Financial Aid

All students at the Curtis Institute of Music receive merit-based, full-tuition scholarships regardless of their financial situation. While full-tuition scholarships cover educational expenses, Curtis offers generous need-based financial aid to cover living expenses, so students graduate free from educational debt. 

Full-tuition scholarship: Since 1928, the Curtis Institute of Music has provided merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to all students, regardless of their financial situation. For the 2020–21 school year, the annual value of this scholarship was $47,143 for undergraduate students and $58,535 for graduate students. These scholarships cover educational expenses and are renewed each year of a student’s enrollment. No financial aid application is required for the full-tuition scholarship.

Need-based financial aid: While merit-based scholarships cover educational expenses, Curtis offers need-based aid to cover living expenses. In 2021 a gift from an anonymous donor made it possible for Curtis to expand its need-based financial aid, with the goal of eliminating loan debt for Curtis graduates. Starting in the 2022–23 academic year, this aid program will take the place of loans in financial assistance awards for all students who qualify for need-based aid. Families in need of financial aid to cover living expenses must complete a financial aid application. In 2020–21, 134 students—92 percent of the student body—received some type of need-based financial assistance.

Curtis Need-Based Financial Aid

Curtis’s financial assistance for living expenses is made up of two distinct types of aid—on-campus employment (including ensemble work) and grant aid.

Curtis believes that students should give back to the Curtis community as well as take an active role in their education—even when they’re not performing. For this reason, all students receiving need-based financial aid from Curtis are expected to work on campus to earn a portion of their financial assistance. The amount of on-campus employment awarded relates directly to a student’s year of study and reflects Curtis’s judgment that the hours of expected work are appropriate.

Financial assistance packages may similarly include additional ensemble assignments. Note: Some students asked to play in lab or opera orchestras may not have been awarded this aid in a financial-assistance package. These students will be paid on a per-performance basis.

The remainder of need-based financial aid is comprised of grant awards. Grants may be offered as Lenfest Hall Residential Grants, Lenfest Hall Dining Grants, direct grants payable to the student in monthly installments, or another form of assistance. The exact type of aid will be shown on the student’s financial aid award notice. Grant recipients must demonstrate satisfactory artistic and academic progress each year.

Non-Curtis Supplemental Assistance

Before seeking need-based financial assistance from Curtis, students are encouraged to pursue funds from non-Curtis sources, including grants and scholarships available through private, public, and other sources. Private and alternative loans may be made available at parents’ request. Parents seeking loans should contact the office of Student Financial Assistance. 

Curtis students who are United States citizens or permanent residents of the United States and have a high school diploma may be eligible to receive U.S. Department of Education Title IV Higher Education Assistance (HEA) funding. Students must complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to establish eligibility. The web site is www.fafsa.ed.gov. The Office of Student Financial Assistance is responsible for administering and certifying student eligibility for these aid programs.

The programs are as follows:

Pell Grant

Pell grants are undergraduate, need-based federal grants administered and certified through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on a standard federal needs-analysis formula. Students must file the FAFSA to establish eligibility.

Veterans’ Education Benefits

The Department of Veteran Affairs administers a variety of education benefit programs; however, the GI Bill® and the Yellow Ribbon Program are the two most commonly used programs at the School.

To determine which VA educational benefit is best for you and to discuss your eligibility, students and families should contact the GI Bill® hotline at 1-888-GIBILL1 (1-888-442-4551) or visit www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

The Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-407) was signed into law on December 31, 2018. In compliance with this law, the Curtis Institute of Music allows GI Bill® and VR&E beneficiaries (Chapter 33 and Chapter 31 beneficiaries) to attend a course of education for up to 90 days from the date the beneficiary provides a certificate of eligibility, or valid VAF 28-1905. This allows a student to attend classes until VA provides payment to the institution. Curtis will not impose a penalty, or require the beneficiary to borrow additional funds to cover tuition and fees due to late payments from VA.

Tip Sheet for Servicemembers and Veterans

“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Many states offer financial assistance to their residents. Contact the appropriate agency in your state for information and application procedures.

Many governments outside the United States provide financial assistance to their citizens who are studying abroad. International students should contact the ministry of higher education in their home country for information and applications.

Understanding Costs

Applying for Financial Assistance

Supplemental Financial Assistance application information for the 2022–23 academic year will be available soon.  

Applicants may also request that a financial aid application packet be mailed to them. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

CARES Act 30-Day Fund Report

As directed by the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Curtis Institute of Music provides the following information to satisfy requirements for the 30-Day Fund Report. This public notification serves to satisfy initial reporting requirements as provided by guidance from the Department of Education.