Paying for Culinary School

Culinary school offers many opportunities for an aspiring chef, but they often come with a high price tag. According to, culinary school tuition generally costs around $52,920 for an associate's degree or $105,840 for a bachelor's degree. While you may feel this amount of money is worth the experience, figuring out how you will come up with the funds can be tricky. Fortunately, you have several options for paying for your culinary school degree.

The first type of funding you should look for is a grant. Culinary school grants are funds awarded by the federal government and various culinary schools to help students cover the high costs of attending classes. Grant eligibility is often based on financial need, though most grants are capped at a certain limit. One of the most common government grants is the Federal Pell Grant.

Scholarships are another great way for you to get money for culinary school. Scholarships are awarded based on a variety of criteria that includes need, merit, and unique identifying characteristics. Scholarships can be given by a school or an outside source. Prominent culinary scholarships include the American Academy of Chefs Chairs Scholarship, the Future Culinarian of America Scholarship, and the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs Scholarship.

Many college students end up taking out loans to cover their educational expenses until they can secure jobs and can pay their loans back. While you won’t want to take out more in loans than you can feasibly pay back while working as a chef after graduation, it is good to know that you can go to school even if you cannot raise all the money upfront. Loans are available both through the federal government and private lenders. Not only can you obtain loans to cover your expenses, but your parents may also be able to receive loans to help as well.

Finding a job is a great way to raise money for your tuition while you are still in school. While you may not have time to work a full-time job between classes, working part time is a great way to come up with some of the money you need to pay your educational expenses. If you can get a job working in a kitchen as a line cook or sous chef, you can gain valuable hands-on experience that complements your classroom learning while paying the bills.

Last Updated: April 22, 2015