Financial Assistance

Since 1928 Curtis has maintained an all-scholarship policy. The Curtis Institute of Music provides merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to all undergraduate and graduate 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 are renewed each year of a student’s enrollment. No financial aid application is required for the full-tuition scholarship.

In 2020–21, there were 7 Federal Pell Grant recipients. There were 134 students who received some type of financial assistance, including grants, loans, and student employment opportunities.

Students who demonstrate financial need will be awarded adequate assistance to attend the Curtis Institute of Music. No student will have to leave Curtis solely because of financial need. Financial assistance for living expenses is based on financial need alone.

Curtis Financial Assistance Award Sequence

1) Loans

Federal Direct or an alternative loan, as described below.

2) On-campus employment

Students who require supplemental financial assistance for living expenses are expected to work and earn as much of the assistance as possible, artistic and academic schedules permitting. On-campus employment is the second level of funding awarded in a financial-assistance package. The amount of on-campus employment relates directly to the instrument and year of study and reflects our judgment that the hours of expected work are appropriate.

3) Reduced ensembles

The financial assistance package may include an award labeled “reduced ensembles,” although the assignment may be to the lab orchestra and/or the opera orchestra. 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.

4) Supplemental grants, including housing and dining assistance

This award may be offered as a Lenfest Hall Residential Grant, Lenfest Hall Dining Grant, or as a direct grant payable to the student in monthly installments or other form of assistance. The exact type of aid will be shown on your financial aid award notice. Students offered grant assistance are required to take at least some loan funds in order to retain grant funding. Students offered grant assistance are generally required to work a minimum number of hours each week in order to retain funding. Grant recipients must demonstrate satisfactory artistic and academic progress each year.

Non-Curtis Supplemental Assistance

Before turning to Curtis for supplemental assistance, students are expected to utilize funds from non-Curtis sources, including grants, loans, and scholarships available through private, public, and other sources.

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 Financial assistance in the form of Pell grants, Direct Stafford loans, and/or PLUS loans will be awarded to students on the basis of documented financial need. The Office of Student Financial Assistance is responsible for administering and certifying student eligibility for these aid programs. Not all Curtis programs are eligible for these federal programs.

The programs are as follows:

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

Direct Loans are government sponsored low-interest loans to assist students and their parents in meeting educational expenses. Direct Student Loans are administered by the Office of Student Assistance.

Direct Loans may be certified as interest-subsidized or unsubsidized, based on federal eligibility requirements. All loan amounts are determined by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Maximum Borrowing Per Academic Year (includes unsubsidized loan portion)

  • First-year undergraduates: $5,500
  • Second-year students: $6,500
  • Third-through-fifth-year undergraduate students: $7,500
  • Graduate students: $20,500 per academic year

Eligibility for a Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is established by filing the FAFSA. Parents and graduate students who qualify may borrow funds up to the cost of attendance less other financial assistance. Parents and graduate students obtain these loans through the Direct Loan program. A credit check is performed as part of the eligibility for this loan. Contact Veronica McAuley for more information.

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

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

International and other students who are not eligible for Direct loans through the U.S. Department of Education may apply for a private loan. The Office of Student Financial Assistance can help students and families secure alternative loan funding. Curtis does not recommend any private lenders nor has a preferred lender list. Students who borrow through the Curtis loan program will be notified on their financial aid award notice.

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

If you wish to be considered for Supplemental Financial Assistance, you must complete and submit the supplemental financial assistance form. 

Please do not fax or e-mail financial aid application information.

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


The Curtis Application for Supplemental Financial Assistance is now available. Please refer to this checklist before returning all forms by March 1 along with supporting documents.

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.