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Scholarships for Film Majors

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

So you’re thinking of taking your homemade videos to the next level. A future in film production, screenwriting, or directing may be in your future, but how will you afford the cost of your film education? Despite the competitiveness film majors may undergo pursuing their career goals, there are many financial aid options to help pay for their education.

Most colleges and universities offer general scholarships through the financial aid office, as well as departmental scholarships specific to the student’s area of study. Besides college scholarships, film majors can also seek outside scholarships by searching online. Corporations, organizations, and associations oftentimes award scholarships to qualifying students. With a little research and perseverance, film majors can add to their financial aid package.

Where to Look for Free Money for Film Majors

Heard of free money? Scholarships are free money awarded to qualifying film majors interested in pursuing a career within the film industry. Whether your goal is to direct films, write films, work behind-the-scenes, or other film-related career, there are scholarships dedicated to your area of interest.

College Scholarships

Most colleges and universities offer departmental scholarships for film majors. To be considered, students should speak with department staff for scholarship availability and requirements.

Examples of college scholarships include:

The University of California—Santa Barbara offers several scholarships and awards to qualifying film majors through its Film & Media Studies department.

  • The Alexander Sesonski Prize for Best Scholarly Essay is given to a film student who submits the best essay on film theory, history, or criticism. Up to $1,000 awarded each year.

  • The Paul N. & Elinor T. Lazarus Endowed Scholarship in Film Studies is awarded each year to a film major looking to pursue a career in film or television writing. Award pays for most of the recipient’s senior year fees.

  • The Dorothy & Sherrill C. Corwin Awards are prizes awarded to registered UCSB students. There are three categories of prizes including best short film, best feature screenplay, and best short screenplay. Winners receive cash prizes and a season pass to all Metropolitan Theatres.

The University of Boulder awards film majors through their Film Studies program. Selected students are offered internships through Sundance Institute. Other students can receive university research grants to help defray the costs of student film projects.

The Institute of Humane Studies at George Mason University offers film and fiction scholarships to qualifying students. Scholarships are awarded to students earning a master degree in fine arts. Eligible areas include fiction writing, screenwriting, film directing, playwriting, and production. Amount awarded totals up to $10,000 in scholarship money.

Outside Scholarships

Film majors can also seek outside scholarships, offered by professional organizations, corporations, or associations to supplement their financial aid package.

Here are some examples:
The fraternal organization, Phi Delta Theta awards the Francis D. Lyon Scholarship to film majors. Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate film students who demonstrate financial need. Do not need to be member to apply. Award amount is $3,000.

Eastman Kodak Scholarship Program —funded by Kodak, the scholarships are awarded to filmmaking students who demonstrate a good academic record. Applicants must submit a student film to be considered. Films will be judged based on vision and creativity. Letters of recommendation are also required. Award amount is $5,000 each.

Women pursuing a career in film should look into the nonprofit organization, Women in Film. This organization offers several scholarships through their Women in Film Foundation. Awards are distributed to outstanding female film students who demonstrate talent and creativity. Applicants must be registered with a film school affiliate in California. Award amounts vary.

Screen Actors Guild Foundation offers the John Dales Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to members of the guild and their dependents who demonstrate financial need. Award amounts vary.

Tips for Getting Film Major Scholarships

  • Inquire with your school of choice. Speak with department staff to find out what scholarships are available to film majors.
  • Some scholarship requirements include a student film. Be prepared to create an original film, and/or write an essay about the field of filmmaking.
  • Speak to a financial aid representative on campus for other scholarship opportunities. Federal and state grants, loans, as well as merit-based and need-based scholarships may also be available.
  • Seek outside scholarships using the Internet. When seeking outside scholarships start early and note all deadlines.

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