Design School Financial Aid

by Cathy Sivak
Design School Financial Aid

At private colleges and universities, as well as career-focused schools, the cost for a design education (tuition, room, and board, plus costs for books, supplies, and computer software) can reach as high as $40,000 to $50,000 annually.

Funding your education can seem like a daunting task, yet there are many good sources out there to help you find the money you need. Beyond savings and families with deep pockets, federal financial aid, grants, and scholarships can be combined to absorb many of the costs, however, many students still have to work part-time to supplement expenses.

Students and their parents often expect grants and scholarships to cover most higher education costs, but most U.S. students tap into the U.S. Department of Education federal financial aid program for low-interest student loans. Applications for financial aid can be made on-line at the site link above, or forms can be printed for traditional mailing. (Editor's Note: See for more information on the changes that have recently benn made to the Federal Financial Aid program.)

Individual design schools offer varying levels of scholarship support. Design scholarship application guidelines typically require work samples, as well as supporting materials such as an essay and application forms. For best results, students should offer a broad sampling of work and make sure to complete (and submit) applications in a neat and timely manner. Check admissions catalogs and school websites to help gauge the availability of scholarship opportunities and financial aid support on a school-by-school basis.

Other scholarship and grant opportunities can be culled from reference books found in high school guidance counselor's offices or the local library, as well as by checking out online scholarship search engines, and various educational and professional organizations associated with the field of design (see links with this article). "The individual scholarships are not as easy to apply for as general financial aid, but it's sure worthwhile when the checks start rolling in," Cady says.

More information about advertising design and advertising design scholarships:

Scholarship and financial aid sites:

  • FastWeb - an online scholarship search service
  • - scholarship, loan and savings guidance.

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