Scholarships are awarded to applicants exhibiting artistic and academic merit. PAFA also supports distinguished awards and prestigious scholarship competitions rewarding talent and achievement.

Donald R. Caldwell Scholarship

This full–tuition scholarship is for incoming full-time undergraduate students. Based on the merits of their portfolio, Caldwell Scholarship nominees will be sent a Challenge Portfolio to complete and return. A limited number of Caldwell Scholars are selected each year, based on the artworks submitted. The Caldwell Scholarship is named in honor of Donald R. Caldwell, Chair Emeritus of PAFA’s Board of Trustees and a major supporter of the School of Fine Arts.

James J. & Frances M. Maguire Scholarship for Artistic Excellence

This is a full-tuition scholarship for full-time undergraduate students entering PAFA between 2015 and 2018. Three students will be awarded the inaugural James J. & Frances M. Maguire Scholarships to commence studies at PAFA in the fall of 2015. Three additional scholarships will be awarded to students entering in 2016 and 2017, and two more will follow in  2018, for a total of 11 recipients who will receive these awards through their graduation in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Trustee Scholarship

A Trustee Scholarship will be awarded to a new Master of Fine Arts student and will be a full-tuition scholarship awarded based upon merit.  The faculty admissions committee will choose the recipient at the time of the MFA review for admission.  All students who are admitted to the program will be in consideration for this Trustee Scholarship.

Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship

This scholarship is available to students who graduate from Pittsburgh Public school and who live in the City of Pittsburgh, regardless of financial need or income. Students can earn up to a $40,000 award that will be paid over four years. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must maintain a GPA of 2.5, maintain a minimum attendance record of 90%, and attend any accredited public or private post-secondary school located in Pennsylvania. Please visit for instructions on how to apply.

Deborah Morrison Henderson Scholarship

The Deborah Morrison Henderson Scholarship is a $2,500-$3,333 per-semester award that is available to a transfer student or non-traditional aged student entering PAFA’s BFA or Penn BFA program. To apply for this scholarship, the student must submit a written statement describing their reasons for pursuing a joint studio and liberal arts degree, and how they think the combined program will benefit their practice and scholarship. To remain eligible for this scholarship, the student must maintain satisfactory progress and demonstrate continued enthusiasm for the program in order to receive subsequent award installments.

Alumni Scholarship

Alumni Scholarship candidates must be referred to the school’s Certificate, BFA, MFA, or Post Baccalaureate programs by a PAFA alum. Applicants should submit PAFA’s Alumni Scholarship Nomination Form to the Office of Admissions by the postmarked deadline. In addition to nominating the student, this form will exempt the referred applicant from PAFA's application fee.

This scholarship is intended to recognize talented students who are encouraged to study at PAFA through relationships with our alumni. To learn more about PAFA’s Alumni Scholarship, please contact the Office of Admissions at 215-972-7625 or

Community College Connection Scholarships

These scholarships, in the amount of $1,000 to $6,000 per year, are intended to strengthen PAFA’s relationship with community colleges throughout the country. They are established in conjunction with formalized transfer agreements. PAFA currently supports Connection Scholarships with:

  • Atlantic Cape Community College
  • Camden County Community College
  • Montgomery County Community College
  • Northampton Community College
  • Community College of Philadelphia

If your school is not listed, contact PAFA's Office of Admissions to discuss the formalization of a transfer agreement.

Phi Theta Kappa Scholarships

PAFA sponsors scholarships for student members of Phi Theta Kappa. These awards are based on academic success, and the award range is dependent upon a complete review of the student's application materials. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required and the student must have a minimum of 15.5 credit hours completed. This award is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. Part-time students and students with a previous bachelor’s degree are not eligible for this scholarship.

Next Step Scholarships

These scholarships are available to students entering the Certificate and BFA programs who have completed PAFA’s Summer Academy program. Typically, these awards range from $1,000 to $2,000 per year.

The Thomas Jefferson Scholarship

This scholarship is designated for newly enrolling MFA students. Named after our nation’s third president, whose time in Philadelphia altered the course of our nation, this award is intended to support students who will bring talent and leadership to our graduate community. The amount of this award changes annually.

Diuturnus viribus (enduring strength) Scholarship Award

This is a one-year award of $1,500 in tuition relief plus $500 cash for self-care to any female MFA student at PAFA (MFA or Low-Residency MFA) who is working 20+ hours a week and/or caring for dependants (children, parents, etc.) in their household. Applicants must submit a written statement describing how the scholarship would assist them were they to be chosen, along with ten images of their work by July 31. The recipient will be responsible for performing one day of community service and recording their service in a report to the grantor along with a report of how they used the gift for self-care. Recipients may apply to renew the scholarship for a second year.