Uncover Scholarships for Aspiring Fashion Designers

Organizations like the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund can help design students finance their education.

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Fashion students should target the YMA FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship, which offers four $30,000 and $10,000 scholarships.
Fashion students should target the YMA FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship, which offers four $30,000 and $10,000 scholarships.

An intense love for shopping isn't necessarily a rare trait. But for some of you, that passion for fashion borders on addiction.

Before you hang your head in shame, know this: Obsessing over the latest clothing trends, poring over style magazines and blowing your budget on hot new outfits doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, The Scholarship Coach strongly suggests you take your love of the television show "Project Runway" and run with it – all the way to a career in fashion design. 

By turning to excellent scholarships that can help pay for design school, you'll barely have to sacrifice your weekly shopping allowance. 

[Find scholarships for students interested in art careers.] 

What better place to start your scholarship search than a nonprofit organization that exists solely to promote education of the fashion arts and business? The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, established in 1937, does just that. The organization grants scholarships to talented students and facilitates internships, mentorships and career programs. 

Since its inception, the fund has awarded over $8 million in scholarships to more than 900 students nationwide through its three scholarship programs. These include the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship, which offers four $30,000 and $10,000 scholarships annually; the Jim Edleman Scholarship, a $10,000 scholarship underwritten by Macy's and awarded to a Wharton School of Business student; and the YMA FSF Scholarships, about 100 $5,000 scholarships open to students enrolled at a member school

Of course, not all aspiring fashion designers follow the same path. Some of you may be embarking on a career as a costume designer – and there are scholarships out there for you, too. 

[Check out these six new scholarships that can help pay for college.] 

While not a traditional scholarship, The Stella Blum Student Research Grant, awarded through the Costume Society of America, is intended to assist the research of a current undergraduate or graduate student who is a member of the Costume Society of America and working in the field of North American costume. 

Applications require that students submit a full research project proposal, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to work on your application. Luckily, completed entries aren't due until May 2014 and scholarships will be awarded in August 2014. In the meantime, we recommend you check out the other grants, awards and honors available from the society. 

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising holds a national scholarship competition every year. The competition awards full one-year scholarships to the winners in a variety of categories – including Fashion Executive of Tomorrow, Fashion Designer of Tomorrow and Trend Spotter of Tomorrow. 

The winner and three top finalists from each category are chosen based on creativity, thoughtfulness, presentation and talent. Visit last year's winners gallery for ideas and be sure to submit your application by April 30, 2014. 

[Consider scholarships to turn creativity into a graphic design career.] 

If your interests lie in jewelry design, you don't have to feel left out. The Women's Jewelry Association offers student scholarships ranging from $500 to $7,000. The association awards scholarships in three different categories: the designer, designer-creator and nondesigner. Scholarships are open to women who are enrolled in fine jewelry and watch design courses. 

Though this year's deadline has passed, keep an eye on the association's website for information on applying next year. 

Finally, if you have your heart set on a certain college, make sure you research what kinds of scholarship opportunities are available to you there. The vast majority of fashion institutes will offer awards to potential and current students. Don't miss out on the opportunity to apply so you can save your money for more fun things – like a new seasonal wardrobe. 

Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.