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Guide to Graphic and Web Design Scholarships in San Diego

Posted on: December 6th, 2017 by Chase Design

There is no doubt that nothing is better then experience, however learning a craft from a well regarded institution of higher learning can help you get both experience and expand your knowledge base. Whether you are hoping to develop skills and start a career or looking to expand on your abilities and advance your career, winning a web or graphic design scholarship is a great way to avoid costly student loans. They even look great on your resume!

Chase Design is involved with a number of institutions offering scholarships from San Diego design groups like SD AIGA, to schools like UCSD, San Diego City College and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

Chase Design CEO, Chris Chase and Project Manager, Aaron Nabus, recently had the opportunity to speak to the design students of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. JCNI fuses art and technology, providing job skills training for opportunity youth.

Why Would We Publish a Scholarship Guide?

Graphic and Web Design are In-Demand

Graphic design, web design and online technology are some of the most in-demand academic subjects today, thanks in large part to the exponential growth of the digital economy in recent years.

It is, however, an unfortunate reality of today’s continuing eductation that tuition represents a significant financial investment for many individuals. When it comes to a highly competitive field such as web design, many students are weary of taking on debt via student loans or working a second job to finance an education that may not provide them complete job security. Fortunately, there are a number of scholarships available to web design (and graphic design) students in San Diego which can help offset any burden that tuition payments may create.

Passion for Design

Chase Design is a very passionate advocate for design. We live for creating success for others and we want anyone wanting to become a graphic or web designer to overcome the financial hurdles of higher education so they too can experience the joys of design and help to push it to the next level.

We’ve created this brief guide in order to help guide prospective students toward some of the more attractive graphic and web design scholarships in San Diego and the surrounding area.

Steps to Get a Graphic or Web Design Scholarship in San Diego

Step 1: Polish up Your Design Portfolio

A number of factors will come into play when you begin preparing your scholarship applications, one of the most important of which will be your portfolio. Particularly when it comes to scholarships focused on merit – a word which in this situation can mean previous artistic work and evidence of artistic potential – it is absolutely essential that you take the time to present yourself in the most polished way possible. This will almost always involve the creation of a professional web design portfolio.

Your portfolio should focus on two distinct attributes: quality and diversity. Although your primary interest may be web design, for example, it is important to demonstrate to scholarship organizations that you have committed yourself to a comprehensive study of the graphic arts which, in turn, will make you appear to be a more well-rounded and qualified candidate.

Most of these scholarship applications will be judged and / or evaluated by a series of ‘neutral’ evaluators, individuals who approach your documents with no preconceived ideas of how or what a ‘winning’ application should look like. Because of this, you should fully prepare your portfolio to not only emphasize your strengths, but also place on prominent display what would be considered “industry standard” techniques and products.

This doesn’t mean to imply that you should bury your own individual artistry within your portfolio, but rather that you should try to demonstrate as best as possible how your own individual voice shines through on popular industry projects.

Step 2: Prepare to Create a New Design Project

Although you may not have had many opportunities to work professionally as a web or graphic designer prior to your scholarship applications, you certainly have time to create work which highlights your capabilities as an artist and innovator. Some of the scholarships in San Diego may require creating a mock design proposal for a large corporation, which includes web design and a variety of rebranding tasks. Projects such as these will show scholarship holders that you have a strong idea of what success in the industry looks like beyond just the educational training you are hoping to receive.

Remember that scholarship holders will be most compelled to provide you with funding if they believe that you have the ability to distinguish yourself in the field. The more evidence you can give them of your aptitude at this stage, the better.

Step 3: Gather Recommendations and Testimonials

For many scholarship applications, you will be required to provide one or more letters of recommendation. Although many applicants simply view these as a bother and recycle generic recommendations, we highly recommend that you seek out referees who can speak on a detailed level about your abilities, talents and prior experience.

Scholarship committees find it refreshing when they receive a letter which seems to have been written in a thorough, attentive manner. Such documents can massively boost your chances of success amongst a crowded field of competitors who will likely be wielding more generic letters.

Step 4: Find Scholarships or Competitions and Apply

Keep Reading to learn more about where you can find web and graphic design scholarships in San Diego.

Design Scholarships By School

Scholarship #1: The Art Institute of California: San Diego

As part of the popular marketing program, students enrolled at the Art Institute of California San Diego can learn the fundamentals of graphic and web design and explore more advanced concepts which are sure to help pave the way for a rewarding career in this demanding profession.

The Art Institute currently offers a variety of need based and competitive scholarships which help ensure that those who are deserving of financial assistance find the support they need. A full overview of current scholarship offerings can be found directly on the website At the San Diego Art Institutes Scholarship Page.

Scholarship #2: Platt College

Specializing in digital arts, media and design, Platt College attracts a wide array of students who are determined to hone their abilities and forge a career in this exciting profession. With classes ranging from graphic and web design to 3D modeling, there truly is something for everyone here. Currently, Platt College offers a host of need-based and academic scholarships to both new and returning students.

An active participant in Federal Student Aid programs, Platt College is capable of assisting students in the sometimes complex process of financing their education. To learn more about your personal eligibility for scholarships at Platt, you can review the detailed documentation found by downloading Platt’s Scholarship Criteria.

Scholarship #3: University of California San Diego

Through both the University of California San Diego as well as UCSD Extension programs, students can immerse themselves in the craft and technique that drives successful web design today. The UCSD financial aid department provides a number of need-based and merit-based scholarship opportunities to aspiring web design students. Additionally, UCSD hosts its own design competition which can help students offset their tuition expenses over time.

Chase Design has played a formative role in these competitions, acting as a judge and mentor for several editions of the event. As could be expected from such an acclaimed program, web design students enrolling at UCSD receive a truly top-tier education in current industry practices. More information about scholarship offerings available to undergraduate students can be found at UCSD’s Continuing Education Resource or at the Russel Endowment for the visual arts.

Scholarship #4: San Diego State University

As part of San Diego State University’s popular School of Art + Design, students have the opportunity to not only study web design but also hone their abilities in a number of related artistic fields, thus leading to a more well-rounded, cultivated education. Like many university programs of this stature, new and returning students have the opportunity to apply for a number of need-based and competitive merit based scholarships.

These extensive financial resources have helped San Diego State University gain recognition as a top choice amongst design students in and around the San Diego area. When you are ready, you can learn more about San Diego State University’s extensive scholarship offerings at the SDSU School of Art + Design Scholarship Center.

Additional Resources:

Scholarship #5: American Institute for Graphic Arts

Thanks to their extensive commitment to training and preparing the next generation of graphic design professionals, the AIGA offers a series of scholarships which are of particular benefit to students coming from under served or disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to pursue a career in design and arts. This is just one of many ways in which the AIGA continues to act as a leader for not only artistic excellence but also artistic mentorship. Find out more here.

It is also important to mention a number of national scholarships which are available to students from across the country seeking admission in any graphic design or web design higher education program. Websites such as Unigo and Scholarships.com contain an extensive catalogue of these particular awards.

Private and Other Scholarship Opportunities

Veteran Specific Design Scholarships

If you served in the military, thank you for your service. You should know that there are many benefits for education after you have served. This includes many options for outside assistance. Here are some resources that you can use to help with your continuing education:

Additional Local San Diego Scholarships


SD Foundation:

Additional National Scholarships:

As you can see, there a wide variety of scholarship choices available to students today who are seeking out new avenues for funding their education. Although school is, indeed, a serious financial investment, the return can be absolutely remarkable. For those students who are just beginning their search into financing opportunities for their graphic or web design degree, this list will act as an excellent point of departure for any and all future research.

Chase Design wishes you the best of luck on your search for college scholarships!