Scholarships & Financial Aid: Paying for Your Master's

Earning your master’s degree opens up doors and creates paths in your life and career that otherwise may never have existed.

At VCFA, you can fulfill your life with minimal disruption. It’s true that a master’s—whether it’s a MFA, MAT, or other postgraduate degree—requires a significant investment and a substantial commitment. Don’t be discouraged by these potential hurdles. Getting your master’s through VCFA is a worthy endeavor and we can help you along the way.

How would I pay for this?

It’s one of the questions we receive the most—can I afford this? In short, yes. VCFA has a host of financial assistance options, including loans, grants, scholarships, and fellowships that are available to eligible students. We can work together to make your degree affordable and with minimal strain on your finances. Visit our financial aid page here.

We also urge you to call the admissions counselors in your specific program of interest for additional resources, information on financial aid, or to arrange a one-on-one consultation with a financial aid representative.

What other financial programs does VCFA offer?

We offer a number of programs that you might find helpful in achieving your master’s, including:

Named Scholarships are a source of need-based and merit-based aid for students. Each of the named scholarships awarded through the programs have been established with the generous and dedicated support of donors connected with VCFA. Some of these are merit-based and awarded to students who best meet or exceed standards or criteria set by a scholarship donor.

Merit-based scholarships may be awarded based on academic achievement or on a combination of academics and other criteria.

Need-based scholarships may be awarded based on the financial need of a student. To be considered for need-based scholarships, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Outside scholarships, many of which are based on merit or special criteria, are often awarded by businesses, community groups, and religious organizations. Some external scholarship resources are listed on the tuition and scholarship pages of your program of interest. Contact your undergraduate alumni association to see if they provide continuing education scholarships to their members. Also contact your undergraduate financial aid office to see if they have a proprietary external scholarship database you can access.

Fellowship opportunities are provided in some VCFA programs. These are typically working fellowships that require a determined number of working hours where the student is awarded a stipend or has compensation applied to tuition and fees.

Yellow Ribbon Grants may be available to VCFA veteran students and is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veteran’s Educational Assistance Act of 2008, also known as Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Veterans Graduating Semester Grants provide VCFA veterans attending under the GI Bill with a grant to cover their graduating semester fees.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans enables students to obtain a long-term, low fixed-interest rate loan with an amount up to $20,500 per academic year. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans are a non-need-based loan. The federal government does not subsidize any interest. Students have the option to pay interest while attending school or have interest accumulate and be capitalized at repayment.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is available if additional loan funding is needed beyond what the students may borrow with the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program. Loan amounts can be up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.

For students in our MAT programs, you may qualify under the Federal Loan Forgiveness Program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications. The Federal Loan Forgiveness Program may be available for up to a combined total of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.

Does VCFA offer payment plans?

VCFA has a deferred payment plan which breaks the semester payments into 4 installments. The first 2 payments are due before the beginning of each residency. The last 2 payments are due in the second and third month of each semester. There is a $50 payment plan fee and a 2% interest charge on the balance to be deferred after the initial payment.

Are there program-specific financial programs?

In many cases, yes. Click on the program links below for program-specific tuition, fees and scholarships information.

Why should I get a master’s degree?

There are many reasons why someone chooses to advance their education beyond a BA or BFA. Our students spend two years intensely focused on their work with the help of our internationally renowned faculty. The attention to detail and personal assistance our faculty provides often transforms our students’ work once they’ve reached their final semester.

Where can I go with my master’s?

Our students have graduated from VCFA and entered into a wide variety of fields. Most have become successful authors, composers, artists, designers. Many have entered the world of teaching; higher education organizations often require faculty to have at least a master’s degree. For those that are already teachers or professors, a master’s degree can boost your pay and provide better job security. Besides teaching, some of our students have developed their own arts organizations in their communities, or run important nonprofit art institutes. Earning your master’s can unveil a wide range of possibilities and pay off in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Will low-residency work for me?

The low-residency education model—available at VCFA for all programs except Writing & Publishing—lets you earn your master’s without leaving your job or family for a significant amount of time. Students attend VCFA’s Montpelier campus for a few weeks a year (length depends on program) and continue working back at their home communities. It lets you maintain your career while continuing to improve yourself. Low residency is one of the many reasons our students choose VCFA.


Lucy Bourgeault

Director of Admissions & Financial Aid
[email protected]
802-828-8600 / 866-934-8232