Financial Aid tips for new applicants

by Tina Gonzalez, Director of Financial Aid

Now that you’ve completed your admissions application, it’s time to start thinking about financial planning as well. Very few students can attend college without some form of financial aid, and our students are no different. Over 90% of our students are receiving some kind of aid through Juilliard, and over 70% are receiving scholarship. Here are some steps you can take now to help finance your college education.

1. Get organized! Make a spreadsheet of each school to which you are applying, and make a note of their costs of attendance, required financial aid materials and deadlines. Later on you can enter the scholarship offers you’ve received and compare them (federal financial aid should be similar at every school, since this money comes directly from the government).

2. Plan ahead! If you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track. Have a candid discussion with your parent or guardian and find out how much financial help you can expect from them. This includes whether they’d be willing to take out loans on your behalf, or cosign a student loan with you.

3. Educate yourself! Do you know the difference between a grant and a loan? In addition to learning about your schools, you’ll need to know about federal student aid as well. This includes grants, loans and work-study funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The best sites to visit are www.studentaid.gov and www.finaid.org. The information there is so helpful, we even refer to them ourselves when we have questions. In addition, you can go on the FAFSA website (www.fafsa.ed.gov) at any time to get a preview of your federal aid eligibility.

4. Do some research! In addition to saving for college, you should also research outside funding sources. There are plenty of free scholarship searches online such as www.fastweb.com. You can also write letters to local philanthropic organizations, especially ones with whom you have a religious, ethnic or professional affiliation. Or you can even throw yourself a benefit performance to raise money!

So, to get you started, here’s what you’ll need to apply for financial aid and scholarship assistance at Juilliard:

Juilliard’s scholarship decisions are based on financial need AND merit. The merit component is based on the strength of your entrance audition. The need portion is largely determined by the information on the following required items:

  • The Juilliard Financial Aid application, which will be available online in January.
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), if you’re a US Citizen or resident. This is available at starting January 1, 2010.
  • A complete, signed copy of your and your parents’ 2009 federal tax form, or (for international students) official documentation of your parents’ salaries.

Detailed instructions will be available in the Financial Aid application. Our deadline is March 1, 2010. It’s extremely important to apply on time, as we are unable to award aid until all forms have been received.

I hope you find this information useful. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and encourage you to stay in contact with us throughout the process. If you have any questions or concerns along the way – even if you just want to make sure we’ve received your information – we’re here to help you. Good luck!