Student Outside playing clarinet
  1. Admissions
  2. Cost & Financial Aid

Applying for Aid

We are here to help our talented students and their families manage the cost of world-class music education through a wide variety of sources, including SFCM scholarships, federal and state grants, loans, and job opportunities. The recipient may accept all or any part of the aid offered, and may also sign up for our Term Payment Plan.

In addition, many students get financial help from outside sources such as state scholarships and local music organizations.

USA Citizens and Permanent Residents


Students, who are United States citizens or permanent residents, applying for any scholarship and/or other financial aid are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 15. This can be found at Federal aid includes Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Direct Loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, Perkins Loans, and Work Study. Our federal school code for the FAFSA is 001278. Please make sure your 2023-24 FAFSA information is correct. The most efficient way to do so is to use the FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which imports data directly from your IRS records.

International Students

International students applying for scholarship and/or other financial aid are required to complete the CSS Profile (school code: 4744) by February 15. All forms can be emailed directly to

International students will not be considered for scholarship until all required financial documents have been submitted.

Once you have accepted admission, in order for the Conservatory to issue an I-20 form you will be required to show proof of sufficient funds to pay for any tuition not covered by scholarship assistance, as well as for all of your living costs, travel expenses, and the SFCM student health insurance plan (total budget minus any awarded scholarship). Proof of sufficient funds includes original bank statements. If the statements are not in the student's name, a completed Affidavit of Support is required.

Answering Your Financial Aid Questions

SFCM’s Director of Financial Aid Kellie Gaines, M.Ed, answers the most frequently asked questions about financial aid.

We understand that college is a substantial investment. We are here to help our talented students and their families manage the cost of world-class music education through a wide variety of sources. Nearly all of our students—99 percent—are awarded scholarship assistance.

To help, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions:

What will I need to fill out the FAFSA?

To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.

If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).

How do I know if I am a dependent student and need my parents’ information to complete the FAFSA?

If you are under 24 years of age, unmarried, not an active-duty member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, not a graduate student, not an orphan or ward of the court, in foster care, homeless, not legally “emancipated,” and do not have a legal dependent, you are considered a "dependent" student and must provide your parents' information.

How soon do I need to file the FAFSA, and should I still apply if I think my family makes too much money?

The sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the better. The FAFSA is available October 1st, and the application is free. The FAFSA is not just a way to determine how much federal student aid you'll receive, state governments, and SFCM use information from the FAFSA to determine what state and institutional aid you qualify for. Even if your household income is too high for you to qualify for federal grants or work-study funds, the FAFSA is also used to determine federal student loan eligibility. There's no harm in applying, and on average, it only takes 23 minutes to fill out the FAFSA.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Most financial aid offices require that you apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year you will receive a “Renewal Application” which contains pre-printed information from the previous year’s FAFSA. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.

What else should I include in a budget for the school year, and how can I stay on track?

It's important to make sure you have enough money and financial aid to cover tuition and fees, and living expenses, but there are other expenses that make up the entire cost of attending college. Be sure to also budget for textbooks and supplies, transportation, travel to and from home during breaks, and emergencies. In some cases, you might also be required to purchase certain supplies specific to your major that might not be listed in the overall estimate for the cost of attendance.

I submitted my FAFSA, now what? 

If you submitted your FAFSA online using FAFSA on the Web, then the U.S. Department of Education will process your application within 3-5 days.

Once your application is processed, you will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA. Review your SAR and make sure all the information is complete and accurate.

If there is any missing or incorrect information, then you should complete or correct your FAFSA as soon as possible.

Your SAR will include your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC determines your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant, and the college uses the EFC to assess your eligibility for other federal and nonfederal student aid.

Once your FAFSA is processed by Federal Student Aid, your SAR is sent to the colleges that you listed on your FAFSA. Each college will use the information on your SAR to determine your eligibility for federal and nonfederal student aid. However, listing SFCM on your FAFSA is not sufficient to receive aid. You need to have applied for admission to SFCM and completed all admission requirements before an award package will be created.


Why was I offered a loan when I wanted grant assistance?

Loans are a form of student financial aid. Student loans offer interest rates and terms that would not typically be available to first-time borrowers if it were not for their student status. Gr​ant funds are very limited and are typically awarded to students whose families demonstrate the highest need. Even with competitive tuition and other financial aid assistance, it is possible that students will still need to obtain loan funding to help finance their college education.

When will I have to start repaying student loans?

Most federal loans have a grace period that allows you to wait six months after graduation before you begin repayment. Private loans vary, with some requiring payment during school and others waiting until after graduation.

If your question is not here, or for more on the financial aid process at SFCM, head to



BM, Cello

“I’m awed by how much the community here supports the arts. In Peru, I couldn’t have gotten financial support to study music at this level. There just isn’t the same kind of support for the arts or the same level of music education available. This is why when I return to Peru during school breaks, I volunteer to teach younger students in my hometown. In a few years, I hope to have a successful career as a performer and also establish a school for music in the Andes to improve the level of music education in my home country and show young people the joy and opportunity they can have through music.”


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