Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial
research influence how products appear on a page.
Student Loans

Student Loans for Barber School

Becoming a barber is a dream for many people. 

It’s a career that allows freedom; schooling takes about 10 months to complete. Compared to the traditional college route, it’s more affordable. That said, the average cost of barber school is $10,000 to $20,000. That’s not a small chunk of change. 

Student loans for barber schools can help cover the costs, but you and your school must meet certain requirements to qualify. 

In this guide:

Can you get student loans for barber school?

Whether you can use a student loan for barber school depends on the type of program and the school you attend. 

If you’re attending an accredited barber program, you’ll often be eligible for student loans. Students at unaccredited schools won’t qualify for federal funding and may not qualify for certain private loans.

An accredited program maintains standards regarding the classes and programs it offers. You can find a list of accredited programs through the U.S. Department of Education’s database

What is the difference between a barber degree and certificate?

A barber degree is a postsecondary qualification you earn after completing a barbering program, often at a technical or cosmetology school. 

It’s typically a year or two, but the exact length varies by program and state. During the program, you’ll learn the fundamentals of barbering, such as haircutting, shaving, and styling. 

A barber certificate is a postsecondary qualification you can earn after completing a more basic barbering program. It’s often shorter than a degree program, taking a few months to complete.

Federal student loans for barber school

If you’re seeking financial aid from an accredited barber school, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be the first funding source you seek. 

The FAFSA is need-based federal funding with few requirements for qualification. 

The federal options barber students can opt into include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loan: This is a federal student loan to undergraduate students attending university or trade schools who demonstrate a significant financial need. The borrower doesn’t need to pay interest while enrolled in school at least half-time and during the six-month grace period after graduation.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans differ mainly in how the interest is handled. With an Unsubsidized Loan, the borrower must pay interest on the loan from the day it’s disbursed until they pay it in full. Unlike the Direct Subsidized Loan, the student doesn’t need to demonstrate financial need to qualify.

If your program is accredited and you meet the rest of the federal requirements, you should qualify for funding. Certificate programs that aren’t accredited won’t qualify for federal funding. 

To further clarify your choices, the table below covers the differences between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:

Direct Subsidized LoanDirect Unsubsidized Loan
Interest rates determined by government?
Availability Undergraduate studentsUndergraduate, graduate, and professional students
Interest accrualDelayed until after 6-month grace period following graduationBegins to accrue as soon as loan is disbursed
Eligibility based on financial need?✔ 

How to find out whether your barber school is accredited

Since accreditation is important for many funding sources, how do you determine whether the school you’re interested in is accredited? 

You have four options:

  1. Contact the State Board of Barber Examiners. Each state has a board of barber examiners; the contact information is available via a quick online search. 
  2. Speak to the accreditation agency. Contact the appropriate accreditation agency, such as the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences, to check the school’s accreditation status.
  3. Check online. Look for the school’s website or other online sources to find out whether the school is accredited. Most accredited barber schools should list their accreditation on their website.
  4. Request proof of accreditation. Ask the school for proof of accreditation, such as a certificate or letter from the accreditation agency.  

Private student loans for barber school

Private student loans for barber school can be an attractive way for borrowers to finance their studies. If you don’t qualify for federal funding—because you attend an unaccredited program or don’t have enough financial need—private loans allow you to qualify differently: often through a credit check. 

Borrowers should prioritize federal student loans to finance barber school because of their lower interest rates, more favorable repayment terms, and additional benefits for borrowers. Unlike private student loans, federal student loans don’t require a credit check or collateral.

You can use private student loans to fund certificate and degree programs at barber schools. Many lenders will require your program to be accredited for funding. This accreditation demonstrates a certain level of accountability the school is willing to take, which helps reassure the lender. 

Attending an unaccredited school doesn’t always mean you’re getting a worse education, but it means the school isn’t held to the same standard as an accredited school. 

College Ave

Career Student Loans

  • Cover up to 100% of your cost of attendance
  • Get an instant credit decision in just three minutes
  • Choose from 16 different repayment schedules

College Ave offers loans from $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance and multiple repayment options.

Key features:

  • Eligible programs: Undergraduate associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs
  • Eligible institutions: Accredited schools only
  • Loan limits: At least $1,000 and up to 100% of cost of attendance
  • Fixed rates (APR): 4.49%15.82%
  • Variable rates (APR): 4.49%15.72%
  • Fees: No application fees
  • Repayment terms: 5, 8, 10, or 15 years

Sallie Mae

Career Training Smart Option Student Loans

  • Cosigner release after 12 consecutive, on-time payments
  • Up to 100% of costs are covered
  • No fees

Sallie Mae is one of the most well-known and popular private student loan lenders in the U.S. It offers loans up to 100% of the school’s certified educational expenses.

Key features:

  • Eligible programs: Undergraduate degree or professional certificate programs
  • Eligible institutions: Schools that have partnered with Sallie Mae, including accredited and non-accredited institutions
  • Loan limits: At least $1,000 and up to 100% of school-certified expenses
  • Fixed rates (APR): 4.50%15.10%
  • Variable rates (APR): 5.00%15.55%
  • Fees: No fees (e.g., origination fees or prepayment penalties)
  • Repayment terms: 10 – 15 years


Undergraduate Student Loans

  • No fees
  • Check your loan eligibility without a hard credit check
  • Quick application process looks beyond your credit score

Earnest offers fixed- and variable-rate loans with flexible terms, including biweekly payments. Borrowers aren’t responsible for any origination or application fees.

Key features:

  • Eligible programs: Undergraduate bachelor’s degree programs
  • Eligible institutions: Accredited schools only
  • Loan limits: At least $1,000 and up to 100% of the school’s cost of attendance
  • Interest rates (APR): Starting at 4.79%, with competitor rate matching for loans with similar repayment terms
  • Fees: No fees
  • Repayment terms: 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years


Career and Professional Training Loan

  • Cover up to 100% of costs
  • Check your rate without affecting your credit
  • No fees on undergraduate loans

Ascent can help you cover up to 100% of your cost of barber school. 

Ascent offers cosigned and non-cosigned student loan options, with the cosigned option having the lowest interest rates. 

The lender also offers a unique borrowing option it calls an Outcomes-Based loan for juniors and seniors with a GPA of 2.9 or higher. This loan can help these students with poor credit scores qualify for funding without a cosigner. 

Key features:

  • Eligible programs: Undergraduate degree programs and professional training and certification programs
  • Eligible institutions: Schools that have partnered with Ascent, including some accredited and non-accredited institutions
  • Loan limits: At least $2,001* and up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance
  • Rates (APR): Undisclosed
  • Fees: No fees for undergraduate loans; 5% origination fee for career and professional training loans
  • Repayment terms: 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, or 20 years for undergraduate loans; 5, 7, or 10 years for career and professional training loans

* Minimum of $6,001 for borrowers with a Massachusetts permanent address.

How to apply for barber school student loans

Applying for barber school student loans is similar to taking out any other student loan. 

You’ll want to spend time researching your options and have personal and financial information handy before applying. 

  1. Research student loan providers. Before applying for a student loan, it’s important to research the different loan providers to find the most affordable option. Consider whether the loan provider offers fixed or variable interest rates, fees, repayment terms, and other features.
  2. Contact the school’s financial aid office. After researching student loan providers, contact the financial aid office at your school to get more details about its loan requirements and programs. It should be able to provide you with more information on loan eligibility, how to apply, and other necessary details.
  3. Fill out the FAFSA. After researching loan providers and contacting the school’s financial aid office, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA form. Each year, you’ll have a set time when you can fill out the form. For the 2023 – 2024 school year, you have from October 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. Do this before seeking private student loans because many federal loans offer better rates and repayment programs. 
  4. Look for private loans, if necessary. Start looking into private loans if you don’t qualify for federal funding. These can cover gaps in funding. 
  5. Complete the loan process. Once you submit the loan application, the lender will notify you about approval within two weeks. If approved, you’ll sign the loan documents and complete the process. 

Give yourself enough time to research student loan providers and fill out the FAFSA form to secure loan funds before school starts. It’s best to begin this process several months before classes start.

Alternatives to student loans for barber school

According to recent numbers, student loan debt in the U.S. has exceeded $1.7 trillion. If you’re not interested in adding to that total, the following options can help you pay for the cost of barber school. 

  • Apprenticeship: A terrific way to save money is to find an apprenticeship at a barber shop. As an apprentice, you can learn the skills necessary to become a barber without investing in expensive tuition or taking out loans. You’ll need to be licensed to be an apprentice, which costs about $100
  • Grants: You may be able to find grants for barber school through the school or other agencies. The American Association of Cosmetology Schools has a list of scholarships and grants you can check out. 
  • Crowdfunding: Online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe offer a chance to request donations for the cost of barber school. Be sure to craft a compelling story and explain why you’re seeking funding. 
  • Savings: Barber school is less costly than most four-year degree programs. Try to save as much as possible to pay your barber school tuition. You might supplement the rest through financial aid and grants. 
  • Work while studying: Many barber school students also hold down jobs. It may not be ideal, but it can help cover the costs and keep you from taking out loans.
  • Use education savings: If you are a beneficiary of a 529 education savings account, you can use the funds to pay for education costs if the school meets certain requirements.

>>Read more: Does financial aid cover cosmetology school?