Getting into a prestigious film school can be tough, but getting a film school scholarship can be even tougher. Every year thousands of creative and hopeful students enter U.S. film schools across the country, eager for an opportunity to learn the craft they love and make connections to help build a career. But paying for film school can be a barrier to many students. Not only do students have to worry about tuition, fees, and board, but they also have extra expenses for expensive production supplies, often ranging between $200 to $2000 per term. Many, if not most, take out loans, to meet the financial burden, but there are scholarships out there. The trick is finding them and applying to as many as possible.
Film school scholarships are limited. There are few school-specific scholarships intended for film students, but there are scholarships out there, finding them just takes some work. They are not all available online, so it might be best to visit your local library and peruse the latest scholarship and grant books, like The Scholarship Book, The Financial Aid Book/Student Financial Services, and College Student’s Guide to Merit and Other No-Need Funding.
Students should be ready to submit samples of their work. Scholarship committees want to see that students have the vision and talent to succeed in film school. They can only see that through film, video, photography, and writing samples. Be prepared to send the best that you have.
Once you get into film school there should be more funding options available. Sometimes the university will allow film students to apply for general scholarships. Or, if you are a graduate student pursuing an MFA, you can work as a teaching assistant. You would also be eligible for generous fellowships, like the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, which awards up to $30,000 per year for two years to deserving MFA students.