AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships
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AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships
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Since its inception in 1995, more than $1.25 million dollars has been awarded to 750+ college students of art and design. Apply Now!

AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships benefit underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students who are studying photography, illustration, and design disciplines in colleges and universities in the United States. Scholarships are awarded annually to encourage social and environmental responsibility and cultural awareness in the next generation of artists and designers.

Our primary aims are to increase diversity in the creative professions, and to foster social and environmental responsibility in the artists, designers, and studios of tomorrow. Scholarship recipients are selected not only for their talent and their need, but also for their demonstrated commitment to giving back to the larger community through their work. Each scholarship is paid directly to the recipient’s school and applied toward tuition.

Application Period and Notifications

Get FAFSA ready now! The application period for the 2021/2022 academic school year is now open.

Students will be notified of award status in late-July. Awards will be announced in late-August/early-September. Keep an eye on this page or follow @AIGAdesign for updates. Opt-in to receive future email communications from AIGA:

Application Guide

This is your go-to guide containing all you need to know about eligibility, the application and portfolio requirements, selection and notification process, required financial documentation, and more. Click here or “Apply Now!” to log in when you are ready to start your online application.

Exceptions to eligibility requirements or to the deadline will not be made. Please be sure to read the application instructions in full.

Basic scholarships are awarded in amounts of $2,500–$3,000. One or two top awards may be given in an amount up to $5,000 at the jury’s discretion. Honorable mention prizes in the amount of $500 cash are also awarded. Recipients will receive a one-year AIGA membership.


Educational Requirements
Students must have at least a 2.0 GPA.
Applicants must be pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in one of the following disciplines:

  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Photography

*Note: Select the category that best matches your major. We understand that schools may have slightly different names for major areas of study. See the FAQs for majors that are not eligible.

Citizenship Requirements
Applicants must be citizens of the United States or be in possession of a Green Card (formally known as a Permanent Resident Card or Form I-551).

Applicants must be matriculated (or planning to matriculate) at accredited colleges and universities in the United States for the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 academic year and must maintain full-time status for the entire year.

Additional Criteria
Financial need and talent are primary factors in the review and selection process.

Applicants must, provide complete financial aid information with confirmation from the school’s financial aid officer.

A Portfolio of work samples and a written statement of purpose must also be provided to demonstrate talent and commitment to giving back to the community.

Though not a requirement, diversity is a significant factor considered in jury decisions. AIGA considers race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and disability, age, and other factors that shape creative perspective and professional experience when reviewing applications.

To Apply

In order to complete an application, you must have a complimentary AIGA web account. Log in to check if you have an account, or you can create a new account at AIGA Membership is encouraged, but it is not a requirement.

We encourage you to log into the application system to better understand what is required and expected.

To edit your application, you may log back in until the deadline of April 20, 2021.

1. Applicant Information

  • Name
  • School ID
  • Social security number (may be required for tax purposes if you are selected for an award)
  • Date and location of your birth
  • Racial/ethnic identity
  • Current address (during the academic year)
  • Permanent address (in-between semesters)

*Note: If you have not received school issued Student ID at the time of your application, you will be required to provide it at the time of notifications if you are selected for an award. Notifications will be sent in July.

2. School Information and Transcripts

  • U.S. college or university enrolled/attending during the 2021/2022 academic year
  • College grade level the student will be in for the 2021/2022 academic year (i.e. college freshman, college sophomore, etc.)
  • Degree sought
  • Expected graduation date
  • Major
  • Schools attended, years in attendance, graduation dates and degree(s)
  • Official university transcript, including current GPA; your most recent college or high school transcript is required

*Note: If you have not received an acceptance letter from the school to which you applied, put down your first choice. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be required to provide proof of acceptance from the school and financial aid officer contact information.

3. Financial Information

All students will need to complete this section, which documents a student’s official unmet need, as supplied by their college or university’s financial aid officer. This information must be accompanied by the officer’s contact information.

We must be able to verify your numbers should you be selected for an award.

Before filling out this section, please complete your online FAFSA application at Those figures should be used as reference in completing this portion of the application. If current figures are not available, use last year’s figures or work with your financial aid officer to estimate to the best of your ability.

*A note about taxes: For the most part, scholarship money is not considered income and is therefore not taxed. According to the IRS (specifically, IRS Publication 970) scholarships are tax-free under the following circumstances:

  • The candidate is at an eligible educational institution.
  • The scholarship money is used for qualified expenses, which include tuition and fees, books, and course or degree-related costs (like supplies required for specific classes).

Room and board, travel, or other expenses associated with a college education are not considered qualified expenses and are therefore taxable.

Award winners are responsible for spending scholarship money according to IRS regulations.

The online application will ask you for the following financial information. Use this to prepare your information prior to entering it into the online application.

Cost of Tuition

Annual Cost of Living / Other School Expenses

Total Amount of Family and Personal Contributions Toward Total Expenses

Financial Aid 2021/2022 in the Form of Scholarships, Grants, etc.

Financial Aid 2021/2022 in the Form of Loans

Financial Aid Officer Information

Name of Financial Aid Officer

Institution of Financial Aid Officer

Financial Aid Officer Email

Financial Aid Officer Phone Number

 4. Written Statement of Purpose

You will need to write a statement of purpose (400 words max) incorporating the following:

  1. A brief autobiography, explaining how your experiences have influenced your creative work and your career plans.
  2. In the future, how do you see yourself as a creator contributing to the community at large?

Please keep in mind:
Scholarships are awarded to encourage social and environmental responsibility and cultural awareness in the next generation of artists and designers. It is important for us to see how you intend to do this through your design or artwork. Graduate students will not be considered unless their statements and work directly address these concerns.

Examples of a commitment to a social agenda:

  • Work that clearly demonstrates positive social change.
  • Work that addresses identity politics (i.e., cultural, ethnic, sexual or gender identity)
  • Demonstration of a clear career path (not just “I hope...”), such as to teach, mentor, work with young people, serve your community, etc.

5. Self Portrait and Portfolio Requirements

Self Portrait
This portrait can be made with any medium and doesn’t have to be a literal representation or photograph—just what you perceive as the best representation of yourself. Need inspiration? Take a look at self portraits from previous winners in the recipient section.

5–10 Examples of Your Work
Must include explanatory captions. The jury prefers to see cohesion between multiple examples that indicates an overarching theme or thesis behind your work.

File size and format for static images:

  • Images will be viewed on screen so save as RGB, not in CMYK colorspace.
  • You will not be able to upload images that do not meet the specifications.
  • Your image must be greater than or equal to 1200 pixels wide.
  • Your file formats must be one of the following: JPG/JPEG GIF PNG
  • The following file types will not be accepted: DCR, TIF, EPS, PDF

Proper file labeling:

  • Label each file with last name followed by the number of the image. i.e., smith_01.jpeg
  • Label each file with the proper extension (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png).
  • File names must not contain any blank spaces or odd characters such as brackets or apostrophes. Use underscores or hyphens.

Submitting Motion, Film and Animation Files
If you would like to submit movies, motion graphics, or interactive files for your portfolio you must submit electronically by including publicly accessible and working links (for example; YouTube and Vimeo) in your online application.

Tips for Presenting an Online Portfolio
Remember that your work will be viewed on a computer screen.

  • Images should be an original digital file when possible.
  • Otherwise, make sure photographs or scans or work are properly lit and in focus.
  • Feature your work as simply and as clearly as possible.
  • Single images read much better than multiples.
  • Display boards with multiple images and text do not work. For example, a 30x40 inch presentation board is not appropriate because when reduced the images and text are too small.

Watch recordings or read articles from the 2020 virtual AIGA Portfolio Festival for additional tips.

6. Letters of Recommendation

You must provide two letters of recommendation from individuals who know you and your work—teachers, employers, counselors, etc.

Your references will be sent a link automatically from the online application system, via the email addresses you provide, to complete their recommendations only after your application is finalized. You cannot upload your own letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be received within one week and must be received by April 20.

7. Consent

Applicants must consent that all information supplied in the online application form is accurate and truthful.

Applicants must recognize the owner of all rights in the work and/or possesses the right to authorize the reproduction and display of the accepted works and to grant the rights identified herein.

All applicants must certify that the work submitted does not infringe on any copyrights or trademarks.

Decisions of the jurors on all matters during judging, including qualifications and categories, are final. 

All applicants grant to AIGA the right to exhibit and reproduce the work as submitted in the application, in its entirety or in part, in any media now known or hereafter created, including but not limited to exhibitions, publications, and on AIGA’s websites and partner websites; as well as for promotion of AIGA scholarship-related editorial or events, each without limitation of any kind.

All applicants understand that infringement always triggers disqualification, even if it’s discovered after the juror selections have been announced. AIGA reserves the right to disqualify work that it finds to be compromised as to originality, legitimacy, or eligibility after review and final decision by the jurors.

All applicants expressly agree that AIGA shall not be liable and agree to release and indemnify AIGA for any expenses related to any disputes or errors concerning artistic conception, ownership, or any other matters relating to the ownership and rights granted herein as they relate to any of the entered works.

Mailing in Materials
All application information should be uploaded online. If for some reason transcripts and/or letters of recommendation cannot be uploaded, please contact

All deadlines are final.


Find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Still have questions? Email

2020 Jurors

Mark Randall
Tom Koken
Robyn Ng
Melanie Reim
Armando Veve
Emily Jan
JoJo Whilden
Graphic Design
Carlos Estrada
George Garrastegui, Jr.
Sabrina Hall
Dian Holton
Shani Sandy


Support AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships

Help us increase diversity in the creative professions today! Your support will have an immediate and lasting impact. Donate now.

Scholarship awards begin at $2,500. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to support 20+ student scholarships—a gift they’ll always remember. We are nearly 50% there! Learn how you or your organization can help sustain this program and make it possible for the next generation of creative talent to achieve their educational goals. Contact us to learn about corporate partnerships or foundation support opportunities.

Thank you in advance for helping to elevate the next generation of creative talent and ensure a more diverse and inclusive future. Together we can do amazing things.


This is a program of AIGA’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative, in partnership with Worldstudio.


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