Financial Aid: Merit Scholarships
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) awards merit scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional levels of thoughtfulness, skill, conceptual capabilities, and academic groundedness. Scholarships are financial awards that do not need to be repaid. Gift aid (grants, scholarships and any other aid that does not have to be repaid) may not exceed tuition each semester.
A number of scholarships are available for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Click here to see the Terms & Conditions and other Important Details
SAIC annually awards a substantial number of undergraduate, merit-based scholarships to new students.
All students who have successfully completed the admission process by the priority deadline are automatically considered for merit scholarships. Recipients are selected through a holistic review of each student's academic history, portfolio, and statement of intent.
Students considered for a merit scholarship may receive one of the scholarships listed below.
Competitive Excellence Award
This $2,000 renewable scholarship is awarded to incoming first-year students for their participation in one of the following art exhibitions or competitions: Chicago Public Schools All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition, Art Institute Re:Imagine24 Youth Competition, Illinois High Schools Regional Arts Exhibition, Ohio Governor's Youth Arts Exhibition, National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and National YoungArts Foundation. No additional application is required; admissions is notified of winners through these organizations.
Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship
Admitted Phi Theta Kappa applicants will qualify to receive a $2,000 PTK Scholarship, per academic year, through the admission process once PTK status is verified. This is in addition to any other merit scholarships awarded through SAIC Admissions. A separate application is not necessary for this award.
The Tuition Exchange Scholarship
If your parent or legal guardian works at a college within the Tuition Exchange consortium, you may be eligible to apply for a Tuition Exchange Scholarship at SAIC. Contact the liaison officer at your parent's place of employment to determine your eligibility and to submit an application to SAIC through the consortium.
You must submit a complete application including your portfolio through the regular SAIC admissions process by February 1 in the academic year prior to your intended entrance date, while simultaneously requesting a Tuition Exchange Scholarship at SAIC through your parent's place of employment. Scholarship selections are announced by March 1 of each year and are based upon artistic merit and academic achievement.
SAIC receives 30 to 40 requests for Tuition Exchange scholarships each year and is able to award five to six.
The annual scholarship amount is determined by the consortium on a yearly basis. For the 2016–17 academic year, the set amount is $34,000 and for the 2017–18 academic year, the set amount is $35,000. Students who are awarded these scholarships are responsible for tuition and costs beyond the amount of the Tuition Exchange Scholarship and any other types of aid.
Note: The combination of all scholarships or grants may not exceed tuition charges.
Domestic or permanent non-resident students are required to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to apply for federal, state and SAIC aid, including merit scholarships at fafsa.gov. This may assist in financing the additional costs not covered by the Tuition Exchange Scholarship. The SAIC priority deadlines for completing the FAFSA each year is Dec 15 for undergraduate Illinois residents and January 1 for all other students. Additionally, a separate institutional financial aid applications must be submitted for classes taken in the winter and summer terms.
The scholarship is renewable, annually, for up to four years, upon completion of two-thirds of all credits attempted cumulatively, and a submission of recertification by your liaison officer to SAIC each year. For a list of member institutions and further details, consult tuitionexchange.org.
Click here to see the Terms & Conditions and other Important Details
New Artists Society
No separate application is required for a New Artists Society scholarship. It may be renewed each year upon completion of 100 percent of all credits attempted per semester.
This scholarship is awarded to master’s degree-seeking students who are enrolled at least half-time and demonstrate exceptional ability upon entering the school. The New Artist Society Scholarship is limited to the number of hours required to complete the degree and will not exceed that number.
Recipients are eligible for 50 to 100 percent of their tuition, to be awarded in combination with need-based aid, not to exceed tuition.
Presidential scholarship recipients are selected during the admissions process for a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate. There is no separate application. The scholarship may be renewed each year upon successful completion of 75 percent of all credits attempted each semester.
This scholarship is awarded to Post-Baccalaureate Certificate students enrolled at least half-time.
The scholarship covers 50 percent of tuition and is awarded in combination with need-based aid.
There is no separate application for Recognition Scholarships. Recipients are selected during the admissions process. The scholarship may be renewed each year upon successful completion of 75 percent of all credits attempted each semester.
Students must demonstrate exceptional ability upon entering the school and be enrolled in a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program at least part-time.
Students can receive 30 percent of tuition awarded in combination with need-based aid.
Potential candidates for this scholarship are identified during the admissions process. It may be renewed each year upon completion of 75 percent of all credits attempted each semester.
Recipients must be master’s or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate students enrolled at least half-time. Selections are based on many different criteria including merit, academics, and need.
Students can receive 20 percent of tuition per year depending on start date, in combination with need-based aid.
Enrichment scholarship recipients are identified during the admissions process, and scholarships are renewable each year upon completion of 75 percent of all credits attempted each semester.
To qualify, students must be seeking a master’s or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate and enrolled at least half-time. Selection criteria include many things, such as merit, academics, and need.
Students can receive $2,000 per year depending on start date. This scholarship is awarded in combination with need-based aid.
The Margot and Thomas Pritzker Scholarship (special application)
The Margot and Thomas Pritzker Scholarship is designed to provide assistance to students who are committed to the advancement of art and design in China. These scholarships are awarded to a total of three graduate students each year.
Criteria for selection includes:
- financial need;
- first in family to attend college;
- prior work or study experience in China;
- familiarity with Chinese language, culture or history;
- and demonstrated intention of working in China after graduation.
Incoming graduate students who meet the eligibility requirements are invited to apply.
Terms & Conditions:
- The total amount of your scholarship will depend on the number of credits you need to graduate.
- If you earn any hours that transfer to SAIC through AP, IB and enrollment at any other college, your total award received may be reduced.
- The amount awarded per semester is based on the number of credit hours enrolled and may be pro-rated.
- Students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits hours) for fall and spring.
- May be used for winter or summer if enrolled at least half-time (3 credit hours) per SAIC definition by submitting a SAIC Financial Aid Institutional Application available at www.saic.edu/faforms.
- Scholarship may not be used after completing degree requirements for their assigned program or if an extended leave of absence expires that requires re-application for admission to SAIC.
- The award will be forfeited if you choose to defer your admission to a future term.
- The award is only available for the credit hours required for your degree.
- Merit scholarship awards are final and cannot be negotiated upon being awarded.
Merit Scholarship Renewal Requirements
At the end of each semester, academic completion requirements are reviewed for each merit recipient. As a Merit Scholarship Recipient, you must successfully complete either 75% or 100% of credit hours each semester depending on your scholarship. See your merit award letter for details.
Grades of W (withdrawal) does not count against the 75% or 100% completion requirement, however, you may only receive your scholarship towards credits at SAIC that are required for your degree requirements.
Awards are Pro-rated Based on Actual Enrollment
Recipients of merit scholarships are notified by an award letter that lists the annual award and total award according to their program minus any transfer and/or AP credits.
Undergraduate students are initially awarded according to a typical 30 credit hour year for the fall and spring semester at 15 credit hours each. Awards are pro-rated up or down if the student is enrolled in more or less than 15 credits per semester.
Graduate students are initially awarded according to the standard enrollment specific to their program and are pro-rated up or done if the student is enrolled in less or more that their standard enrollment per semester.
Summer and Winter Terms
Students may request to use their merit award for the summer or winter term by completing a summer or winter institutional financial aid application available at saic.edu/faforms.
Withdrawal or Leave of Absence After Beginning Enrollment at SAIC
After beginning enrollment at SAIC, a withdrawal and/or leave of absence does not affect a student’s eligibility for merit scholarships (unless you leave for a certain duration of time in which you must re-apply for admissions and forfeit past merit scholarships per SAIC Policy). Otherwise, only failing or incomplete grades may have an adverse effect on these awards. Grades of W (withdrawal) do not count against renewal requirements.
Deferring your Admission
If you are awarded a scholarship, and you defer admission to a later term, you forfeit the scholarship and will need to resubmit an updated portfolio, statement of intent, and recent transcripts to be considered for future merit-based scholarships.
Note: Additional Aid
Eligible students may submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning October 1 before each academic year to be considered for need-based grants, federal work-study, and both need and non-need based types of loans.
- SAIC's school code for the FAFSA is 001753
- The SAIC Priority Deadline is December 1 for undergraduate Illinois Residents and March 1 for all other students
- To file a FAFSA electronically, please go to fafsa.gov
Please contact the Office of Admissions at 800.232.7242 or by email at email@example.com for more information about merit-based scholarships and the scholarship review process for new students.