Over the past few weeks, we have been presenting the many different criteria that you may wish to consider when determining which architecture programs to apply.  We discussed criteria for the Institution and Program; now, we switch to YOU criteria.

Architectural Education – B.Arch, M.Arch, or D.Arch.

Resources for Researching Architecture Programs

Criteria – Institution

Criteria – Program

Career Days – College Fairs 2023

Criteria – You


Did you know that the TWO more important criteria students use in determining where to apply for college is COST and LOCATION.  However, more and more students are concerned their level of DEBT when they graduate.  To that end, read the article by Korey White, AIA from the following:

Student Loan Forgiveness Repayment Program

The costs of architectural education are high, and the starting salaries are low.  I was lucky to qualify for the income-based repayment plan for graduates who meet certain requirements… — Korey White, AIA

Remember from one of the earlier essays listed above –

Cost: What is the overall cost of tuition and fees, room and board, and other expenses? Be careful about using cost as the primary criterion for your initial selection (see Financial aid, below). Cost is and always will be an important consideration, but do not eliminate an institution because of the advertised tuition rate alone. Be sure to obtain complete cost information that includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, travel, and personal expenses.

Financial aid: What amount of financial aid will you receive in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans? Financial aid should be an important consideration, especially at the beginning of the search process. Realize that at a given institution, a large percentage of students receive financial aid. Many schools have full-tuition scholarships that save you as much as $100,000. You will never be eligible for such scholarships if you do not apply to or consider these schools. Also, do not only consider financial aid upon entry to the program; ask what financial aid is available for upper-class students. Many programs award scholarships on a merit basis.

While you should certainly be concerned about your projected student debt, become aware of what you can do to minimize your debt.

  • Attend an institution / college that is less expensive than another; typically, the cost of public institutions is less than private institutions but remember that cost is not necessarily that same as YOUR cost.
  • Seek out early discussions with the campus office of financial aid as well as the program about financial aid and potential scholarships.
  • Connect with your high school about scholarships for attending college.
  • Research possible grants and scholarships for funding your education.  These may be when you enter college but could also be while in school – for study abroad, etc.
  • During your college career, seek a part-time or work-study (~10 hours / week); you may not think you have the time, but college students who work do better with their studies.
  • At this stage of your search, consider all institutions (both public and private).  At Illinois Tech (IIT), the Crown Scholarship provides full-tuition for a full five years.  If you received a full-tuition scholarship, would you attend.
  • A novel idea is repay your loan interest while still in school.  While you are NOT required to do so until six months after graduation, doing so will decrease your debt at the time of graduation.


So, yes do be concerned about your potential student debt upon graduation, but you are in control of it based on your actions in deciding an architecture program now and over the years through graduation.


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