A significant portion of financial assistance available to students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is available because individuals and organizations believe in the value of an SAIC education and have created scholarships for students.  Gift aid (grants, scholarships and any other aid that does not have to be repaid) may not exceed tuition each semester.

These scholarships ensure that talented students can attend SAIC regardless of their economic background. A scholarship is an investment in the personal, creative, intellectual, and professional development of each recipient.

The educational opportunities made possible by these scholarships encourage each recipient to give back to their community and participate in an ongoing network of support for artists, designers, writers, and thinkers at SAIC.

Scholarship Descriptions

Archibald Motley Student Fund

The Archibald Motley Student Fund was established in 2003 to provide financial assistance to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate SAIC students whose work explores the African diaspora. Students receive up to $1,000 for school-related needs, such as supplies, travel, conference fees, and professional development. No student can receive more than one award during their career at SAIC.

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Linda & Vincent Buonanno Contemporary Practices Scholarship

Art Institute Trustee and SAIC Board of Governor Linda Buonanno and her husband Vincent created this scholarship to support mid-career students. It is awarded through a competitive merit-based selection process to undergraduate students who have completed their first year at SAIC. Selected students each receive $5,000 annually during their sophomore, junior, and senior years, for a total award of $15,000.

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Pritzker Scholarship Fund

The Pritzker Family Foundation established this scholarship fund in 2009 to help address the financial need of SAIC students. The Fund provides assistance to students enrolled in either the undergraduate or graduate programs at SAIC.

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Discover Chicago Scholarship

The Discover Chicago Scholarship provides access to an SAIC education to motivated Chicago-area transfer students. This scholarship is awarded to students transferring to SAIC from a Chicago school who will be entering their junior year.

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Jacques and Natasha Gelman Scholarship

This endowed scholarship fund was created in 2001 at SAIC with a generous gift from the Gelman Foundation. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Scholarship supports undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.

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LeRoy Neiman Scholarship

Noted SAIC alumnus and former faculty member LeRoy Neiman (1946–50) established this scholarship fund in 2005 to assist students in financial need. Neiman is one of America's most popular and successful contemporary artists, famous for his colorful images of sporting events and leisure activities. He taught painting and drawing at SAIC and Ox-Bow from 1950–60.

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Justyna Palka Memorial Scholarship

The Justyna Palka Memorial Scholarship was established in 2011. This scholarship was established through the generosity of Ogilvy & Mather along with Palka's family and friends in memory of SAIC alumna Justyna Palka. This scholarship is awarded annually to one Visual Communication Design student entering his or her junior year. In addition to financial assistance, the recipient may also be awarded an internship during the summer preceding his or her senior year. Priority for this scholarship is given to international students.

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John W. Kurtich Travel Scholarship Program

The John W. Kurtich Travel Scholarship Program was created for the estate of beloved SAIC professor, artist, and scholar John W. Kurtich (1935–2004). In the 35 years Kurtich served as a SAIC faculty member, he made an impact on everyone who knew him. His work, travels, and eagerness to learn touched his colleagues, friends, and students alike. His legacy for scholarship, aesthetics, connoisseurship, and spirited living will endure through the John Kurtich scholars throughout their careers in the contributions they make to art and culture.

The John W. Kurtich scholarship is awarded in the fall and spring to up to 10 SAIC undergraduate and graduate students who are selected by the John W. Kurtich Foundation for Study and Research on the basis of merit. Each student receives funds to help cover tuition and travel expenses for international study trips.

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Municipal Art League of Chicago Award of Excellence

The Municipal Art League of Chicago, established in 1901, was historically a board of cultural enrichment in Chicago, both providing cultural activities for the community and opposing those that threatened to destroy civic beauty. Until 1968, League meetings were held at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the League continued to maintain a close relationship with the Art Institute throughout its history. When the League dissolved in 2009, its Board of Directors voted to create this award at SAIC. This merit-based fellowship is given to one graduate student each year.

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The Hilgos Award

This award was established by Berna Huebner with support from her family and friends in memory of her late mother Hilda Goldblatt Gorenstein. Gorenstein began studying at SAIC as a young woman and later graduated with a BFA. She became a well-known maritime painter, working under the name "Hilgos." While in her nineties, Gorenstein returned to painting with assistance from several SAIC students.

The Hilgos Award encourages SAIC students to work with people with memory impairment by providing annual awards to degree-seeking students at SAIC whose work supports their process of artistic creation. This scholarship is awarded through the Art Therapy Department.

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Clay Morrison Scholarship

The Clay Morrison Scholarship was established in 2010 in memory of SAIC alumnus Thomas Clay Morrison (1948–2007), who received his MFA in 1977. Morrison was deeply involved in studying art originating from beyond the academic mainstream and was an avid collector of folk and self-taught art and objects from popular culture. He was also a founding member of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (1991).

To honor Morrison's legacy, the Clay Morrison Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduate student studying the work of independent artists: self-taught artists, "outsider" art, popular culture, and international Folk Art. The Clay Morrison Archive of slides and papers is preserved at SAIC's Roger Brown Study Collection.

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Endsley Memorial Fellowship

The Fred Endsley Memorial Fellowship was created in 2001 memory of former SAIC Photography faculty member Fred Endsley. The fellowship is awarded to a graduate photography student by the Photography department to support a student's thesis exhibition.

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Odyssey Travel Grants

The Odyssey Travel Grant Program provides SAIC students with the funds to travel the world. A drawing is held each year to select the students who will receive money for a trip to the destination of their choice.

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Fashion Scholarships

Sage Foundation Scholarship
A longtime supporter of SAIC, Sage Foundation established this scholarship in 1988 to maintain the school's long-standing commitment to helping young talented artists and designers realize their potential. This award is made to a junior fashion student to support his or her final year at SAIC.

The William V. Mollihan Scholarship in Fashion Design
Established by William V. Mollihan in honor of instructor Liat Smestad, this scholarship helps talented, young artists and designers in their pursuit of higher education in the field of fashion.

The Marcia and Lester Novy Scholarship
In memory of both Marcia and Lester Novy, this scholarship helps support outstanding students in the Fashion Design department from each academic year’s sophomore class to assist them with their tuition and material costs in their junior and senior years.

Eunice W. Johnson Fellowship
This fellowship is named for Eunice Johnson (1916–2010), the pioneering Founder, Producer, and Director of Ebony Fashion Fair. The fellowship provides a graduating SAIC fashion student with financial support to help launch a fashion line and begin the next chapter in his or her professional life.  

Cornelia Steckl Fashion Fellowship
This scholarship was established in 1976 to honor the school's founding faculty member for the Department of Fashion Design, Cornelia Steckl. The fellowship is awarded to a graduating fashion design student.

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Fred and Susan Novy Leadership Awards

The Novy Family Foundation created the SAIC Excellence in Student Leadership Awards to celebrate the enduring spirit of community service and philanthropy that is exemplified by SAIC students, both before and after graduation. Students are nominated for this award by their peers and are recognized an annual Student Life Leadership Dinner.

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Master of Art in Art Administration and Policy Enrichment Awards

First-year Master of Arts (MA) in Arts Administration and Policy students and the SAIC Office of Institutional Advancement established the Enrichment Project endowed fund. The funds provide financial assistance that allows for the recipients to realize opportunities that deepen their academic studies and support scholarly work related to the arts administration field. This gift is awarded through the Arts Administration and Policy Department.

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James Weinstein Memorial Fund for Photographic Artists

The family and friends of James Weinstein established the James Weinstein Memorial Fund for Photographic Artists in 1994. Weinstein was an accomplished photographic artist whose work is in the collections of major art museums around the world. This fellowship is awarded each year to a Master of Fine Arts candidate in the Department of Photography.

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Hearst Foundation Endowed Scholarship

The Hearst Foundation Scholarship was established at SAIC in 2014 to provide need- and merit-based support to students who are graduates of Chicago high schools.

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