Four strategies for finding art school scholarships

Things to consider when you are getting serious about how to pay for art school.

Whether you're looking to take the art world by storm with works of creative genius or secure a lucrative career designing the latest cutting-edge products, making the decision to go to art school is a life-changing decision. But if you've made the commitment to attend art school, first thing's first, you'll want to make sure you're doing everything you can to minimize your upfront costs.

Smart money is on finding a scholarship (or perhaps even a few!) to help reduce some of those costs and we’ve got 4 insider tips that can make that process a whole lot easier. Just remember, you should never have to pay an application fee for a scholarship.

1. Use online directories

Online directories have massive lists of scholarships, and the best ones are updated frequently. With countless known scholarships, you’d be hard-pressed not to find some scholarships that seem like they were made for you.

Here are the three that we hear most often-mentioned here in the CCA Admissions department:

  • Fastweb – Fastweb has over 1.5 million listed scholarship opportunities, plus a powerful search tool that lets you customize scholarship listings. Just tell it what you are looking for, and you are bound to find something close to exactly what you’re seeking.
  • Cappex – Cappex is an excellent place to find scholarships, but it's also a great way to learn about universities and their academic programs. Using the site's reviews section, you can compare schools and get the inside scoop from actual students.
  • Unigo – With a massive database of 3.6 million scholarship opportunities, Unigo is a top resource to check regularly for scholarships. It also has a matchmaking feature to help you find a school if you aren't already committed to one.

2. Contact a school you're interested in

It's surprising how few potential students actually pick up the phone or write an email to admissions departments of colleges they're interested in. Admissions counselors have a wealth of information and are passionate about helping people just like you, who want to attend art school. A quick email could lead to a scholarship opportunity, or to a new contact that you never would have made if you hadn't reached out.

3. Search for art-specific scholarships

Almost every town has an art museum, art society, or arts-related magazine somewhere nearby. Talk to their administrators for help finding information about art school scholarships in your area. They usually have relationships with local and state art school programs, or can at least point you in the right direction. Their requirements might be steeper, but scholarships specific to art students also have less competition than more general ones.

4. Apply for general scholarships

Corporations and community organizations give away millions of dollars in tuition for promising college students in a variety of fields. Even if you know you will study art, it doesn't hurt to also apply for general scholarships. These broad awards have a larger applicant pool, but the requirements to enter are less difficult – some don't even require an essay. In addition, some of these scholarships are reserved for students of a particular ethnic, religious, or economic backgrounds, which can help narrow the field if you meet the requirements.


College is more than how much you pay, it’s the value you receive in exchange for your tuition. Attending school gives you priceless benefits, like a larger personal and professional network, as well as the improved and refined set of skills you need to make an impact through your work. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take advantage of every available opportunity to reduce the cost of your higher education. Following these tips to reap the benefits of attending art school while reducing your financial strain.

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