Animation Scholarships

Cartoon and Illustrate Your Way to a Career

A career in animation opens up a world of possibilities. Professional animators work in film, television, commercial advertising and computer game design. Professional animators are highly trained, and must have an educational background that covers a diverse array of artistic disciplines. Students pursuing careers in animation will need to complete general coursework in graphics and computer design, as well as drawing and traditional illustration, film and photographic techniques.

Scholarships for students pursuing degrees and careers in animation are highly competitive, and students applying for an animation scholarship should be prepared to submit both their academic transcripts and a comprehensive portfolio of their artwork. Talent is the deciding factor in animation scholarships, and students should be prepared to have their work scrutinized by a board of professionals. Many scholarships for would be animators and other artists will also require the submission of one or more letters of recommendation from instructors or industry professionals.

animation scholarships

Scholarships for animation students may not have as a high a profile as those for athletics, science or mathematics, but they are out there. Talented animation students, who are prepared to do a little research, will find that there are a fair number of scholarship programs designed to help them achieve their educational and professional goals.

Scholarship Programs

Scholarships for students studying animation are typically sponsored by art schools, or by businesses and professional organizations that have significant ties with the animation field. These might include entertainment organizations, computer software manufacturers, or professional animation studios. Students looking for animation scholarships should begin by investigating the programs that are available at their art school or college. Art instructors and department heads may also be able to provide information on lucrative scholarship programs. As their search expands, students should begin to look to businesses and organizations with an interest in encouraging and supporting the next generation of professional animators.

The following examples of animation scholarships should give interested students a better idea of the types of programs from which they may benefit.

  • Animation Career Review sponsors the annual Aspiring Animation Professional Scholarship. The scholarship is limited to high school graduates who are pursuing an animation related degree at an accredited art school, college or university in the United States. Final awards are determined by academic achievement and portfolio submission. Students must also submit an essay discussing their interest in animation and their professional ambitions. Ten $1000 scholarships are awarded each year.
  • The Society of Illustrators offers their own annual Student Scholarship Competition. The competition includes an animation category. Students must submit a finished animation project in any film format. Applicants must be an undergraduate majoring in art at an accredited art school, college, or university. High school seniors and graduate students are not eligible to participate in the competition. There is a $15 entry fee for each film submission. Award amounts vary, and are determined by jury.
  • Women In Animation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the animation industry. The WIA offers the annual Phyllis Craig Scholarship for female students enrolled in an animation program at an accredited art school or college. The $1000 scholarship includes a one-year membership in Women In Animation.
  • The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences administers the Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund. Every year two $2500 scholarships are awarded to deserving students majoring in traditional animation, computer animation, or computer game design. Interested students can apply for the scholarship directly through the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences or through their college of attendance.
  • Worldstudio offers their annual Worldstudio AIGA Scholarship for talented art students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The award is available to students pursuing the study of many different art forms, including animation. The scholarship is made possible by private donations, and award amounts vary according to the availability of funds.
  • SkillsUSA sponsors an annual scholarship competition in 3-D Visualization and Animation. Applicants must submit a finished animated short using 3-D computerized images. The competition is juried by a panel of industry professionals, with scholarships going to the first, second and third place winners.
  • The San Francisco Art Institute offers a wide range of grants, scholarships and fellowships for its attending students. All students accepted to SFAI are considered eligible to receive financial aid from the school, regardless of major. Award amounts vary, and are determined on the basis of academic achievement, portfolio submission and financial need.

Students pursuing a career in animation have chosen an exciting and artistically rewarding profession. The increased use of animation and CGI in film, television and computer game design offers well trained animators a wealth of employment possibilities. In the past, scholarships for animation students have been scarce, but today there are a great number of scholarship opportunities that can help talented art students pursue their professional ambitions.


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