Going to school, either for the first time or to facilitate a career change, is one of the best decisions you will ever make. It can help you find your passion, connect with like-minded people, and of course significantly boost your career. There are many factors you need to consider when deciding what program is right for you, and for many people (especially in the current economic climate) the biggest factor is how much it costs.
Hospitality schools are unique because the programs they offer are so diverse. Where else do you get fields as different as the pastry arts and hotel management under one roof? Because of this diversity, and the various formats available (full-time, part-time, online), it can be difficult to sort out the financial side of things. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the costs associated with hospitality school as well as some ways to save money.
The cost of hospitality schools generally relies on three factors: the type of program, the length of program, and the program format. The first factor is pretty easy to understand—longer, more involved programs cost more. For example, a certificate built on a series of one-day seminars may cost less than $1000, while a full-time four-quarter certificate costs about $6000. Obviously you will learn more in the longer course, but full-time study might not be possible for you. If you are already working in the hospitality industry and want to earn a certificate to further your career, ask your boss what kind of certificate he or she recommends. It may be that the $1000 option is sufficient to earn you that promotion.
The second factor, type of program, basically distinguishes more academic programs, like hotel management, from programs in the culinary and pastry arts. Whereas a diploma in hotel or food service management may cost between $3000 and $6000, culinary and pastry arts programs can run $25,000 or more. Finally, online programs are generally less expensive than those taken in person, especially if the school you attend is located in your state.
Some hospitality schools have financial aid programs. For accredited institutions, these often take the form of federal student aid, aid for military families, and student loan programs. Some schools also offer need-based scholarships, grants, and the opportunity for work study, where you work an on-campus job as part of your financial package.
Education can be a significant expenditure, but over your lifetime it will more than pay off as your earnings potential rises. If you want to go to hospitality school, but don’t know if you can afford it, talk to the financial counselors at the schools you are considering. They will be able to help you identify and apply for the various aid opportunities for which you are eligible.