So you want to be in the movies, and most importantly behind the scenes where the real magic happens. The first step is to choose a great film program. Already done that? Great! Film & Video Production can be one of those most expensive areas of study, what with software to purchase, cameras to buy, lighting to rent. And that’s not even counting the cost of tuition. It can be downright intimidating. Fortunately there’s plenty of ways to get financial aid. Through a combination of federal or private student loans, grants and scholarship opportunities, you can find the funds you need to go to school so you can pursue the career of your dreams.
The first thing you need to do is apply to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. This helps the federal government decide how much to give you in terms of grants and loans available. The most common grant given is the Federal Pell Grant. Both undergraduate and post baccalaureate students are eligible to receive funds but not for more than one school. The amount of the award given depends on your financial needs, the cost to attend that program and whether you attend full or part-time, but all Pell Grants are given for a total of 12 semesters. The best thing about the Pell Grant is you never have to pay these funds back.
Obviously the Pell Grant won’t cover all your expenses. Luckily there are 2 federally funded student loan options available for you, but they fall under one name, the Stafford Loan. Amounts for these loans are granted on the basis of attendance status (full-time or part-time) and your class level (freshman, sophomore, junior or senior with rates increasing with class level). The difference between these two loans is with the unsubsidized loan, the federal government pas the interest while you’re in school. With the unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest and they not based on financial need but whether or not you can be considered as a dependent for tax purposes.
As a rule of thumb, private loans should not be sought out by a student unless all federally funded loans and grants are unavailable options. This is because private loans are disbursed based on the individual’s credit rating and come with higher interest rates and risks. Scholarship opportunities vary depending on the institutions granting them and the subject they cater too. While there are plenty of specialty scholarships for film students specifically, you should take the time to see what scholarships you might qualify for at Sholarships.com. In addition, while you’re in school there are plenty of video and script contests for students. Even the Academy Awards has a student competition.
So stop making excuses and start the taking steps towards that film degree today.
Get information on film production degrees by using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have.
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