Turn Creativity Into a Career With Graphic Design Scholarships

One visual arts scholarship awards low-income graduate students up to $50,000 in tuition aid.

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If you've been inspired by the show "Mad Men" and dream of becoming a modern-day creative director like Don Draper, a career in graphic design may be an excellent place to start.

From web design and print marketing to branding and film production, graphic design professionals are crucial players in today's market. Many professional organizations, schools, corporations and nonprofits provide graphic design scholarships.

[Find out about scholarships for in-demand college majors.]

You can also find graphic design scholarships through your university art departments, so don't forget to do your own research. In the meantime, here is a list of several worthwhile graphic design scholarships available to college and graduate students.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts and Worldstudio have partnered to offer yearly scholarships to minority and economically disadvantaged U.S. college students studying art and design.

Scholarship winners receive between $500 and $5,000 in tuition money, paid directly to their schools. The deadline for the upcoming academic year has already passed, but it would be wise to keep an eye on the AIGA website for next year's opening.

The Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Visual Art Scholarship was established in 2006 for students studying visual arts, including graphic design and web design. Applicants must either be entering a full-time undergraduate program or be a current full-time undergraduate student at an accredited U.S. college.

[Follow these four steps to make your scholarship essay stand out.]

Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, possess leadership skills and participate in community service activities. The yearly application deadline is May 2.

We also suggest you check out the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship Program open to students who plan to enroll in a graduate program in the visual arts, performing arts or creative writing. Applicants must be in their senior year of college or have graduated from college within the past five years and be of low-income status.

This scholarship program awards a maximum of $50,000 per year for up to six years of study in a graduate program. Apply by Nov. 1 for a chance at winning a scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year.

[Read about three scholarship tips for current college students.]

Students can use their existing graphic design skills to enter the Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Competition. Open exclusively to students majoring or interested in design and applied arts or graphic design, the winner of this competition receives $25,000 from the Art Institutes. The application deadline is Feb. 9, 2014, so there's plenty of time to think about your poster design.

In addition to the poster competition, the Art Institute offers other local and national scholarships for aspiring graphic artists, including the SkillsUSA Championship, which delivers between $2,500 and $20,000 in tuition help.

Finally, be sure to seek out graphic design scholarship opportunities offered by your university. For example, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the ArtsColorado State University and Auburn University all offer various graphic design scholarships each year.

Delwende Bouda interned at Scholarship America in 2013. He graduated in 2012 with a bachelor's in English studies and technical communication from Minnesota State University — Mankato, where he is currently pursuing a master's degree in communication studies and public administration. He is a former recipient of a Fulbright undergraduate scholarship.