Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Paying for College


Recommended Posts

I am a retired ballet dancer and have lived in New York City for two years. I've done a little bit of freelance performing but have found myself devoting the majority of my time to working my day job and paying the intensely high NY rent.


Very recently, I decided to apply for school - I skipped college entirely to dance professionally and am now ready and excited to commit to higher ed.


A couple of days ago, I was beyond elated (!!!!) to receive my acceptance to Columbia University for this upcoming fall semester.


My question? How do I get started with paying for this? I am a likely candidate for pell grants and am going to scour every resource I can for scholarship applications. I do not want to incur crippling debt that will take twenty years to pay off so how I proceed with this process is critical.


Unfortunately, I missed the FAFSA deadline for fall (am still on time for spring, thankfully) so that is out for the time being. I just need to accumulate sufficient funds to pay for my first semester. I will be a part-time student and am going to keep a very light course load so I don't get in over my head financially from the beginning.


Any advice and resources would be great!!

Link to comment

When you find out the secret please let me know! ;)

Good luck!!

Link to comment

I'm not much help concerning tuition money; but definitely rent your textbooks from chegg.com . My daughter got her books much cheaper than even buying used, and the shipping back at the end of the semester is free. You just reuse the box that the books come in. We have saved so much money this way. :)

Link to comment

It's worth a call to the financial aid dept. to see if they can help point you in the right direction. Columbia has a good reputation that way.

Link to comment

check out the Leap program thru St. Mary's College..it is specifically for dancers/artists ...my DD has done VERY well this past yr..they give credit for your dancing education too!! :)

Link to comment

How exciting "Gottadance07) Your new experience in college is a huge step toward your future and one that you will enjoy. My own daughter has followed a different route than you by going to college first as a ballet performance major and in two years she will be trying to find work in the ballet professional world. She loves the college world but the expense of it is huge. I feel your concerns about how to pay for a higher education. Too bad that your FAFSA did not go thru for the fall and you are smart about taking a light loud to keep the expense down for the fall semester. Hopefully when your FAFSA is considered then financial help will come your way. As someone mentioned, it wouldn't hurt to contact the financial aid office to see if there is anything they can do to help you out for the fall is good advise. Sometimes there are scholarships that go unused that you might capitalize on. There is also a website called Fastweb that you might look in to. Tons of scholarships, but many of them are nationwide and alot of them require writing scholarships. The odds on some of them are huge but some of them are worth trying for. I do remember that there is one scholarship that was for a professional dancer that was wanting to get a college degree. Something that you might want to check into. Good luck with your new experience in life. I wish you the best of luck in finding financial aid to help with the expense. Keep ballet alert in touch with your adventure. We can all learn from your experience.

Link to comment

Have you completed the CSS financial aid form? Most private colleges like Columbia require the CSS as well as the FAFSA forms. When approaching Columbia's Financial Aid people, make sure you have documentation to support your request for more aid. Writing a letter explaining your financial situation and backing it up with supporting documentation can help. You're in luck in that Columbia probably has a bigger "pot" of financial aid money than many other private colleges and may come through for you.


Here's the CSS link in case you don't have it: https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp


Good luck.

Link to comment

Not sure if this is allowed here, but one site that really helped my daughter and me figure out resources, scholarships, how the whole process works is College Confidential, especially the financial aid forums. There are also college-specific topics, etc. It's not moderated as strongly as BTFD (and thank you, moderators, for all the work in that here!!) but there is often good information and support. College Confidential Forum


One thought -- would it be possible to defer your acceptance until second semester, or even one year? I know you are ready to start now, but to have a year to get the financial paperwork together, as well as working (not necessarily performing!) to build up some college $$$$s might end up saving you in the long run. It is true you don't want to get over your head in loans that will take years to pay off. Some schools will also allow a monthly payment plan -- maybe that could be more doable.


Congratulations on your acceptance! First step -- do make sure everything is together, head to financial aid, and see what (if anything) they can do/suggest at this late date. Talk to admissions, find out your options and choices. Scour those scholarship sites (but understand that many are for small amounts...then again, every little bit helps!) Think about that your life will look like as a student -- will you still be working? Will your living arrangement change? What's your proposed major?


Exciting times!!! Best of luck to you!!!

Link to comment

WONDERFUL responses, thank you all so much!!


I'm going to investigate each of these responses thoroughly; I was not familiar with the CSS profile and am starting there. One foot in front of the other, a step at a time - and a lot of faith that things are working out in the best way possible!

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Good for you, gottadance! A positive attitude is half the battle, and we wish you the very best on this journey. :thumbsup:

Link to comment

Yay! Congrats!!


Given how things work here, I think to fill out the FAFSA as quickly as possible- even though the deadline is passed (they can't usually guarantee aid after the deadline, but, most of the time, they can come up with something if it's on file). Call the financial aid office and talk to them; find out who you can speak with, and go see that person in person and explain your difficulties! Also talk to your department, if you have a dept; a lot of times departments get aid to award directly to students via points. The other thing, I know you said you have a job already, but you might also want to also look for either a full or part-time job on campus; many of these actually carry tuition points (up to 6 per semester)! I have a friend who paid her entire tuition this way. If aid doesn't come through, you can also defer enrollment for a semester so that you'll have fin. aid for the spring.


What are you going to study? If you have time, Barnard classes in the dance department (you can take for 0 credit points!), and the Columbia Ballet Collaborative (CBC) are also awesome things to check out when you're on campus!

Link to comment

I agree with Vagansmom and sunshineinmay to call your Financial Aid office and press to see if you can still work something out for fall. I work in a college and our FAFSA filing deadline is July 30th for fall. Our website says:


"After processing applications received by July 30, the Financial Aid Office will begin processing late applications. These applications will be processed in the order they were received.

What this means to late applicants:

You will need to make payment arrangements or your classes will be dropped.

You will need to pay for books and supplies out of pocket.

You will not receive a refund check on September 8, 2011.

You can still be awarded financial aid for Fall 2011.

Your award letter and any verification of award information will be delayed."


Obviously, different colleges have different rules, but aid is rarely all or nothing for those who qualify. I've found from my work in the college, students get the best response by asking (very nicely) to speak with the directors of departments rather than the front-line staff, whose job it is to say "no." If you get the pat answer that the deadline has passed, ask things like, "Are you sure there isn't still time if I'm willing to get the money late?" or "Would there be some other way we could work this out?" You could also ask, "Is there someone else I should be talking to?"

Link to comment

We too have been searching for financial aid for DD...does anyone know if non Americans can apply?? She has a legal work visa that allows pt study...

Link to comment

No, international students cannot apply for federal financial aid. Aid is offered on a school-by-school basis. There was once a list of such schools compiled by Doug Thompson, but it appears to have been taken down. Instead, check out this website on International Financial Aid. The site was recommended by a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling on their e-list.

Link to comment

Thanks for this link Pierrette...I found her school on the list that does state it gives financial aid..very weird that she was told they didnt...hmmm..she has a almost perfect GPA..so that should help..I would think??? :thumbsup:

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...