Financial aid comes in various forms such as Federal government aid, scholarships, and various awards and grants. This article provides a handful of specific tips to keep in mind when applying for aid.
#1 – Accreditation matters: Accredited schools that offer a full massage therapy program (meaning at least 500 hours) are eligible for Federal Financial Aid. If you think you qualify for Federal aid, applying to an accredited massage therapy school can almost guarantee that you will receive some type of assistance from the government.
#2 – Reputation matters: When considering massage schools to attend, check to see whether the school is part of industry associations and organizations. The more of these the school is part of, the better the likelihood that you will be able to tap into additional aid money offered by these organizations.
#3 – Connections matter: Highly visible and reputable massage schools that are part of associations and organizations typically have a broader network. Always ask the school you are evaluating whether they know of associations and organizations that offer scholarships, awards and grants. These types of aids are free, which means you don’t need to pay them back. Although slightly more competitive to qualify for and receive, this is the best type of aid in our opinion as it is free (often times a Federal financial aid package will include loans that need to be paid back with interest).
#4 – Diligence matters: Filing out the FAFSA form for Federal financial aid is a straight forward process that may not involve much thought; but when applying for scholarships, awards and grants, bear in mind that several others are likely applying for the same money. These types of applications generally include some open ended questions and/or essays you must write. How well and thoroughly you fill out your application makes a big difference. Be thorough in your responses and articulate well. Get someone to review your application and give you feedback before you finalize and submit it. Make sure it reads well, is error free and grammatically correct.
#5 – Persistence matters: Be punctual and follow up frequently. When applying for Federal aid, make sure you submit the application on time. FAFSA forms are usually due in January for the upcoming school year beginning in the Summer and Fall. This means that if you are a high school senior planning to start massage school after graduation, you will have to submit your FAFSA form before January while you are still in school. When applying for scholarships, awards and grants, follow up every now and then with the organizations you applied at if you don’t hear from them and ask about the status of your application.
How to Maximize Your Financial Aid Award Resources
The more sources you can tap into, the larger your financial aid award can potentially be. When evaluating schools to attend, larger, more popular institutions that are members of various organizations and associations and which are also accredited will potentially give you the most amount of financial aid.
Many such institutions also have formal financial aid departments/functions, or at least a representative that is responsible for financial aid related matters. The key is to get in touch with this department or person, and then to request a list of all the different resources where financial aid is available. Massage schools are competing for you and generally these departments will do their best to point you to as many financial aid resources as possible so that you can attend their institution.
On a final note, just because a school is accredited and offers financial aid doesn’t necessarily mean it will be cheaper to attend compared to a non accredited school. Some non accredited schools have significantly lower tuition and fees to begin with. Read this article to understand this comparison more thoroughly.
For a full understanding of the FAFSA form and various financial aid options available to you, read this article.