Much like the difference between retail and wholesale, there is a
difference between the “total cost” and “net cost” for college. The
total cost is the sum of everything you will need to spend money on,
which may include tuition, housing, books, etc. However, the net cost
(what you end up paying yourself) will be lower if you receive financial
aid, such as a grant, scholarship, loan, or work-study job from the federal government, your state government, the theatre school or department at your chosen college, or a private organization.
The federal government offers several types of aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(or FAFSA), including Pell grants, Stafford loans, Perkins loans, and a
work-study program. Another great resource is EdTA’s annual Thespian Festival, where you can audition for Thespian scholarships. Several state Thespian groups host their own festivals.
Keep in mind, too, that the financial aid application
process usually involves forms, deadlines, and requirements that are
different from those in the college application process. You don’t even
have to wait to be admitted to a college before you apply for most