Financial Aid Cut Off Levels? Programs? (CA, USA)

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  1. #1
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    Talking Financial Aid Cut Off Levels? Programs? (CA, USA)

    Context:
    I am thinking about art school in California. I graduated University from a UC (University of California) already in International Relations. My grades weren't all that great, and I think I doodled a bit too much in class.

    I've been working for a couple years as a manager in international business and have some savings in the bank and also am interested in going back to school for a Graphic Design degree. I have just now begun that search. I won't have any parental support and I don't know how I could pay for the schools without Financial Aid. I want to keep my savings as much as possible, because that's basically start-up-life seed money for when I get out (a lesson learned hard the first time I graduated).

    Questions:
    1. If I go to a school in the US, California specifically, what is the limit on what I can earn, in order to qualify for Financial Aid? (I am OK with loans, but would like the best terms possible and possibly any grants if theres any possibility.) The key point is that I need funding and I need to make sure that I don't earn "too much" next year that I can't get support.

    2. Since I already graduated from a 4-year University, are there any limiting factors that I need to be aware of?

    3. If I were to considered a universities program (as opposed to a purely vocational institution), does anyone know if its possible to get into an accelerated program that focuses on the major, rather than degree requirements. (I am not interested at all in doing General Ed Requirements, since I already have 1 degree).

    4. Are there Graduate Degree programs that will consider someone with a BA who is switching emphasis from the non-art world to Graphic Design?

    5. If I am ambitious and not just intending to work on my own projects and would like some intellectual education into the world of graphic art (re: on a management/controlling level), which schools or programs in California (or the West) are highly esteemed in the Graphic Art community from managerial perspectives?


    Thank you.

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  3. #2
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    As someone coming from a similar background who was looking into the same sort of thing, I unfortunately have to say your options aren't very good.

    The fact that you already have a previous bachelor's degree means you are ineligible for all grants and almost all financial aid--the best you can hope for is that you will be given a few loans, but even then I would say you shouldn't expect much. There is nothing you can do to qualify for financial aid because you already have a degree. Financial aid is only an option if you go on to a Master's program, but if you are just hoping to acquire another bachelor's degree in graphic design, you cannot make yourself eligible for it. Financial aid's for 1st time degrees only.

    In addition, you may also be considered ineligible for scholarships for the same reason.

    If, however, you are considering going on to do a graduate problem, I would think that you would still be able to get in if you have a very strong portfolio demonstrating you are at the same level as someone who had a BA in art. This would also mean you were eligible for financial aid again. However, since it IS a master's program, it's not something that would be teaching you fundamentals, since it's assuming you already have all of those from an undergraduate education. If you are still a beginner or unfamiliar with graphic design, then do you really want to be stepping into a master's program with nothing before that?

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    Thank you for your feedback. To reply... Well, it depends.

    Grad:
    Doing work part-time and community college for 1.5 years wouldn't be terrible, if Financial Aid could help afford the Masters program. So I'm interested in that. I presume that Graduate work is far more concentrated and therefore the ability to explore will be greatly reduced. However, that might be alleviated by community coll pre-work.

    Undergrad:
    Such an approach might be more beneficial than another Undergraduate degree in terms mainstream industry applications. Although a good campus would allow for many open courses in a wide breadth of arts.


    Are there any graduate programs well known for High-End Packaging or Product Design? (I don't mean toys, I mean 2-D packaging for boxes and products.)


    Thank you.

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    you could go for a 1 year certificate

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  7. #5
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    I'm finishing my second bachelor's (BFA) in July. The kind of financial aid you can receive as a 2nd bach candidate depends highly on your school, but in terms of federal financial aid you are only eligible for loans (no grants of any sort). Your school may offer you some form of small scholarship money that is privately funded -- I got an art merit-based one for this year -- but it's rare for 2nd bach people to be eligible.

    The federal loans are 100% dependent on how close you are to capping out on the maximum loan amount for your degree type --- the official federal financial aid site should have the actual dollar amounts for undergraduate vs graduate totals. So, that may factor into your decision of whether or not to get a masters vs another bach.

    You don't actually have to major in the same concentration as an undergrad to get into an MFA program --- just have to have the right portfolio work. That being said, some of the more specialized programs, graphics design being one of them, might require a minimum number of undergrad courses in the concentration. It can also depend on the school.

    From the research I did before going back for another degree, it seems that most 2nd bachelor's programs will waive general education requirements based on what you did in your first program and the grades you got. My program course for my BFA (2nd bach) was a total of 55 credits, 0 of which were general education. I did have to take a sequence of 4 art history courses, but the rest are all studios.

    - I would advise you to look at a cheaper rather than big name school if you're going to go the 2nd bach route --- funds are limited and generally speaking what you get out of art school is 100% correlated to how much effort you put into it.
    - Speak to advisors in the schools you are interested in and see what kind of program they would draft up for you if you were to be admitted. The range of credits required can vary wildly from school to school.

    Hope this helps a bit

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