How Does Financial Aid Work at NTSA?

how financial aid works

Financial aid works a little bit differently at NTSA than at other programs. We view financial aid as a collaborative venture: you do some of the work (with our support), and we do some of the work. What does this look like in practice?

1. You’re accepted!

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to NTSA. Take a moment to flip out, dance around your bedroom (preferably to showtunes), and get hyped for the incredible experience that you’re going to have this summer. Now that you’ve finished celebrating, let’s get down to business to defeat the funds!

2. You receive your guide.

You’ll receive a comprehensive fundraising guide and logbook from NTSA. This guide includes information on how to set your fundraising target, contact potential supporters, produce fundraising events, record your results, and follow-up afterwards. Your first step will be to fill out this fundraising guide. You want to invest a significant amount of time into creating your fundraising plan because that will set you up for success in the long-term.

3. You’re matched with a coach.

Soon after your acceptance, you’ll be matched with a personal fundraising coach. Your coach will help you by suggesting possible fundraising activities and/or sources, offering feedback on your current efforts, and helping you find solutions to your most pressing problems. You should view your coach as your mentor, your confidante, and (of course) your biggest NTSA cheerleader! Your coach wants to see you succeed, so make sure that you show up to your online meetings on-time and prepared to work.

4. You attend weekly webinars.

NTSA offers weekly webinars on important fundraising topics: how to set up an effective crowdfunding campaign, how to produce a successful fundraising event, how to secure freelancing gigs, etc. These weekly webinars are completely optional. If that week’s topic doesn’t fit into your fundraising plans, then you don’t have to attend. (However, we encourage you to attend as many as possible — especially if you’re struggling at all with your fundraising efforts!)

5. You fundraise.

Self-explanatory. Make sure that you document all of your fundraising activities in your logbook. If, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to reach your target, we use your logbook to assess how much effort you've put into fundraising. We’re only interested in working with students who are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to come to NTSA. If you show us a blank logbook, chances are we’re going to tell you to try applying again next year. If you show us a logbook full of documentation (with supporting materials attached!), then chances are we’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that you can come to NTSA this summer.

6. We have bi-weekly check-ins.

You’ll meet with your coach once every two weeks. If you have any questions between meetings, there’s an emergency email address that you can use. We’ll answer all of your fundraising questions in 24 hours or less. You always have resources here at NTSA. Please use them as much as possible! During these check-ins, we’ll assess your progress and make sure that you’re on-track to reach your target. If you’re not, we’ll work our hardest to make sure that you have everything that you need to be successful.

What are we doing over at NTSA?

Okay, you might be thinking, I’m doing all of this fundraising work. What is NTSA doing? We’re doing exactly the same thing in our financial aid office! We’re contacting potential donors, trying to secure scholarships for our students; we’re helping to raise awareness for individual crowdfunding campaigns; we’re trying to cut course fees by securing in-kind donations, etc. Here at NTSA, we work tirelessly to make sure that every student who wants to attend our programs will be able to. We have never had to turn anyone away due to their inability to pay our course fees. We don’t plan on starting now!

Why does NTSA use this system?

Our philosophy is that if you’re planning on making a living in the theatre industry, you’re eventually going to need to learn how to self-produce your own work. Many of our most successful alumni got their start creating new work in NYC black-box theatres. And guess what? They had to fundraise their own budgets! Therefore, our financial aid system serves two purposes: 1) It helps NTSA remain fiscally sustainable, so that students can continue to benefit from our programs for decades to come. And 2) It boosts our students’ chances of success after they graduate from NTSA by teaching them key fundraising skills. While fundraising your course fee might seem like a challenge up-front, we promise that you’ll learn a lot from the experience — and by “a lot,” we mean what could be the difference between “stuck in obscurity” and “getting continual work in NYC.”

So if you’re looking at our website and thinking that you could never attend NTSA because of the course fee, we encourage you to apply anyway. Just check that box saying that you’re going to need financial aid. But before you apply, make sure that you’re willing to put in some work on your end!

Posted on Dec 05, 2017 in Financial Aid  

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