How to Have an Affordable Art School Experience

Between the price of tuition, the cost of art supplies, and any necessary living expenses (either on or off campus), it can be easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of obtaining a higher education. Certainly, post-secondary education can be expensive, but with a little dedication and effort, there are many ways to make art school financially possible. With some foresight and planning, art school can be affordable! Here’s a closer look…

How Much Does Art School Cost?

Art school has a different set of resource requirements than traditional universities, which make up the bulk of the cost of an art education. Many students and parents don’t realize that studio space and one-on-one time is necessary for art students to learn their craft. Unlike traditional university lecture halls, art studios and classrooms must accommodate not only students, but whatever equipment they’ll train on. Additionally, class sizes tend to be much smaller than many other college courses as art students require hands-on training and one-on-one feedback that would not be possible in a class with many students.

On top of tuition, students may be responsible for additional school costs, such as studio fees. Other expenses that will vary from school to school and student to student include:

  • Living Expenses – Living expenses may include on-campus housing and cafeteria meal plans or off-campus residency and related bills.
  • Transportation – For those living off-campus, transportation costs may be a factor, whether through public transportation or personal gas costs. Notably, full-time Hussian College students commuting in from NJ are eligible for a 25% discount on NJ Transit rail and light rail passes, helping to mitigate some of the cost.
  • Books – Prices on books can vary greatly, although purchasing used books can help cut costs.
  • Art Supplies – Many professors will provide their students with a list of art supplies, which the student will be responsible for purchasing.

The Cost of Art School Supplies

The supplies needed will vary from college to college and class to class. When attending an art school, resources won’t be limited to text books; many classes will require art supplies such as sketching pens and pencils, drawing pads, digital or film cameras, and paid access to photo editing or illustrative software (usually payable at once or in smaller monthly increments). Some professors will be very specific about what they expect their students to purchase; others have looser requirements. You want materials that are of a high enough quality so as not to compromise the integrity of your artwork, but not so expensive that you are intimidated about actually using them!

At Hussian, the estimated total cost of supplies (including books and art-specific supplies) fall around $1,645.00 per year, although there are many ways to mitigate some of the cost.

Ways to Save Money on Art Supplies

Sometimes you’ll be able to get used art supplies from family and friends (or even alumni!) – every little bit helps if you’re looking to save money. Another great way to cut costs is to group up with other students and buy materials in bulk, splitting the costs.

While some college bookstores sell art supplies it can be a good idea to comparison shop. At Hussian, we encourage you to visit one of the many nearby art supplies stores for appropriately-priced high-quality supplies. Alternatively, many materials can be found online. Make sure you confirm with your professor whether you need a specific brand or product for the class.

Ways to Start Saving for College in High School

Even if you’re still in high school, there are many ways to begin saving for college. As with most things, the earlier you start putting money aside, the more you can benefit! Realize that this fiscal responsibility is something you will need for the “real world” anyway, so you are just getting an early start on a skill that will help you throughout your adult life.

College Savings Account

Make it a habit of putting a portion of the money you earn or receive as a gift into a “college account”. As the money accumulates in your account, you will earn interest. If you already have a good amount saved up, talk to your bank about whether a term savings account would work for you – this type of account tends to have a higher interest rate.

Part-Time Employment

Not only will finding a part-time job earn you extra cash, you will be starting up your work history for your résumé. If you have a summer or seasonal job, see if you are able to stay on during the school year and work a few evenings a week. Some colleges even offer work-study programs for students in need of financial aid. Even better, you can arrange to have a little transferred to your college account every paycheck.

Start Your Art Career Early

There are a number of sites catered towards those who like to buy handmade crafts, jewelry, and artistic hobbies. These sites often accommodate not only completed items, but made-to-order items, which means that you could even consider yourself a “commissioned artist”.

Prize Money

There are many essays, art, photo, and film contests for high school students that offer prize money. Ask your high school if they have a list of suggested contests, or do some online research on your own. Winning a related contest would also look great on your résumé. If you’re going for a writing-related program – art criticism, for example, it would make a great addition to your personal art statement, or could be added to your art portfolio if appropriate and relevant to your subject matter.

Art School Scholarships and Bursaries

If you work hard and do your research, you may even find ways to go to art school for free or at a great reduction on your part. Scholarships are monetary rewards for scholastic achievement and bursaries are for students who can demonstrate need; unlike loans, neither of these get paid back. The money is the student’s, period.

Financial Aid

Fortunately, there are a number of state and federal financial aid programs available for students, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. However, it is important to know that receiving financial aid may affect whether a student can work on campus or receive tuition payment gifts. With that thought in mind, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with any technicalities that may exist. fe

Many colleges have their own scholarships and/or bursaries students can apply for.  Your high school should have a list of the different scholarships, grants, and bursaries at state and federal levels. Hussian College offers an impressive number of scholarship options:

  • Incoming students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program whose portfolios demonstrate skills in art and design may be eligible for portfolio-based scholarships;
  • Incoming students with high GPAs may be eligible for academic-based scholarships; and
  • Incoming students who can show need or financial hardship may be eligible for bursaries.

Hussian also has partial tuition allotments awarded every year to Juniors to use towards their Senior year:

  • Mae Katherine Gerhard Memorial Award — for excellence in Illustration
  • Ruth & Bernard Petlock Memorial Award — for someone of sound character and financial need
  • Myra Shuman Memorial Award — for excellence in Graphic Design

These awards are based on the student’s scholarship application, academic standing, and portfolio, as well as specific considerations of each respective award.

Be aware that if you win a scholarship that pays you out every academic year, there will most likely be a minimum GPA you must maintain in order for the scholarship to be renewed, or to ever qualify for a different scholarship from the same school. For this reason, it is important to be diligent in your studies, apart from wanting to learn and thrive.

Answers to Your Questions and an Opportunity to Network

College staff can be knowledgeable and helpful resources for current and prospective students. Many colleges have a financial aid office or a payment office; the staff there may be your best bet for any inquiries you have of a financial nature. Sometimes the admissions staff will be the ones advising on entrance scholarships, which may be an early opportunity for them to get to know you.

If you are able, take a trip to the campus and speak to the college staff in person. Not only could you obtain useful information, but you can also get a glimpse of what life is like on campus, and possibly meet some of the professors of your chosen program.

The financial component of attending college can be confusing and stressful – contact us if you have any questions! We would be happy to walk you through the details of Hussian tuition and financial aid.