The cost of massage school ranges anywhere from a few thousand dollars to up to tens of thousands of dollars per year, depending on the length of your program and its location. There are countless resources available to help you pay for massage school, including the popular government loan and grant program that most people associate with FAFSA.
What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form that almost all students fill out prior to being accepted at a college or trade school. This form helps funders calculate your financial need as well as what your parents or family can be expected to pay for your schooling. (This is also known as your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution.) Based on these numbers and the total amount of the school’s cost of attendance, the government can then determine what kind of financial support you need to complete your education.
For some students, this can translate to grants or grant programs, which provide you with financial aid for massage school that doesn’t have to be repaid. For others, it might mean that you are eligible for federal student loans, which do have to be repaid, typically with a payment plan that begins a few months after graduation.
How Complicated is the Form?
Like any financial application, the FAFSA will ask you questions about your taxable income, your parents’ taxable income (if you are under the age of 24), and your personal records. These records might include financial statements, pay stubs, and other paperwork. Don’t be intimidated by the process—most massage schools have a financial aid officer on staff who can help you determine which records you need and how to access them. Every state has its own deadline, too, so you will need to be sure and check when your FAFSA is due.
If your massage program lasts longer than one year in length, this form must be filled out for each additional year of school you attend.
What Does Federal Funding Pay For?
In most cases, the funding you receive comes in the form of a check or direct deposit. Your tuition may be paid for you, and the monies you are granted are then to be used for massage supplies, books, and other school-related items (including room and board). Although you aren’t required to show proof of how you use the money, you do have to successfully enroll in and attend your massage program, or you may be required to give the financial aid back.
The FAFSA isn’t the only way to pay for massage school, but it is a popular option. If you intend to take this route, your massage school must be a participant in the Title IV Funding program.