How the heck am I going to pay for this???

If come the end of January I receive an acceptance letter from RISD I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to pay for it and it’s got me more than a little worried. I’ve contemplated the scholarship/grant route, but to be honest I’d say there are a whole lot more people that are far more deserving for more than a few reasons and I think it would probably just be a waste of my time. so, that leaves me having to actually make an extra $40K+ a yr. In my previous college experience (MA History of Art, St Andrews University-Scotland, '05) I sold t-shirts that I designed, sneakers and just about anything else I could make a quick buck on and it was both enjoyable and pretty profitable. I imagine that a thing like this would go over pretty well at RISD. aside from that, I’m also in the mid-century furniture business ( and can’t help but believe that being in a place where so many people value great design would mean a whole lot of business; I just don’t know if i can properly shuffle school and paying for school. any advice?


Get a government bailout, apparently it’s the ‘new capitalism’! Seriously though, I’d get a student loan, and then work as much as possible to stay on top of things. Pretty much every college student has the same quandry…

I’d get a student loan, and then work as much as possible to stay on top of things. Pretty much every college student has the same quandry…

That’s what I did. It works :wink:

Definitely get a student loan from the govt. There’s a cap on how much you can get from them so you might also want to look into private ones. Look for Peter Reifler in the financial aid office if he’s still there, he’s the man! Then you’ll also have to do work study at the school which will be different jobs for the school that they pay you for. Some pay well for what you’ll be doing. Good suggestions are:
-Building monitor- you’ll have people sign in as they enter. Basically you get paid to sit and read over your art history stuff and do your libarts reading!
-Security shuttle driver- driving around in circles but you’ll get access to the risd van and forced respect from risd security since you work with them which may help you, worked for me, lol!
-T.A for the computer lab and when you get into ID, the wood and metal shops. It gives you executive access to the labs, your own key, etc so you can make sure you can get your work done when the normal slackers don’t show to open it up to the public. Basically you can get paid to do your own work while you also help others and make sure they don’t drill holes in their hand!
-If you like the outdoors, during the summer work for the Physical Plant, tell Manny and Joe I said hi! You have to be there at 6am but it helps beat the heat that early. But it’s dirty, cleaning up, raking leaves, cutting grass, pullling weeds, garbage, etc… but keeps you active. Also comes with perks of being cool with the plant guys who have trucks. When I switched apartments, they helped me move my stuff with their trucks and this was a year or 2 after I stopped working for them, cool guys.
-Also go for indoor office jobs like working at the continuing ed office, just signing people up over the phone to receive catalogs, easy money.
-I’d stay away from anything involving food, slaving away in the kitchens with long lines, mopping and cleaning garbage, I wouldn’t recommend it. I stayed far away.

There are a lot of ways to help pay for risd, good luck and don’t burn bridges! If people like you, they will help you a lot.

Sounds like a cop out. What’s worse, taking an afternoon to write an essay, or going 4 years paying 40g’s wondering if you could have gotten a scholarship? Common sense on that one.

Other than that, there are both interest subsidized, and unsubsidized student loans, RISD offers merit scholarships to most at some level or another… contact their financial aid department. We all go through it, graduate with a truck load of debt, and get out of it, they handle this stuff everyday.

Sounds like you are going for an MFA? If so, your department might offer an assistantship, whihc mays a lot more than work study. You might work as a TA, help with cataloging slides etc. Ahem - back when there WERE slides, that is. Don’t know if they still offer these opportunities…

BTW, you won’t have much time to devote to your business while you are at school. :slight_smile:

Good luck!

Sorry for the typos - meant to say that an assistantship pays more than work study.

BTW, if you suspect that other students might be more financially deserving of a grant than you are, then you probably won’t have much difficulty paying back loans. Pay them back quickly if you can or consolidate them over 30 years for a manageable monthly payment.

Exactly, you do what you have to do. It’s not going to be easy but you have to see it as an investment. So hopefully when you graduate with a greater ability to be employed, you should have no problem living like crap for another couple of years while you pay off the loans. That’s just how it’s done unless you’re independently wealthy but then you wouldn’t really be worrying about getting loans. Good luck.

skinny- great advice, sounds like you know everyone at risd! if by chance i do get in, i’ll tell them all you said hello
yo- the reason that I’m ‘less deserving’ is that I’ve already had a full college experience, so now, as I’m applying to another undergraduate program (because I have no formal design experience) I wouldn’t want to take away from someone that is coming right out of high school

also, I guess I should mention that I did manage to pay for college the first time around (although it was considerably cheaper overseas) and didn’t apply for any scholarships or grants. that being said, I have absolutely no idea how any of it works. I’ve done a lot of web searches but it seems there aren’t any direct answers, so I asked my college counselors from high school and they weren’t all that helpful. if someone could break it down (where to look, who’s eligible, etc) that would be great…pretend you’re speaking to a middle schooler.

Welcome to the club, at least your intelligent enough to be concerned. I have a friend that dropped out of RISD before senior year, as if she is going to become part of this elite group of successful RISD drop-outs. If you got your heart set on RISD then go for it, but there are less expensive options if money is a problem.

I’m in a similar place as you. I was talking to an older friend the other day and they said to me "You can either have a career by the time your ______ or not". Simple enough, it just depends on how important it is to you. If its important enough to take on the loans and deal with what comes with it then that’s the price it takes. A serious thing to consider is how much you want this because you will be competing with people that would write that scholarship app without hesitation. These are the same people you are going to be competing with for that first JOB.

I’m trying to make this decision right now, good luck to the both of us!

I was recently in a similar situation, I almost transferred to Art Center, they said they loved my portfolio and “were looking forward to give me a scholarship” but i wasn’t financially eligible. It was looking like I was going to have to take out about 125k in total loans.

In the end it came down to, if I really wanted to go, i’d wait till i was eligible for financial aid. I re-enrolled to the state university program and am happy with the decisions. It sucks when money can make or break a decision, but you have to weigh value and also determine how long those loans are going to take to pay off in the end.

Everybody has a different situation, but if you can make it work financially and you’re hearts set on going, try and do everything you can, talk to Financial Aid offices, alum, and people on the boards, because there’s a lot of people who are in your shoes.

Unless you just HAVE to go to RISD, you could also look at state schools. There are some good ones that offer Industrial and/or Furniture design degrees. ASU teaches Industrial design with a Furniture concentration.

If you just want to learn all about woodworking/studio furniture, then go to a non-degreed school like in Maine.

Do you want to learn Studio or Mass-produced furniture? RISD seems to concentrate on the one-off, gallery type of furniture.

Hopefully, you applied to some cheaper state schools such as University of Cincinnati, Mass College of Art etc. or applies to some private schools who offer a lot of aid ( need based and merit based aid). I personally think, especially in todays economy, that go to schools like RISD would be crazy choice IF you really can’t afford it and must take out huge amounts of debt.

Huge amounts of debt in my opinion equate to over $60,000 or more of student loans at the end! If you have to borrow your way through school, RISD isn’t the right place for you, in my humble opinion.

RISD, in particular, doesn’t offer a lot of merit aid either . Most aid, when aid is offered, is usually some need based. You might do better going to a school such as Pratt or other less expensive schools that will give you a lot of aid. Kids need to be very conscious of finance.

I PROMISE you that your dream school with a dream environment turns quickly into a nightmare for life if you have to pay off more debt than you can afford!