The Ultimate Guide to Culinary School Student Loans

By completing a culinary education program, you’ll be making an excellent investment in your future. With a culinary certificate or degree in your arsenal, you will be competitive in the culinary industry and be well prepared to take on the challenges presented by any culinary position. Although a culinary education is obviously a wonderful decision for any budding culinary professional, it’s also an expensive one. No matter where you are going to study, culinary school will cost at least $2,000 and can be $45,000 and higher. Not everyone has that kind of cash at hand, so many culinary students turn to student loans.

Once you take on a student loan, you will be given money that you can use for culinary school and expenses related to your education. Many loans also allow for living expenses so that you will not have to work to earn money while you are busy with your studies. Most student loans are offered interest free while you are working to complete your education program, and once you have graduated, require that you begin to pay off your loan with principal and interest.

Unlike free money programs like scholarships and grants, student loans are very easy to come by. They are available in a wide variety of outlets, and with many different features, so it will not be difficult for you to find the culinary school student loan that is right for you. When searching for a student loan to use for culinary school, it’s a good idea to use these resources:

  • The federal government: Through the federal government, you can find a multitude of student loan resources. If you plan to seek out financial aid in the form of federal student loans, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA. Once you have completed the form, you will find out how much money you are eligible to receive from the federal government. After you have been determined eligible, you can apply to get Perkins loans, PLUS loans, Stafford loans, and other financial aid through the federal government.
  • Private student loans: Private student loans are generally only a good idea for students who have exhausted their resources through the federal government. Most often, private student loans are more expensive and will charge much higher fees than loans obtained through the federal government, so they are not an ideal choice. However, they make a great option for those who still need money after scholarships, grants, and federal aid.
  • Your culinary school: Like private student loans, a loan through your culinary school can be a good idea for those who still need money after cheaper options have been exhausted.
  • Microlending: If you are completing a relatively cheap culinary program and only need to borrow a small amount of money, microlending may be your answer. You can ask friends or family to help you out with a formal loan that is mutually beneficial, as you can get a better rate than you might with a bank, and they can take advantage of a better investment opportunity than what exists in their bank as well. Another excellent resource for microlending is Prosper, which offers peer to peer loans of up to $25,000 at a time.

There are a number of different options for culinary students who are searching for student loans. These are some of the most popular student loans that are offered by the federal government:

  • Stafford Loans: Through the federal Stafford Loan program, you’ll be able to qualify for the lowest interest rates on student loans. Programs are available to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Perkins Loans: The Federal Perkins Loan program offers low interest loans to needy students. These loans are available at approximately 1,800 different postsecondary institutions. You may also have the option to have all or part of your loan forgiven by taking on certain public, military, or teaching service employment.
  • PLUS Loans: If your parents would like to help you pay for your education, they can apply for a federal PLUS loan, which will allow them to use their good credit history to secure a loan that you can use for school. In order to qualify, you must be a dependent undergraduate student completing an accredited educational program.

With this information, finding a good student loan should be easy. Just be sure to research all of the options available to you and use good judgement when choosing the loan that’s right for you.


Top Culinary Programs

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Penn Foster Career School - Students interested in becoming a caterer will enjoy the program offered by Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster has classes entirely online so students never have to leave their home.
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The Art Institute

The Art Institute Online - With an online program available, students can start a career in the culinary arts quickly and easily.
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The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America - The Culinary Institute of America is a high quality program for students interested in learning the culinary arts from some of the best chefs in the country.
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Le Cordon Bleu

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Le Cordon Bleu - One of the highest respected cooking schools, Le Cordon Bleu has graduated some of the top chef's currently working in restaurants around the country today.
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