Many of today’s high school students are becoming more skilled with technology but simultaneously crave a creative outlet. If that sounds like you, a career in graphic design might be the perfect fit.
Getting an education in the arts can be particularly expensive, so you may want to research available scholarships now so you are better prepared for the lengthy application processes.
Although they can be hard to find, there are scholarships out there for high school students interested in graphic design. Here, you’ll find examples of available scholarships for graphic design. This is not an exhaustive list and you may find some schools and businesses that are unique to your area that offer scholarships in this area as well. Focus your search on local designers, printers, and art museums/galleries. Some of these scholarships are available to any high school student, others are specifically for students who are members of one or more minority groups.
General Graphic Design Scholarships
The Art Institutes offer several different scholarships and grants for their students. Their campuses are located in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia. They also have an online program available if you live outside of those locations. You can browse here for a full list of financial opportunities. The scholarships available can also be filtered by your specific area of study; there are different resources available for gaming vs. visual design students, for example.
The National Society of High School Scholars and Tombow USA both offer scholarships to students and have similar application requirements. Both of these scholarships require students to submit a digital portfolio of their work along with transcripts and a letter of recommendation from a current or former teacher. The NSHSS awards two scholarships for $2,000 for digital art; Tombow offers a grand prize of $5,000 and a runner-up prize of $2,500.
One scholarship that could be fun to apply for is the Annual Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship. Students who are currently enrolled in high school or college are eligible to apply. To enter, you simply design a greeting card for any occasion or holiday. Entries are posted on the website for people to vote on and when voting is closed, the winner is awarded $10,000. The company may also choose to produce non-winning entries into greeting cards for purchase, in which case you would be compensated as well. You can browse current submissions to get an idea of what other submissions look like and what the viewers are voting for!
Adobe Design Circle Scholarships are funded by Adobe and the Institute of International Education. The Design Circle is a small group of leaders in the design industry who are committed to expanding educational opportunities for all. Requirements for this scholarship are fairly standard and include letters of recommendation, transcripts from your current school, and a portfolio that includes at least three of your designs. Recipients of the scholarship will receive up to $25,000 per year of their four-year degree. Students who attend more expensive institutions will receive more funding, as these scholarships are intended to cover as much of a student’s education as possible. This program is not limited to students from minority backgrounds (females, students with disabilities, first-generation college students, etc.), but those who do are highly encouraged to apply.
Graphic Design Scholarships for Minorities
The American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) annually offers the AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships specifically for students who come from underrepresented and/or financially disadvantaged backgrounds. These scholarships can be applied to any university in the US. Scholarship amounts range from $2,000-$5,000 and are applied to the recipient’s tuition. The jury also awards honorable mention prizes of $500 to a select few applicants as well. Recent recipients have been particularly focused on bettering their communities and persevering against systems of oppression. The application process opens in February and closes in April of each year.
There are a few scholarships available specifically for students who identify as LGBTQIA+. The Victor Agnoni Visual Arts Foundation (VAVAF) offers their LGBT Art Scholarship for $1,500 to students who are passionate about art. Interestingly, this scholarship does not require you to be pursuing a career or a degree in the arts. Requirements for this scholarship include a 500-word essay explaining how you have enriched your life by creating art, a transcript, a letter of recommendation, and ten images that you have created. The Queens of the Castro Scholarship also does not require that students pursue graphic design specifically; over the years they have provided over $150,000 in scholarships to LGBT students who want to study science, engineering, and marketing.
Black students who are interested in graphic design can apply for the Black Design Leaders Grant, which is funded through Mechanism Ventures. This funding is available to Black students who are looking for or already working in graphic design roles specifically at startup companies. The scholarship award amount is $1,050. You can also browse other scholarships for Black students here. Not all of these are specifically geared toward the arts, but many apply to students pursuing any career.
Learn Graphic Design with NextGen’s Summer Classes
If you’re a high school student looking to get a jumpstart on a career in graphic design and impress the review panels for your scholarship applications, NextGen Bootcamp offers graphic design courses for high schoolers. There are in-person graphic design classes available at its New York City location. NextGen also offers virtual graphic design courses, which can be taken remotely from anywhere in the world.
Learn more in these courses
- Graphic Design Classes for High School Students
Graphic Design Summer Program NYC
- Weekdays only
- 50 hours
- Open to beginners
Learn the graphic design theory and the essential Adobe applications, including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. In this summer course in NYC, high school students work on real-world design projects.
Graphic Design Summer Program Live Online
- Weekdays only
- 50 hours
- Open to beginners
In this graphic design program for High School students, you'll master the most powerful tools in graphic design: Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.