Tuition and Financial Support Structure of the Learn to Farm Program
The comprehensive, immersive approach of the Learn to Farm Program, with it’s staff-intensive mentoring model, is expensive to operate. We source our funding from three revenue streams: commercial sales of our farm products (which student farmers help our staff to produce, manage and market as part of their training), private philanthropy (with deep thanks to our wonderfully supportive extended community), and student farmer tuition contributions.
Student Farmer Tuition Contribution:
Please note that significant tuition assistance is available in a number of forms directly from the Farm School (see below). Our goal is to assemble a terrific and diverse group of students, with few limitations due to their capacity to contribute financially to the program.
For the 2018 – 2019 Program session running October 4, 2018 – September 14, 2019 the full tuition, including room and board, instructional program, off-farm workshops, seminars, books, materials, supplies and some conference fees is $18,500.
Students who live off-site in non-Farm School housing receive a discounted tuition rate of $15,500. These students are responsible for finding and paying for their own accommodation. Off site tuition does include partial board (breakfast and lunch during program days).
Participants are responsible for their own personal health insurance and for contributing to the shared costs of transportation to field trips, conferences and some off farm workshops (carpooling, driving, gas money, etc). Students are also responsible for basic personal supplies including appropriate clothing and gear, bedding, and any snacks or specialty items they choose to purchase in addition to the basic pantry items provided by The Farm School for making personal meals.
The Farm School Investment in Student Farmers:
Full tuition covers less than half of the cost of providing the Learn to Farm Experience to each student farmer. In other words The Farm School invests roughly an additional $24,000 in each student farmer, matching and exceeding their tuition contribution. Each year the Farm School works with our donor community to fundraise half of this amount, or nearly 30% of the costs associated with the education we provide our adult students.
We also raise and distribute an additional nearly $100,000 -$150,000 every year in financial assistance among our 15 student farmers in the form of need-based tuition reduction awards and work study arrangements. See below for details on applying for tuition reduction, fellowships and work study.
Doune Trust Fellow: One full scholarship is available for a uniquely bright and compelling student representing an underserved community with great potential to serve or lead that community agriculturally. This scholarship carries the full value of the student farmer tuition contribution, including room, board, books and materials fee ($18,500).
To Apply: Please address a one page letter to our Fellowship Committee describing the community you hope to serve, your history of service or leadership in that community and your goals for how the Learn to Farm Program can help you help your community. Letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit your letter as well as your online application to the program before the regular application deadline, February 15.
Willow Tree Fellow: One full scholarship is available for a student that identifies as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx or Indigenous and who demonstrates particular promise to make good use of the Learn to Farm Program’s agricultural training. This scholarship carries the full value of the student farmer tuition contribution, including room, board, books and materials fee ($18,500).
To Apply: Please address a one page letter to our Fellowship Committee describing how you plan to use the agricultural training provided by the Learn to Farm Program and how your past accomplishments demonstrate your potential to follow through on these plans. Letters can be sent to email@example.com. Please submit your letter as well as your online application to the program before the regular application deadline, February 15.
Accepted students seeking financial assistance with the Learn to Farm program tuition have the opportunity to apply for a Tuition Reduction Award and/or indicate a desire to participate in the Work-Study program. There is an expectation that all students (with rare but notable exceptions) meet the financial obligation of covering their own room and board ($3,000) and books and materials fee ($500). Beyond that, Work-Study opportunities may be combined with Tuition Reduction Awards to help students find the right level of financial support they each need. Additionally, applicants who self-identify with any of fellowships described above are encouraged to follow the application instructions for those fellowships.
We count on our admitted students to work with us to determine what financial assistance they will need, if any, in order to attend the program. To the degree possible, tuition aid will be extended directly from The Farm School to individuals or families who meet generally accepted standards of need and/or would be eligible for certain established tuition benefit programs (Federal Pell Grants, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), as these federal grants are not available to Farm School students at this time). Please know that we will consider your particular case carefully and do our best to make it possible for you to attend.
Need-based Tuition Reduction Awards:
Tuition Reduction Awards are supported by a pool of funds The Farm School raises and dedicates each year to support outstanding candidates with high potential to contribute to land and community who have limited current capacity to contribute financially to the program. The value of each Award will be determined by the Financial Support Committee. The committee will base their decisions on an assessment of the applicant’s potential to contribute to growing the reach of the Farm School’s ethic and mission of connection to land and community, intersected with their financial need, as determined by the Tuition Assistance Application form.
Federal education grant policies (Pell and FSEOG) are used as a guiding benchmark for Award values. Typically, Pell Grants provide up to $6,000 to students who earned – or whose families earned, if they are dependents – less than $20,000 (sometimes more) in the previous year and who do not have significant assets; in addition, FSEOG can provide up to $4,000 more to students with significant need, for a potential total of $10,000 in this type of aid. In some cases, where additional financial support is required, Tuition Reduction Awards can exceed this amount. Please indicate on the Financial Support Application form the amount you believe you CAN afford for tuition and fill in the general financial information requested.
To Apply, please complete and return the Tuition Assistance application form after you have been accepted into the program. Please pay attention to the last request on the form of a 250 word letter (please upload or attach to the form) that both describes how the financial support would be helpful to you, and how you hope the Learn to Farm experience will help you better engage and serve community and place.
When possible, we offer $3,000 in Work Study to be used for tuition reduction to those that need it in order to attend. Work Study can be combined with any other financial aid or it can stand alone. The work-study expectation is 1.5-2 hours per program week.
To Apply, please complete and return The Tuition Assistance application form after you have been accepted into the program.
International Applicants seeking tuition reduction or work study opportunities should complete and return the Tuition Assistance application form at the same time as they submit their online application to the Learn to Farm Program, before February 15. U.S. Applicants will apply for financial support after they have been accepted into the program.
Special Tuition Arrangements:
AmeriCorps Segal Education Awards: If you have an AmeriCorps Education Award from your years of service, The Farm School will honor its full value by discounting your tuition an equal amount, and you get to save the award to use later! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or indicate your eligibility on your application.
UMASS Study Afield: Students in the Sustainable Food and Farming major at the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture can receive a full year’s credit for participation in the Learn to Farm Program. Students continue to pay their university tuition to UMASS, and whatever each accepted student would have paid in room and board while attending UMASS for the academic year becomes their tuition contribution to The Farm School (which includes room and board) for the same period. Students must continue to be enrolled at UMass and credits may be earned as: 2 semesters of Independent Study and two semesters of Student Farming Enterprise. For more information, please email email@example.com and/or Professor John Gerber to make sure you can fulfill the requirements for the Sustainable Food and Farming major with this plan.
GI Bill: The Farm School is licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure as a private occupational school and approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide training for eligible veterans under the GI Bill. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or indicate your veteran and GI Bill eligibility status on your application.