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50 Best Free Grants to Pay for Barber School [How to Apply]

Cosmetology has continued to attract students as a career opportunity. Even though it is a competitive field, it is also a profession in which the self-motivating, hardworking, individual can carve out a lucrative career. The amount of hair salons, beauty salons and day spas in the United States speaks of the vitality of the profession.

However, just like any other professional career, adequate schooling and training is very important. Most states require cosmetologists to be certified, and the way to that certification is through a college or vocational school. Students looking to venture into cosmetology as a career path will find that there are many grant programs in place to help them achieve their goals.

Grants are available from a wide range of sources including federal and state governments, colleges and vocational schools and professional associations.

Although it is more or less not possible for all students to get scholarships and merits, but without grants, many students would not be able fulfill their career interests. Besides traditional college degrees, grants can also pay for an education in many other professions.

The demand for high quality stylists is continuously increasing in the general market category. These cosmeticians can expect professional-grade salaries and exciting high – powered careers. A cosmetology school grant or scholarship is a financial gift for aspiring cosmeticians.

These grants, used to pay tuition, don’t need to be paid back. Any amount remaining after paying for the course fees belongs to the student. Have it in mind that studying cosmetology in prestigious schools (and even in regular reputable schools) does not come cheap.

A regular course in cosmetology can cost anywhere around $6500 and $10000. While still in high school or college, aspiring cosmeticians should talk to their school’s adviser or counsellor on grants specific to beauty schools. Most schools often have a list of grants from various specializations.

Also note that the guidelines for cosmetology courses and the accreditation for schools are regulated by states. To avail of financial aid, you should choose a school that meets state – specific licensing requirements. The National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts & Science (NACCAS) monitors the accredited schools.

Have it in mind that not all states require a high school diploma for students aspiring for a career in cosmetology. Also have it in mind that some states also accept GED equivalent.

Some cosmetology schools insist on admission test before enrolling. The cosmetology programs also tend to vary in different schools. This span is anywhere within a few months and up to two years, depending on the specialization of the study.

Cosmetology school grants and scholarships tend to be awarded based on need. Others are provided on the basis of merit. Talent also tend to play a very big role in the field of cosmetology. The grades and potential of the student can get them a free or discounted ride in many reputed cosmetology schools.

But irrespective of what other people say, grades in high school and college does matter. A sterling report card can increase your chances of winning the grant and scholarship.

List of Free Grants to Pay for Barber School

There are as different types of college grant programs as there are college students. There are need-based grants and merit-based grants; career specific grants and student specific grants. However, the opportunities for finding the necessary funds for college are only limited to the determination, and the imagination, of the college-bound student.

  1. Federal Government Grants

Every student looking for grant money to help reduce the cost of their college tuition should start by looking into any government programs for which they may be eligible.

The Federal government provides a number of financial aid opportunities for students pursuing a college education, including low – interest loans and grants. Cosmetology students may be interested in these government grant programs:

  • The Federal Pell Grant

This is one of the most popular government financial aid programs. The Pell grant is specifically designed to help low income students afford the cost of college education. The grant is open to all college-bound students who meet the minimum income requirements.

Final award amounts are based on financial need, total cost of attendance and full or part time enrolment status. The maximum award amount is $5,500

  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

The FSEOG is also available to low income undergraduate students who have qualified for the Federal Pell grant, but still have an excess of unmet need. Award amounts range from $100 to $4000, depending on the student’s financial need and the availability of funds. The FSEOG is strictly first come first served, so it is important to apply early.

  1. State Government Grants

Many state and local governments offer grant opportunities for students looking to attend college or trade school as a pathway to a career.

However, each state will have different financial aid programs, and students are encouraged to visit the dedicated website of their state’s Department of Education for specific details. Some examples of the types of programs that may be available from your state include:

  • The Oregon Opportunity Grant

Sponsored by the Oregon Student Access Commission, this grant is designed for low income students attending college for career training. Applicants must be residents of Oregon State.

  • The Iowa Barber and Cosmetology Arts and Sciences Tuition Grant

Supported by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, this grant is available to student residents of Iowa who are pursuing a degree in cosmetology at an accredited state college or vocational school. Maximum award amount is $1200 per academic year.

  • Vernon’s Kansas School of Cosmetology

Vernon’s Kansas School of Cosmetology in Wichita, Kansas offers scholarships to students beginning cosmetology studies at the school. For more information about available scholarship programs, visit the Vernon’s Kansas School of Cosmetology website here

  1. School Supported Grants

So many cosmetology schools in the United States sponsor a variety of grant programs for students who may otherwise not be able to afford their tuition costs.

Programs supported by beauty colleges and vocational schools are generally need-based, though grant awards may also be decided by academic achievement. Some of the more notable cosmetology schools that offer financial aid programs for their students include:

  • The Avalon School of Cosmetology

This school has a dedicated in-house financial aid department that helps match students to applicable grants and scholarships. Prospective students are encouraged to contact Avalon’s financial aid department directly through their website.

  • Empire Beauty School

They have campuses in 21 states. Empire’s financial aid department helps students apply for both federally funded and privately supported grants. Empire Beauty Schools are also partners in the American Cosmetology Education Grant Program.

  • Walla Walla Community College in Washington State

This school offers a variety of grants and scholarships through its Cosmetology department. Students have access to both Federal and school sponsored grant programs.

  1. The ACE (Access to Cosmetology Education)

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools offer scholarship funds to people who want to become beauticians or cosmetologists. Note that these scholarship funds are meant for those who want to further their careers in beauty and are in need of financial assistance to do so.

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools has corporate sponsors which help fund scholarships for eligible students. Scholarships under the ACE Grant includes:

  • Sport Clips Scholarship

The Sport Clips Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship available through each participating beauty or cosmetology school. To apply, current and prospective cosmetology and beauty students should contact their school’s financial aid officer.

  • Farouk Systems USA/AACS Cosmetology Scholarship

The Farouk Systems USA/AACS Cosmetology Scholarship offers six scholarships to beauty and cosmetology schools for students to pay for their training and education.

  • OPI Scholarships

The OPI Scholarships offer several $500 scholarships to pay for beauty or cosmetology school training and education. Interested students must be enrolled in a cosmetology or beauty related program at an American Association of Cosmetology member school to qualify. Students must also write an essay and provide at least one industry recommendation.

  • Beauty Schools Marketing Group Scholarship

The Beauty Schools Marketing Group Scholarship awards a substantial $2500 scholarship on a quarterly basis to a student at a beauty school who is attending a previously unattended cosmetology school. Applicants must complete an application form for the scholarship that includes short essays about current issues in the beauty industry and their own personal achievements.

  • Aurie J. Gosnell Scholarship

The Aurie J. Gosnell Scholarship awards four scholarships each year to beauty or cosmetology students. For more information and to apply, visit the Aurie J. Gosnell Scholarship website directly at

  • Professional Beauty Association, National Cosmetology Association, Sally Beauty Supply Scholarship

The combined Professional Beauty Association, National Cosmetology Association, Sally Beauty Supply Scholarship program awards $1,000 scholarships to seven high school graduates each year. Students must be enrolled in a cosmetology school and complete an application to qualify.

  1. Grants from Professional Organizations

Businesses and professional associations also support grant programs as a way to encourage students to enter into certain professions.

Cosmetology students in the United States can easily find a variety of grant programs being sponsored by corporations and businesses with close ties to the beauty industry. Likewise, associations of cosmetologists and beauty schools often provide funding to help deserving students find the resources they need to complete their education.

The following examples will give cosmetology students an idea of the kind of programs that are available from the business community

  • Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology School Scholarship Program

The Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology School Scholarship Program, which is sponsored by Great Clips hair salons, offers semi – annual scholarships to students who want to attend cosmetology or barbering school. For more information, visit the Cosmetology School Scholarships page on the Great Clips website

  • NCEA Esthetician Scholarship

The NCEA Esthetician Scholarship offers esthetician students a $1,000 scholarship to attend esthetician school. Applicants must complete the scholarship application form and provide a one page typed statement of need for the NCEA Esthetician Scholarship. For more information or to apply, visit the NCEA Esthetician Scholarship website

  • Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation

The Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation offers financial assistance for professional training in cosmetology or beauty school. The Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation award is $1,000 annually for students. Applications are collected by the Foundation each year from January through June 1st.

  • Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation

The Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation provides scholarships to fund educational opportunities for students to attend cosmetology related programs. Students must have demonstrated financial hardship or be involved in an enterprise of disadvantage.

For more information or to apply for the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation scholarship, visit the Paul Mitchel Schools website

  • The American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI) Scholarships

The American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI) Scholarships include a $250 cosmetology scholarship to attend cosmetology school as well as a college bound scholarship for cosmetologists and beauticians to earn a degree. For more information on how to apply for the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute Scholarships, visit their website

  1. African Americans

African American students hoping to attend beauty or cosmetology school might consider applying to these scholarship programs aimed at improving the skills and educational level of people of colour. Here are some opportunities for African Americans to consider for scholarships to beauty or cosmetology school.

  • The United Negro College Fund

The United Negro College Fund manages dozens of private and corporate scholarship programs available to African American students pursuing vocational training or a college degree. Applications are expected to be made through the United Negro College Fund website.

  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

African American students looking to attend beauty or cosmetology school can apply for scholarship grants through the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Beauty and cosmetology students must have at least 2.5 high school grade point and maintain that grade point average while in college on the scholarship. Students must also demonstrate a need for financial assistance in order to qualify. For more information, visit the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People website.

  1. Hispanics

Current or prospective beauty or cosmetology students who are a member of a Hispanic ethnic group can apply for a scholarship program that focuses on increasing the education and skills of Hispanics. Some of the available scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students include these programs.

  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program picks 1,000 students every year and focuses on African American, American Indian, and Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander and Hispanic American students with strong academic scores and demonstrated leadership who have promise and demonstrate financial need.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program covers all tuition from start to finish within eligibility guidelines. For more information on the Gates Millennium Scholars Program or to apply, visit the Gates Millennium Scholars Program website

  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund strives to break down barriers that prevent Hispanics from achieving higher levels of education and skills for employment. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund offers dozens of scholarship opportunities in conjunction with private and corporate sponsors.

Each scholarship program has its own requirements and application process. Applicants can apply for more than one of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund programs. For more information on how to apply for a scholarship through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, visit their website

  1. Women

There are many scholarship opportunities to attend cosmetology or beauty school that are geared specifically toward women who are looking to develop their careers.

Have it in mind that scholarships are not limited to beauty and cosmetology school attendance, but the funds can be applied for study at these types of schools. Scholarship opportunities for women are available through these foundations and organizations.

  • The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation

The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation scholarship offers educational support for women, especially those who live on a low income or those who have children in their homes. For more information and to apply for the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation scholarship, visit the website here

  • The Soroptomist Women’s Opportunity Award International Scholarship

The Soroptomist Women’s Opportunity scholarship disburses money to women to give them the financial resources necessary to improve their education, skills and prospects for employment. Women who apply must be residents of one of the 19 member countries of Soroptomist International of the Americas.

For more information or to apply for the Women’s Opportunity award through the Soroptomist International of the Americas Foundation, visit their website

  • Women’s Independence Scholarship Program

The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program is a privately funded scholarship for women who want to provide economic independence for themselves and their children. For more information about the scholarships awarded through the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program or to apply, visit the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program website here

  • Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship

The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship is for non – traditional students who are women at least 35 years old. The eligible applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, enrolled in or accepted by an accredited school and pursuing a vocational education, associate’s degree or first bachelor’s degree.

The student must provide evidence of low – income based on estimated household income for the upcoming school year. For more information or to apply for the Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship program, visit their website here

  1. Grants for Veterans and Active Military Members

If you are a veteran of the United States military and looking to attend beauty or cosmetology school, scholarships through the Department of Defence may be available to you to assist with the cost of attending school. Each program has its own requirements, application process and eligibility restrictions.

  • Armed Forces Tuition Assistance Program

The Armed Forces Tuition Assistance Program helps active service members in supporting their educational goals by providing scholarships to fund up to one hundred percent of the cost of trade and educational classes taken by the service member during off duty hours.

Each branch of the United States Military has its own criteria for program eligibility, years of service obligations, application processes and other restrictions and requirements. For more information or to apply for the Armed Forces Tuition Assistance Program, visit the program website here

  • Military Evaluation Program

The Military Evaluation Program under DANTES provides funding for courses at colleges or universities to service members in the process of earning a degree or trade certificate. The program aims to further the career or advancement of participating service members. For more information or to apply, visit the Military Evaluation Program website

  • Service Members Opportunity Colleges

Service Members Opportunity Colleges aims to advance the post secondary education of active service members and help reduce employment problems among military members upon leaving or retirement from the service. For more information on the Service Members Opportunity Colleges scholarship or to apply, visit the program website

  • Third Party Assessment Program

The Third Party Assessment Program evaluates the post secondary trade and educational programs utilized by service members and analyze the usefulness of the programs. This program may also award scholarships to trade and educational programs that meet certain guidelines for the advancement of careers of service members. For more information, visit the DANTES website

  • Montgomery G.I. Bill for Active Duty Military

The Montgomery G.I. Bill for active duty military members offers up to three years’ worth of scholarships for educational activities. Eligibility requirements include completion of a high school diploma or general equivalency degree and have met specific service obligations outlined by the program.

For more information or to apply for scholarships through the Montgomery G.I. Bill for Active Duty Military, visit the GI Bill website

  • Montgomery G.I. Bill for Selected Reserve

The Montgomery G.I. Bill for Selected Reserve offers scholarships and financial assistance for those who are members of the Selected Reserve of the branches of the United States Armed Forces.

Eligibility depends on each branch, and the benefits are provided by the Veterans Administration. Eligible members of the Selected Reserve can receive up to three years of scholarship funds to apply to a certificate, vocational training, degree program, apprenticeship or on the job training.

For more information on how to apply for a scholarship through the Montgomery G.I. Bill for Selected Reserve, visit the G.I. Bill for Selected Reserve website here

  • Reserve Educational Assistance Program

The Reserve Educational Assistance Program provides educational scholarships to members of the Reserves of all branches of the United States Armed Forces who are called to active duty due to war or a national emergency was declared by the President of the United States or Congress. To apply for the Reserve Educational Assistance Program or for more information, visit the website here

  • Survivors & Dependents Assistance

The Survivors & Dependents Assistance provides scholarship funds and educational assistance to eligible dependents such as spouses and children of veterans who meet certain eligibility criteria. The Survivors & Dependents Assistance offers up to 45 months of scholarship support.

For more information or to apply for the Survivors & Dependents Assistance scholarship, visit the website here

  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program is a matching funds scholarship program for veterans who participated in the program while on active duty. Eligibility requirements include voluntary contributions while on active duty, completion of the first period of military service, not released from the service dish.

How to Apply for Cosmetology Grants

First you have to understand that no two grants are the same. Qualifications and steps to apply tend to differ accordingly. However, financial assistance in traditional colleges and universities is easy to approach. The same cannot be said of cosmetology schools.

Students entering college have several resources at their disposal. Cosmetology students, meanwhile, would have to carve their own way.

First find a cosmetology school that suits your requirements. Inquire if they have their own scholarship program. If not, participate in a state – based, federal, or corporate – supported grant program. Apply for the grant or scholarship through interactive forms. Send the forms through the participating program administrator.


Cosmetology can offer students a lucrative and exciting career. Certified cosmetologists can find themselves working in local beauty salons, day spas, and television and film production. Have it in mind that a career in cosmetology starts with the proper education, and that education can begin when students take advantage of the grants and scholarships available to them.