Potential Scholarships and Financial Aid Information for Fine Arts Graduate Students

Some financial aid opportunities for graduate study in fine arts may be offered by specific institutions to qualified students. That means that prospective students should inquire about the options available at each school to which they are applying. Possibilities might include the following:

  • Scholarships – These kinds of awards are often endowed by alumni or other donors to a program. They are based on talent, as determined by any number of criteria: audition, submitted portfolio, letters of recommendation, academic performance as an undergraduate, etc. Many do not cover all of a student’s expenses, but they help.   
  • Assistantships – These are the most common type of funding available for graduate students. They generally require the student to work for the university in some capacity related to their study, such as teaching or research. They may, for instance, teach 100-level courses or assist a faculty member compiling a book. In exchange, the student receives full tuition remission and a stipend. 
  • Fellowship – These awards offer students the opportunity to study full-time without any work. They usually include full tuition remission and, in some cases, additional funding. This makes them very desirable, but also very competitive.

Graduate programs usually require an application to each type of award offered; in short, an application to the program itself is not enough for a student to be considered for funding. So, be sure to ask about the options, know the requirements for each, and apply to any for which you are eligible.

If you are forward-thinking, government aid may be another good option for qualified individuals – and one that is not specific to a certain graduate program or school. Fulbright awards, for instance, may be available to qualified graduate students in artistic disciplines at a wide range of institutions. Of course, the application process for government money can be lengthy, and it may require a lot of planning on the part of the student. For example, Fulbright applicants are typically required to get accepted by a foreign program of study – and/or a private instructor – as well as identify specific 

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