Turn your creativity and passion for art into free money for covering your tuition bills by taking advantage of the wide range of graphic design scholarships available.
Since graphic designers are becoming crucial players in today's market, many professional organizations and corporations are providing support to students investing in a graphic art education.
Thanks to the rapid advancements of graphic technology, career options for graphic designers have expanded from its niche to include web design, branding, marketing, logo design, manufacturing, film production, art direction, illustration, and much more. In particular, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employment of graphic designers will skyrocket by 35% in the computer systems design industry.
If you're ready to channel your inner Don Draper for a rewarding in-demand career, get started with the following scholarships in graphic design.
1. Andy and Julie Plata Honorary Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Sponsored by the Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation (EDSF), the Andy and Julie Plata Honorary Scholarship is presented annually for $2,000 to college students currently pursuing a degree in a graphic design, graphic communications, or related graphical art program. Qualified candidates must display an entrepreneurial spirit, attend an accredited U.S. higher learning institution, have attained at least junior standing, and show a clear interest for a career in graphic design. Applications must include a cover letter, two essay responses, a current resume of work/extra-curricular experience, at least two recommendation letters, and official college transcripts.
2. Ann Arbor Graphic Arts Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Since 1981, the Ann Arbor Graphic Arts Memorial Foundation has distributed scholarships for at least $2,500 to young men and women who are pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree in graphic design to join the printing and publishing industry. Eligible applicants must be high school graduates, reside within Michigan, attend an accredited two or four-year college full-time, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.0, and be dedicated to a career in printing. Recipients will be selected based on their scholastic achievement, participation in community activities, career aspirations, recommendations, relevant work experience, and academic honors.
Ann Arbor Graphic Arts Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 1951
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
3. Announcement Converters Graphic Design Scholarship
Deadline: December 26th
As a graphic design firm providing a wide selection of cards, folders, envelopes, and paper, Announcement Converters Inc. has created the Graphic Design Scholarship to award $1,000 each year to ambitious students focusing their studies in graphic design, graphic arts, or other closely related art fields. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting program, attend an accredited U.S. or Canadian college, and require financial assistance to afford tuition costs. For consideration, students must write a short 500-word essay describing the future of specialty paper in the graphic arts industry.
4. CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Through the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation, the Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship is granted for up to $3,000 annually for a maximum of 10 African American students who are pursuing post-secondary studies in graphic design, drawing, illustration, painting, sketching, photography, ceramics, architecture, and other visual arts. Eligible applicants must carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, be enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. institution, be earning their first undergraduate degree, display outstanding artistic talent, and exhibit leadership in community service. Applications must include two letters of recommendation, a current resume, a personal 1,000-word statement, and photos of five original artworks.
CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship
1720 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
5. DAZ 3D Graphic Design Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
In the amount of $1,000, the DAZ 3D Graphic Design Scholarship is presented annually for outstanding college students majoring in graphic design to cover the financial burden of tuition, textbooks, supplies, and other academic-related expenses. Qualified applicants must be 18 years of age or older, be legal residents of the United States, attend an accredited university full-time, and maintain good academic standing. To apply, students must download a free copy of the DAZ Studio software and use it to create an original 3D graphic design artwork on a subject of their choice.
6. Design Sponge Scholarship Program
Deadline: November 27th
Each year, the Design Sponge Scholarship Program is hosted in collaboration with O'More College of Design to provide nine awards for $250, $500, $750, $1,500, and $2,500 to graduating high school seniors, current undergraduate students, or graduate students who are pursuing creative endeavors in design. Qualified majors can include graphic design, fashion design, fine arts, studio design, interior design, web design, landscape design, theatre design, and other art-related areas. All payments will be made directly to the accredited higher learning institution in the United States where recipients are enrolled full-time in good standing.
7. Frame My Future Scholarship Contest
Deadline: March 3rd
Sponsored by Church Hill Classics, the Frame My Future Scholarship Content is offered to provide $1,000 awards to five success-driven winners who submit original digital creations depicting how they frame their future. This contest is open to legal U.S. residents who are attending a college or university full-time in any major field. Contest entries can be in the form of a photograph, collage, graphic design, poem, drawing, painting, or short typed essay. Finalists will be chosen and move on to a one-month phase where the public will vote on their favorites.
8. GCSF Student Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 11th
Annually, the Graphic Communications and Career Advancement Foundation offers the GCSF Student Scholarship Program to high school seniors or college students who are pursuing careers in graphic design, printing, publishing, advertising, web design, interactive multimedia, video production, or presentation graphics. Qualified candidates must reside in one of the five boroughs of New York City or in the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union. Aspiring graphic designers are required to submit proof of enrollment in a two or four-year college, official transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, three letters of support, and a portfolio of original artwork.
9. Graphic Design Degree Hub Creativity Scholarship
Deadline: July 31st and October 31st
Twice each year, the Graphic Design Degree Hub awards the Creativity Scholarship for $1,500 to undergraduate or graduate students who have declared a major in graphic design, animation, game design, multimedia design, or other art-related areas. Eligible applicants must be attending an accredited college or university, be U.S. citizens, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and share a passion for the creative arts. For consideration, candidates must complete a scholarship application, provide proof of citizenship, and email the application package by the deadline. Finalists may be contacted for an informal phone interview to further discuss their graphic design degree goals.
10. Halucinated Design Scholarships
Deadline: June 1st
Specifically for the aspiring creative, the Halucinated Design Scholarships are awarded for $1,000 apiece to three incoming freshmen, undergraduate students, and graduate students who wish to further develop their artistic abilities in higher education. Highly motivated students attending an accredited U.S. college must be majoring in animation, 3D graphics, cartooning, digital art, digital media, graphic design, electronic art, film production, game design, illustration, interactive design, motion graphics, studio art, visual effects, or a related creative field. Applicants must submit a creative design project in any medium that clearly illustrates their artistic passion and talent.
Halucinated Design Scholarships
244 West 54th Street 9th Floor
New York, NY 10019
11. Henry Dunlap Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Through the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), the Henry Dunlap Memorial Scholarship was established in 1980 to award $2,000 annually in honor of the Dunlap Printing Company by recommendation from the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. Qualified candidates must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in graphic design or graphic communications, attend an accredited U.S. institution, reside in the Philadelphia area, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, pursue a career within the printing industry, submit two reference letters, and have been orphaned or raised in a single-parent household.
12. Influence Print Award for Design Excellence
Deadline: December 31st
Offered with a one-time $1,000 scholarship, the Influence Print Award for Design Excellence is granted each year for talented artists who are currently fine-tuning their outstanding creative abilities by earning a degree in graphic design, applied arts, visual communications, or a related design field. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, attend an accredited two or four-year college full-time, and wish to pursue a career in the visual communications arena. For consideration, students must design an original artwork that informs, educates, or persuades the audience on any topic.
Influence Print Award for Design Excellence
115 West 29th Street Suite 812
New York, NY 10001
13. Madeline Gegenheimer McClure Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Also administered by the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), the Madeline Gegenheimer McClure Scholarship has been awarded for $2,000 each year since 1978 to honor the former member of the board of directors for Baldwin Technology Corporation who spearheaded major advancements in graphic arts education. Eligible recipients must be pursuing a career in the graphic arts field, attend an accredited four-year university in the United States, maintain good academic standing, be involved in graphic arts research, and exhibit financial need. Preference will be given to the sons and daughters of Baldwin employees, but all aspiring graphic artists and designers can apply.
14. Maine Graphic Arts Association Scholarship
Deadline: May 15th
With the goal of rewarding those with a desire to further their education in the field of graphic arts printing technology, the Maine Graphic Arts Association (MGAA) has created an annual scholarship to award $1,000 for covering tuition expenses. Qualified students must have graduated from high school in Maine, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.0, be accepted into a post-secondary degree program for graphic arts or design, and be nominated by their MGAA-member graphic arts instructor. Along with the application, candidates must submit an official high school transcript, two completed evaluation forms, and proof of college enrollment.
Maine Graphic Arts Association Scholarship
P.O. Box 265
Sanford, ME 04073
15. MVP Visuals Design Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
For $500 each year, the MVP Visuals Design Scholarship is presented to financially support high school seniors or current undergraduate students pursuing a major in graphic arts, graphic design, or applied arts in higher education. Qualified applicants must be planning to attend an accredited U.S. university this fall, be in good academic standing, and embody the creativity needed to success as a graphic artist. For consideration, students must submit an original digital visual design to promote the university they'll be enrolling in based off the logo, mascot, location, or mission statement with a 300-word description.
16. Tim Moore Scholarship Fund
Deadline: May 15th
Sponsored by the Printing & Publishing Council of New England, the Tim Moore Scholarship Fund is utilized to award up to $2,500 to young men and women who are continuing their education beyond high school in graphic design or graphic arts. Eligible candidates must be high school seniors or recent graduates, be accepted for full-time enrollment in an accredited college, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, reside within New England, and plan to start a career in graphic arts within the printing or publishing industry. Selection will be based on students' academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, financial need, career aspirations, and personal qualifications.
Tim Moore Scholarship Fund
5 Crystal Pond Road
Southboro, MA 01772
17. TLMI Four-Year College Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31st
Within the Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI), there's a Four-Year College Scholarship Program hosted annually to award $2,500 to deserving full-time college students currently pursuing a four-year undergraduate degree in graphic arts, graphic design, production, sales, marketing, or management. Qualified candidates must be sophomores or juniors, attend an accredited senior university in America, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, possess an excellent work ethic, and demonstrate a clear interest in a career within the tag and label manufacturing industry. Applications must be accompanied by an official college transcript, three reference letters, and a one-page typed personal statement.
18. Werner B. Thiele Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Administered through the Gravure Association of the Americas (GAA), the Werner B. Thiele Memorial Scholarship is granted annually for $1,000 to full-time undergraduate or graduate students who have declared a major in printing, graphic design, graphic arts, or graphic communications to promote gravure as a print process. Applicants must be enrolled as at least sophomores at a GEF-designated resource center in Arizona State University, California Polytechnic State University, Clemson University, Murray State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Western Michigan University, or Pittsburg State University with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
19. Woodward Communications Inc. Scholarship
Deadline: February 13th
Annually, the Iowa Newspaper Foundation offers the Woodward Communications Inc. Scholarship for up to $1,000 to worthy college students who have shown academic excellence while earning a degree in journalism, communications, graphic design, photojournalism, mass communications, marketing, or public relations. Eligible applicants must be preparing for a career in the newspaper industry, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and attend an accredited four-year college in Iowa, Illinois, or Wisconsin. Along with the application, students must attach an official transcript, two letters of recommendation, a current resume of newspaper experience, and a personal statement.
20. WorldStudio AIGA Scholarships
Deadline: March 27th
Ranging in value from $500 to $5,000, the WorldStudio AIGA Scholarships are granted through the American Institute of Graphic Arts to help college students from minority or economically disadvantaged backgrounds realize their artistic dreams by pursuing a degree in art direction, fine arts, graphic design, illustration, interactive design, motion graphics, or photography. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, attend an accredited college full-time, be earning an undergraduate or graduate degree, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0, and exhibit significant financial need. Recipients will be chosen based on their artistic ability, financial need, and commitment to giving back to their community.
Even if you're planning to find freelance or part-time work in graphic design while attending school, you'll likely still have unmet financial need thanks to rising tuition costs. In order to make earning your graphic design degree more affordable, combine your financial aid package with several other sources of funding, including scholarships and grants. Check out some of these 20 great graphic design scholarships to boost your funding while letting your artistic design talents blossom in higher education.