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Student Scholarships

Beautiful/Work invested in the people who see the world as it could be. Every year, SAIC enrolls the most talented aspiring artists from around the world. By funding fellowships and scholarships, the Beautiful/Work campaign addressed financial obstacles between deserving students and a world-class art and design education at SAIC. Now, in celebration of our 150th Anniversary and beyond, we are the most influential art and design school in the country. Where we go next depends on the people we bring here today.

Need-Based Undergraduate Scholarships

SAIC offers more than 2,890 undergraduate students a small student-to-faculty ratio, access to world-class facilities, and a chance to study off-campus. Scholarships open this unique educational opportunity to a diverse group of creative students with a focus on graduates of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Beautiful/Work increased scholarship support and contribute to the diversity of our campus by attracting the most talented and motivated undergraduate students to SAIC regardless of their ability to pay.

While the Beautiful/Work campaign officially closed on June 30, 2018, you can still endow a new named scholarship. Contact Kendra Foley at 312.499.4190 or 

Barbara DeGenevieve, installation view of Medusa's Cave. Photo: Jaclyn Silverman. Read about the Daniel Berger Barbara DeGenevieve Graduate Merit Scholarship Fund.

Graduate Merit Fellowships

Graduate students produce groundbreaking work, teach undergraduate courses, and contribute to the cultural life of our campus and our city. The quality of our graduate students also correlates to our ability to attract and retain the best faculty. Graduate merit fellowships help us build a strong and vibrant community by providing financial support for our most promising incoming graduate students. Once here, this support allows them to focus on their work while giving them the confidence and freedom to take risks.

While the Beautiful/Work campaign officially closed on June 30, 2018, you can still endow a new named scholarship. Contact Kendra Foley at 312.499.4190 or

CAAP sophomore and junior students visiting William O'Brien's studio as part of the Early College Program's Inside Innovative Minds course. Photo: Gabrielle Kan

College Arts Access Program Scholarships

SAIC’s College Arts Access Program (CAAP) prepares Chicago Public Schools students for success in college and adds to the diversity of our campus by putting a post-secondary education within the reach of artistically talented low-income students. CAAP participants can earn high school or college credits and receive tutoring, mentorship, test preparation, and instruction in portfolio presentation and financial literacy. Beautiful/Work will help us bring more deserving students from households across Chicago to SAIC. Learn more about CAAP.

While the Beautiful/Work campaign officially closed on June 30, 2018, you can still endow support CAAP. To endow a new CAAP scholarship, please contact Cheryl Russell at 312.499.4190 or

Notable SAIC Alumni Who Received Scholarships at SAIC

  • Ivan Albright (SAIC 1919–23, HON 1977)
  • Richard Hunt (BA 1957, HON 1979)
  • Ed Paschke (BFA 1961, MFA 1970, HON 1990)
  • Elizabeth Murray (BFA 1962, HON 1992)
  • Cynthia Rowley (BFA 1981)
  • Sanford Biggers (MFA 1999)
  • Rashid Johnson (MFA 2005)

Stories of Impact

Your support enables students to attend SAIC and to take full advantage of the resources available to them once they are here. Your support provides SAIC students a sense of artistic freedom and confidence to take risks in their work, and allows them the time and resources necessary to explore, provoke, ask questions, and define what’s next.

Proceeds from Bank of America Auction Benefit Incoming Students

Bank of America donated more than $1.2 million to SAIC to establish need-based scholarships for Chicago’s high school graduates to pursue higher education at SAIC.

Sung Soon Lee

Award-winning alum is a leading innovator in Korean textiles.

Worth a Thousand Words

A chance discovery leads to street photographer Vivian Maier’s posthumous rise to fame and an SAIC scholarship.

Walter and Shirley Massey Chicago Scholarship Fund

John L. Thomson established the fund to provide critically important need-based scholarships to talented students from Chicago.

Have Passion. Will Travel.

SAIC Professor John W. Kurtich always stressed the value of seeing the world—now his legacy and love of travel endures through his scholars.

College Arts Access Program (CAAP)

The three-year bridge program prepares CPS students with the skills needed for success at SAIC and beyond.

Remembering Barbara

A new scholarship and recent exhibition pay tribute to a much-loved SAIC professor and artist who influenced everyone who met her.

Wafaa Bilal

SAIC alum and Iraqi refugee confronts the conflict back home by eliciting participation and challenging perception.

No Strings Attached

A new fellowship established for Fiber and Material Studies graduate students aims to inspire recipients and honor treasured faculty members.

Sanford Biggers

Artist crosses media to mine the history and symbols of global cultures.


With an increase in applications from CPS students, SAIC donors and friends have created new ways to support local talent.

Accessible Arts

SAIC scholarships make art available to Chicago Public Schools students.

Paula Crown

Alum fuses traditional and contemporary media to evoke real and imagined landscapes.

College Prep

SAIC’s College Arts Access Program prepares Chicago Public Schools students for a successful future in art, design, and beyond