Fine and Performing Arts Scholarship Guide

Need money for art school or other studies in the fine and performing arts? Most universities and colleges actively recruit arts students to maintain or grow their enrollments. As such, most schools will work with you to help you find the money you need to attend their institution from any combination of student loans, grants and/or scholarships. You may be surprised at what you can get just by asking!

Awards typically range in value from $250 - $5,000, but may go as high as $16,000 over the course of the four-year degree. Bursaries, however, are based on financial need. Student loans and grants and commercial bank loans may also be available, but need to eventually be repaid. Work-study programs involving financial aid for full-time students through part-time work on campus is another source of money for school.

Student Scholarships and Student Bursaries
Scholarships for fine and performing arts students are usually based on the quality of the portfolio submitted with the application as well as outstanding academic achievement. Additionally, bursaries may be awarded for a combination of outstanding artistic and academic achievement along with leadership qualities. These awards may be renewable and may be offered by high schools, colleges, professional organizations, local businesses and national chains, and charitable foundations.

  • Start your search by talking to your high school career counsellor to see what kinds of scholarships and bursaries are available for your particular arts interest. Often high schools will offer awards to the best students or those most involved in club activities, which could include art-, drama, or music-oriented clubs.

  • Most fine arts schools or program departments offer entrance awards either directly or through benefactors and foundations that support them. You can contact an admissions counsellor or academic advisor at the school itself or look on their website to identify the awards that are offered. Some scholarships and bursaries are program-specific and are limited to applicants to particular majors, diplomas or certificates within a fine and performing arts field.

  • Many local businesses and national chains--and don’t forget your parents’ employers--will offer some kind of funding, either in the form of scholarships or bursaries. Local businesses and national chains offer awards as a way of showing their support for the local community, so don’t overlook this opportunity.

  • And don’t forget community groups in your home-town that are involved in the business of supporting fine and performing arts students (e.g., the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Scouts Canada).

  • There are many professional organizations in the arts – architecture, interior design, painting, sculpting, graphic arts and more – that will provide scholarships as a way of promoting their profession and ensuring the development of future artists.

  • Art festivals and competitions also provide money for school. Keep in mind that these are likely to be very competitive and your best chance of winning is to enter local competitions.

  • Finally, there are a variety of charitable organizations, ranging from local to national, that provide literally millions of dollars of awards to post-secondary students.
Student Loans and Grants
Student loans and grants are other types of financial aid available to both students and parents. Often payments do not begin until the student finishes the program and the interest rate is commonly lower than for other types of loans. For students with no established credit record, it is usually easier to get student loans than other kinds of loans.You can obtain information on the Canada Student Loans Program from your high school career counsellor or the university’s or college’s student services or financial aid department. As well, each province has a program that offers financial assistance to students.

Check out CampusStarter's database of Canadian Fine and Performing Arts Schools and Programs