Scholarships and Grants for Photography Students

Photography school doesn’t have to be expensive. Whether you’re getting your undergraduate degree or going back to school for your master’s degree in the field, scholarships and grants can make it possible for you to get your education for free, or at least cheaper. There are a number of great financial funding options for deserving students – whether it’s because of need or merit – but finding them can be the hard part. Let’s look at some of the main funds available for photography students.

Photography Scholarships

Scholarships are given to students based on merit or talent, so this kind of fund for college lends itself well to photography students. Scholarships don’t have to be repaid and many are available for renewal during each year you’re in college, as long as you maintain an acceptable GPA. Some of the sources of scholarships for photography students include:

  • The James Alan Cox Foundation
  • The North American Nature Photography Association
  • The World Studio Foundation
  • The National Press Photographers Association
  • The Ivan and Bernice Burnham Memorial Fund

Many schools also offer scholarships directly to photography students, and you can often find scholarship funds open to students from all majors, not just photographers. These typically require you to write an essay based on a given topic. You should do an internet search, as well as speech to the financial aid office at your school, in order to find as many scholarship opportunities as possible.

Photography Grants

Unlike scholarships, the main criteria for grants is financial need rather than talents. Grants can go toward tuition, but many are open to fund specific projects. More so than scholarships, sources for grants change often based on available money and quality of submissions. You can start your search with the North American Nature Photography Association Foundation, Getty Images, and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. If you’re an undergraduate student, you can also apply for the Federal Pell Grant, a government grant available to all students in need, regardless of academic field of study. Most colleges also offer grants to their students.

Other Sources of Money

As a photography student, scholarships and grants aren’t your only choices. Graduate students can look for fellowships, which are similar to scholarships but usually come attached to student research or teaching responsibilities. If you’re already working as a photographer, your employer might offer a tuition assistance or reimbursement program to help you earn your degree. Of course, student loans are also an option, and although these have to be repaid, most student loans are deferred until after graduation, so your payments won’t start until you’ve had a chance to start working in the field.

If you are interested in finding out more about available financial aid, a great place to start is by filling out a free application at This application allows you to apply for a lot of federal financial aid with only one application. They will look at your financial status and possibly your parents’ finances if applicable in order to determine your eligibility. This may qualify you for grants or loans. The best think you can do as a student is seek out as many opportunities as you can. The application process may be time-consuming, but if you end up being eligible for financial aid, it could end up saving you thousands of dollars in tuition costs.

The Best Online Photography & Art Colleges

While amateur photographers abound, professional photography requires a high degree of knowledge and skill that can be gained through online learning. Currently, only the Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers an online photography degree (more details below). But many other colleges offer related online programs like graphic design.

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