AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships
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AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships
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Since its inception in 1995, more than one million dollars has been awarded to 700+ college students of art and design. Donate today!

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

The application period for the 2020/2021 academic school year is now closed. The application portal will re-open February 2021.

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:

Instructional 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.

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 $2,000–$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: Apply in the category that best matches your major.

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 2020/Spring 2021 academic year and must maintain full-time status for the entire year.

Additional Criteria
Scholarships are only awarded to students who are in financial need; applicants must, therefore, provide complete financial aid information on the scholarship form and have the form signed by a financial aid officer.

Though not a requirement, racial-ethnic minority status is a significant factor considered in jury decisions.

To Apply

In order to fill out 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 Membership is encouraged, but is not a requirement.

To edit your application, you may log back in until the final deadline of April 20, 2020.

1. Personal Information

  • Name
  • Social security number (required if you are selected for an award)
  • School ID
  • Date and location of your birth
  • Racial/ethnic identity
  • Address at school
  • Permanent address

2. School Information

  • U.S. college or university attending in the 2020/2021 academic year
  • College grade level the student will be in for the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 academic year (i.e. freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Degree sought
  • Expected graduation date
  • Major
  • Schools attended, years in attendance, graduation dates and degree(s)
  • Official university transcript, including current GPA

*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 need to provide proof of acceptance from the school and financial aid officer contact information.

3. Written Statement

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.

4. 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 2020/2021 in the Form of Scholarships, Grants, etc.

Financial Aid 2020/2021 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


5. Portfolio Requirements

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.

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 at the bottom of this page.

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.

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 must be received within 24 hours of the final deadline.

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

AIGA celebrates the 25-year anniversary of the AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships program with a generosity campaign. Help us increase diversity in the creative professions by making an online donation today! Your support will have an immediate and lasting impact.

Scholarship awards begin at $2,500. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to support 20 student scholarships in 2020—a gift they’ll never forget. 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. Download the Donor Form to have a scholarship made in your name or 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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