Fashion scholarships a stylish way to get into college

Here at Money College, we've debated the value of a public vs. private arts education. While no conclusion was made, a fashion scholarship may make the decision for you. If you want to be the next Jason Wu or Alexander Wang, it's time to get out that sketchbook and sewing machine and start applying for fashion scholarships.

Like most scholarships, fashion scholarships can come from non-profit organizations, from corporate competitions or the school itself. Whether looking behind at fashion's past or creating the next big trend, here's a few options to help outfit your fashion diploma.

Since 1973, the Costume Society of America has supported the study of costume. Similar to fashion scholarships, they offer research grants, which range from $500 to $2,000, and give a student studying North American costuming some financial support. Some grants, like the Stella Blum Research Grant, offer additional funds for travel.

The Fashion Scholarship Fund is a non-profit organization made up of fashion industry professionals which promotes education through fashion scholarships. Since its start in 1971, the Fashion Scholarship Fund has doled out more than $6 million in fashion scholarships to 700 students across the nation.

Each year, the group gives $5,000 fashion scholarships to 80 students. Now, thanks to a partnership with the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship, four students receive a $25,000 fashion scholarship.

Fashion Scholarships That Force You To "Make It Work"
The American Sheep Industry Association (a national organization representing the interests of more than 82,000 sheep producers) offers fashion scholarships in four different categories, ranging from pre-teen to adult. For college students enrolled in a design program, it offers a separate "Fashion/Apparel Design Scholarship" worth $1,000. The national competition awards wool creations that show the versatility and beauty of wool.

High School seniors aspiring to career in fashion design can get a head start with the Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition. The prize is a full tuition fashion scholarship to study either Fashion Design or Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Fashion Retail Management.

But this fashion scholarship offers more than just tuition; each grand prize winner receives a trip to New York Fashion Week, a $500 shopping spree and a trip to the Seventeen Magazine offices. The runners-up and second runners-up also receive a $5,000 and $4,000 tuition fashion scholarship, respectively.

Back in April, Money College talked with Izzy Bristow, who is studying costume design at Western Oregon University. Bristow is the 2009 winner of the Stuck at Prom Duck Tape Scholarship competition. High school students are awarded with a fashion scholarship for their crafty efforts in creating a prom dress and tux out of duct tape. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the competition, each couple who made it into the top receives a fashion scholarship. Online voting decides the winner. Beginning June 30, two couples are eliminated Survivor style every week, based on the lowest number of votes. The final surviving couple receives a $3,000 fashion scholarship.

So whether you are being honored with a fashion scholarship from a time-honored non-profit or you're showing off your fashion showmanship, help is out there for move along your career and alleviate your bank account.

Clothes to Free, appearing Thursdays, is a weekly fashion-on-a-budget column by Money College blogger Alysse Dalessandro. Send Alysse column tips at