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

Barber school takes about 10 months to complete and averages $10,000 to $20,000. It’s more affordable than the traditional college route but not easy to afford out of pocket.

Student loans for barber schools can help cover the costs, but you and your school must meet certain requirements to qualify for federal and private loans. We’ve identified highly-rated lenders that let you prequalify without affecting your credit score below.

LenderBest forOur rating
Department of EducationFederal student loansNot rated
EarnestNo fees4.7/5
SoFiMember benefits4.7/5
CredibleComparison shopping4.6/5
ELFIPersonalized support4.5/5
AscentNo cosigners4.3/5

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
Availability Undergrad studentsUndergrad, grad, 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.  

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.

This accreditation demonstrates a certain level of accountability the school is willing to take, which helps reassure lenders. 

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.

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, and each one sets its own eligibility criteria for borrowers.

Each of the lenders in the table below lets you check your eligibility online without affecting your credit score.

Best for…
Rating (0-5)
Best for no fees
Best for member benefits
Best for comparison shopping
Best for personalized support
Best for no cosigners

Are all barber schools eligible for student loans?

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 a certificate?

The primary difference between barber degrees and barber certificates is how long they take to complete and, as a result, how much practice you’ll get before graduating.

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.

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.