stories from independent art schools as they tend to have small endowments (compared to other colleges) and as far as I know, none of them offer "full rides" (except perhaps to one or two kids a year), or even promise to meet 100% of need, as you have already noted. However, if you check out the CC archives from recent years, you will find some postings about aid packages from various art schools. None of them can be considered even close to “amazing.” In general, SCAD, CCA, SAIC, Pratt, and MICA seem to give out relatively reasonable – but modest - aid packages, and RISD definitely has the reputation as being the very stingiest with grants. Also consider MassArts: It has among the lowest tuition/fees for an art school, even for out-of-state kids; it seems to be bargain even without financial aid.

    If financial aid is indeed a big concern for your family, then your daughter might want to also look at universities or LACs that have strong studio art programs – especially if her academic credentials are high enough to put her in the running for National Merit Scholarships or other scholarships. The public schools tend to be lower cost to start with (for example, University of Cincinnati, University of Arizona), and some of the private ones offer substantial merit scholarships (like Syracuse University).

    And no matter where she ends up, be prepared to spend lots and lots of money on art supplies!! :D
  • TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
    Thanks for your comments. Basically, there is no family money for college, and she will have no loans above the minimal subsidized ones. (And by no money, I mean, as in, I manage about $500 a year for my son, and that's it. She'll be able to have about the same, probably in supplies.) As far as LACs, she and I have a commitment to her primary goal: that she be in a true BFA art program with foundation year, etc, not a LAC BA/BFA degree with liberal arts breadth requirements. She's actually getting pushed by her school about this, and we constantly have to push back. It's not negotiable, and she'll end up at a non-selective art school like Academy of Art U before she'll end up at a LAC.

    She's not in the running for NM money, or any other academic scholarships other than Cal Grant money (for having above a 3.0, doing A-G, etc). She's in an all-AP curriculum and works very hard at it, but she is a visual thinker who doesn't excel at test taking.

    And yeah, basically, this is why I'm anxious. For my son, I had no anxiety at all, because we knew he'd get plenty of aid. Art schools are *hard*. My hope is that SAIC's efforts financially for her will exend to generous college aid, too.
  • DocRobertDocRobert Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    I'd definitely apply to SCAD, if your daughter is very talented there is a small chance of a full tuition scholarship there (I'm pretty sure they give out at least 20 per year), while at Pratt and RISD (correct me if I'm wrong) the max is usually half tuition. Pratt is the only other place I applied to and they offered me half of what I got from SCAD. Room, board, and supplies are expensive but you should be able to handle it with outside scholarships and loans.

    And even if she doesn't have a 4.0 or absolutely outstanding portfolio, there is a decent chance of say, half tuition at SCAD. They have both academic and artistic scholarships that range from $2,500 to 10,000 and I think they give out a lot of those.

    Good luck with your search, I was in the same position last year.

    P.S. There are a hand full of public universities with strong art programs that include a foundation year, etc. I think Temple is one of these that would be worth checking out as a backup if the scholarships don't work out.
  • TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
    I guess she's going to have to apply to SCAD, even though we're trying to avoid it. (We have a crazy stalker relative who lives in that area, so it may not be safe for her.) Temple is now on the radar, though "cheap public" doesn't help unless the aid meets 100% of need. Syracuse is another one of those big schools with a strong art program on that list; I have a friend who ended up there because of the great financial aid and she has lots of wonderful things to say about how they work to give students an art school experience within the context of the larger university.

    As for portfolio, you know, I have no idea what that will be like. Certainly she gets positive interest, but I feel like I'm at a loss to tell what makes for strong portfolio. It's diverse, it's unusual, and I guess her instructors feel she has a strong point of view. She also has the "advantage" of having almost no traditional high school art coursework -- she is largely self-taught.
  • NesterNester Registered User Posts: 862 Member
    Given that FA is likely going to be better at an LAC or uni than at a free standing art institute, I wonder if there are colleges besides Syracuse and Temple that would provide your D with the kind of foundation year/art program she seeks. If you could find a few more college-based possibilities without sacrificing the kind of program your D needs, you might be able to come up with more of a financial safety. I'm also wondering about FA at Cal Arts, and about the fine arts program at Chapman, which certainly has an excellent film program along with a reputation for excellent FA for its most desired applicants.
  • TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
    Our understanding is that Cal Arts is notoriously stingy with aid. Daughter spent the summer there, and though she will apply, she's a very bad fit for the school (not a good place for interdisciplinary students).

    I'm definitely interested in finding LAC or university options that have a foundation year BFA program, but I haven't found many. I've repeatedly asked about it on CC and pretty much we come up with the same 2-3 programs.

    In a different school (or a different family), my daughter would have been someone who got C's in non-college track courses, spent a lot of time in the school art room, and dropped out early. The larger school district had already tracked her into that sort of thing in eighth grade. Instead, she's in a fabulous charter high school that sends 100% of students on to four year colleges. She's spent 4 years jumping through their hoops, and she would be a solid LAC candidate. The problem is that she considers spending *another* four years taking libera arts coursework to be cruel bait-and-switch. She's had to make her live's ambition secondary to the traditional academics for four years, with the promise that if she studied hard -- and damn, does she study, 6+ hours a day, every day -- she would be *done* with all of that and be able to spend the next 4 years doing what she loved. Spending part of this summer at SAIC, doing nothing but art was *bliss* for her, was exactly what she wants -- 18 hours a day of studio, with breaks to eat and sleep. As far as I'm concerned, it's my job to help make that happen for the next four years. :-)
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs - Posts: 3,076 Senior Member
    Do the Questbridge and pick Parsons for the match
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs - Posts: 3,076 Senior Member
    There is this little LAC in Michigan that supposedly “changes lives”.
    I couldn’t get to go see but their studio art major 4 years sample schedule shows very few academic req. than other LAC.
    Facilities won’t be same as Reed Bard Wes Con, etc. and religion part is weird but gives great aid let alone it is way cheaper to start with.
    http://www.hope.edu/academic/art/Prospective%20Students/prospective.html
  • diontechristmasdiontechristmas Registered User Posts: 2,891 Senior Member
    I guess she's going to have to apply to SCAD, even though we're trying to avoid it. (We have a crazy stalker relative who lives in that area, so it may not be safe for her.) Temple is now on the radar, though "cheap public" doesn't help unless the aid meets 100% of need.

    For what it's worth, my cousin transferred to Temple this year, from SCAD, because it was not worth the money.
  • NesterNester Registered User Posts: 862 Member
    If you've already done this, sorry, but consider going onto the parents' board asking if anyone can identify universities and LAC's that have excellent, art institute quality fine arts programs but not a lot gen ed requirements. Hopefully, someone who's been through this before will share his or her kid's list, and you'll be able to cross check to see if the schools on the list offer decent FA.

    Be sure to ask the moderator not to move the post back to this board because you really want to cast a wide net and have the largest possible cc population see your question.

    I am worried about the "not negotiable" aspect of your post. It sounds as if the free-standing art institutes that would be most appropriate for your D might turn out not to be viable for financial reasons. But it also sounds as if most universities and LAC's, which would offer adequate FA, are not viable because they don't offer the quality and intensity of art program your D needs.

    There might be a compromise position if you could find some LAC's and universities that have art programs that are truly intensive enough and good enough; that will meet your family's demonstrated need with solid FA; but that would require your D to spend time taking gen ed courses during her first couple of years. I realize that she truly doesn't want to do this and it seems counter-productive to you and to her given that she already knows where her passion and talents lie.

    But what if taking four or five college level gen ed courses in areas that interest her a lot less than studio art would buy her an art education which, if she got it at a free-standing, minimal-FA art institute, would put her $150,000 in debt?
  • TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
    @Nester I've actually been combing through curriculum pages for places like Sarah Lawrence, Evergreen State, and Bard trying to find one of those "very flexible" LACs she could work with. Of course, they don't meet 100% of need, so the search continues.

    @bears and dogs Wow, Parsons and Questbridge! I had no idea they were participating now! That would entirely work! Might be a stretch, but it's one strong possible way to make it happen. (PS: OMG, Hope College. The religion is a little weird, yes. I was trying to imagine my strange harajuku / hippie / Buddhist / peacock-colored mohawk daughter in those pictures, and it wasn't happening. :-))

    UPDATE: Ehhh, I don't know that Questbridge is going to work. She can apply, but there are caveats. Questbridge counts all household income, including income not counted in other ways. Additionally, she's not academically competitive for the program. She's 3.5ish, but not ACT 30+.
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs - Posts: 3,076 Senior Member
    You'd know before Nov if she made finalist or not. LACs maybe, but I doubt non-finalist has any advantage for Parsons, if end there, enough time left for plan B C D E…
    But not enough time if you don’t strat NOW to write up world’s best excuse possible why you got money on the paper but you really don’t, she could have but why so far ACT >30, how much she would benefit if only…. blah blah that she can always recycle for other college app essays.
    Deadline is Sep 30th. Hardest part would be to get rec letter sent electronically on time by tech challenged humanites teachers but if she goes to charter instead if dumpy public, it should be easy.
    Read up entire 2006, 2007, 2008, ongoing 2009 QB thread/ forum and see if it is worth the effort, which I do believe yes.
    @ Hope. I do agree but here is someone told me when I was constructing lists of schools to visit.
    “Beggars can’t be choosers”
    Dung.
  • NesterNester Registered User Posts: 862 Member
    Trin-
    Are there any superb university or LAC-based studio art programs at schools that do meet all FAFSA-determined need...but are not super-flexible in terms of curriculum, like the colleges you've listed above? Would it be worth it for your D to think of the gen ed courses required at a superb, FA-rich, university-based art program as a job that enables her to earn enough to get the art education she wants essentially for free? This might beat the kind of job that would be needed in order for her to attend a high-priced, low-FA art institute. Not sure if this would work for her, but it might be worth considering, depending what other financially viable alternatives emerge.
  • TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
    @bears and dogs I don't have money, but I live with a partner. Because we're not married, his income cannot be included on the FAFSA or CSS Profile. However, it would seem to violate the spirit of Questbridge to apply in a situation like that. My son thought about it a lot and decided not to use Questbridge, because he felt that the funds should be used by students who had overcome more adversity than he had. On the other hand, it could be argued that my daughter has had different life experiences than my son, with a lot more personal adversity. She and I will have to talk about it. But if she's willing to apply via Questbridge, her school is entirely set up to do that -- they have Questbridge prep groups. As for her references, they're a well-oiled machine about that, too, and since each teacher only has 15 or so students to write for, they can put plenty of time/energy into it.
  • NesterNester Registered User Posts: 862 Member
    For heaven sake: Go Questbridge! Especially since they might not see a whole lot of fine arts applicants and your D's talent could help her stand out in a higher scoring but less artistically accomplished crowd of Questbridge hopefuls. Your partner has no legal obligation to take care of or pay for your D; this is why his income doesn't count against her in this process. It might violate the spirit of Questbridge if this guy was sitting there pulling out his checkbook and ready to subsidize her college education, but from what you're saying, that isn't the case. The fact that you live with a partner who has money that is not, in fact, available for your D to use for higher education shouldn't stand in the way of her being able to compete for a place in a program that could send her to art school. IMHO, anyway.
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