Fashion Design Students – Find Scholarships

Thanks to the shows on cable television that let America see how fashion designers work, the fashion industry has become a much more popular career choice. Fashion will give you a chance to produce highly visible, and potentially lucrative, work in a very competitive environment. The scholarships available to fashion design students are equally competitive and lucrative, and this page will give you some tips on locating them.

If you intend to pursue fashion design, fashion merchandising, jewelry design or a similar course of study, your best sources for scholarship money are schools of art and design, private industry, nonprofit organizations, and traditional colleges and universities.

fashion design scholarships

Private Sources

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) offers a remunerative group of scholarships for aspiring fashion design students. Some of these awards are backed by top designers. Here are the three $25,000 awards:

  1. The Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award is given to an outstanding junior at a participating school, based on work submitted to a judging panel of fashion professionals.
  2. The Liz Claiborne Design Scholarship Award is merit-based and intended to cover part of a student's senior year in school. You can get an idea of the quality of work you're expected to submit by perusing the winning lookbooks.
  3. The CFDA / Teen Vogue Scholarship goes to a high school graduate who will study for a fashion degree. It is underwritten by fashion merchandising giant Target.

Public Sources

The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (YMA FSF) is a clearinghouse for fashion design scholarships. The organization is a nonprofit that invites designers and other participants in the fashion industry to support various scholarship funds by donating to FSF. Those scholarships serve the community by encouraging fashion and design students, making it possible for them to develop their talents in school.

FSF itself awards about 100 scholarships each year for $5,000 each. It also hands out other financial aid, such as $30,000 design scholarships from the Geoffrey Beene Foundation and one $10,000 award, the Jim Edelman Scholarship, to a business student interested in retail.

College and University Sources

Colleges and universities featuring majors in fashion usually offer a number of scholarships in varying amounts to those students. Besides the school’s general merit and need-based scholarships, you should research any available awards for fashion design, fashion merchandising, and related careers.
Art and design schools often sponsor talent competitions for incoming students. Many scholarships are endowed by famous designers (for instance, Geoffrey Beene and Liz Claiborne, mentioned above) and moneyed graduates. Here are some examples of scholarships you can find at individual schools:

  • The Fashion School at Kent State University hands out scholarships to those enrolled in fashion design and merchandising programs. Awards range from a few hundred dollars to thousands per year: for example, the Deborah and Ronald Ratner Scholarship, for a senior in fashion merchandising, comes in the amount of $10,000. Eligibility criteria include specific courses of study, financial need, or academic merit.
  • Some Art Institute locations across the country include fashion design in their curricula. Many of these schools offer their own scholarships and stage their own student competitions. Don't overlook those current events when searching for scholarship money.
  • LIM College in New York City specializes in educating and training fashion merchandising students. LIM offers a number of different scholarships for prospective and current students.

There are many more fashion design and merchandising schools in the U.S., of course, but the examples above will give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of scholarship aid.