College these days is outrageously expensive. Tuition sometimes rises by as much as 5% each year, forcing more and more youth to turn to student loans. It is wise to avoid debt as much as possible, and to minimize loans. This maxim holds particularly true for students planning to enter potentially low-paying professions such as art.
Below are a few schools that provide a free education for students studying art:
Cooper Union is a private tuition-free university in Manhattan, New York. Admission is very competitive, but students who are accepted do not have to pay. It offers a very limited range of majors (art, architecture, and engineering), so it is not the best choice for those who are not absolutely sure they want to pursue art.
The Curtis Institute, located in Philadelphia, is another tuition-free choice: all admitted students receive full scholarships. It offers only music degrees. This is an excellent school, on par with Julliard.
Another option, of course, is to attend a traditional university with free tuition. The College of the Ozarks and Alice Lloyd College are both liberal-arts schools offering degrees in art or music. Several other schools also offer degrees for free or in exchange for work-study. Many schools offer full-tuition scholarships to high-achieving students, such as athletes, outstanding artists or musicians, or National Merit Finalists.
While the military is not for everyone, if a student is admitted to a service academy it is an opportunity to gain a well-respected degree for free, and most academies have opportunities for students to study the arts. Of course, all academies require a service commitment.
College is a big expense, but with a little planning ahead student debt can be minimized. Students interested in the arts should consider applying to a specialized school such as Cooper Union or the Curtis Institute.
Students who aren’t definitely sure which field they want to pursue should submit applications to traditional universities that offer free tuition or full-tuition scholarships.
For students interested in serving their country, the armed forces academies are another possible option. A quick search through a college compilation book or through the Internet can provide a wealth of information. The school guidance counselor is another excellent resource.
Of course, the student should apply to many colleges in order to compare and find the cheapest option. Perhaps an application can be submitted in each category: a specialized school, a tuition-free university, and a military academy, along with some full-tuition schools.
The important thing is to go where you feel comfortable and can achieve your goals-but don’t underestimate the freedom of graduating debt-free!