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Art and Design Incoming Freshman and Incoming Transfer Student Scholarships


  • To start your scholarship application, you must notify the Art & Design Program Head via email of your intent to apply by Nov. 20 each year ( The Program Head will then initiate the setup of your digital application, which includes sending you an email invitation into your application account, which you must accept for access.”
  • Complete Incoming Freshman and Transfer Scholarship applications are due by December 1 of each year. Late (and/or incomplete) submissions will not be considered.


Incoming freshman and transfer students who are majoring in art and design and have officially applied at NKU may apply for scholarship support of one semester of in-state tuition.

To apply for a portfolio-based Incoming Student Scholarship (freshmen and transfer students), notification of intent to apply must be sent to Art & Design Program Head via email ( by Nov. 20 each year. The Program Head will initiate the setup of your digital application, where you will submit complete scholarship application materials by Dec. 1st. The application will need to include digital images of 5-10 pieces of the applicant’s art and/or design work, labeled as guided within the online application (to include details such as title, medium, year, etc.), and additional content detailed below. Applicants will be judged on the quality and originality of their artwork, as well as their letter of intent, letter of recommendation, and GPA/high school transcript.


Applications must include the following:

• Letter of Intent (up to 200 words)

The scholarship committee would like to get to know you as a person and creative individual. Include a short essay based on one of the prompts below, which will serve as a statement of purpose:

Option 1: Tell us about some of the most important moments in your creative and academic life and why they were important.

Option 2: Please discuss how you demonstrate leadership at your high school, through student organizations or extracurriculars, or through service work.

Option 3: Think of your definition of success in the arts. If you receive scholarship support, how would that enable your success, short- and/or long-term?


• Letter of Recommendation

Provide a letter of recommendation (PDF) from your high school art teacher, guidance counselor, or other non-relative familiar with the applicant’s creative work, named as follows: lastname_ firstname_schoolabbreviation_reco.pdf (for ex., Smith_Morgan_CCHS_recommendation.pdf).


• Transcript(s)

Submit your unofficial high school transcript and/or transcripts from any other prior post-secondary institution attended (community college, other university after high school, etc.). Name the PDF as follows: lastname_ firstname_schoolabbreviation_transcript.pdf (for ex.: Smith_Morgan_CCHS_transcript.pdf, Smith_Morgan_GCTC_transcript.pdf, etc.).


• 5–10 Portfolio Samples as listed below

A portfolio of 5–10 individual artworks and/or design samples must be submitted for scholarship consideration. Work may be in a single discipline or a combination of work from 2D, 3D, and 4D areas. If a student is working in a series, each work counts as one individual work.

• A minimum of one full view of each artwork/design, showing at least 5 individual works.

• Up to 5 images can be detail images for the main work samples in the portfolio.

• Do not exceed a total of 10 images.

• For time-based work (i.e., videos/animations), please provide a web link to the video (YouTube or Vimeo) with a maximum length of three minutes. This video can be one clip from a single video, or it can be a compilation of clips from multiple videos. Each separate video included in the compilation counts as one work of art. In the case of compilation videos, please note the number of separate artworks that are represented in the online application form.

For tips on photographing creative work, view Tyler Stalman’s, How to Photograph Your Art


• Image List

An image list (PDF) showing small thumbnail images of the works submitted (including the optional detail images) and this corresponding label information for each artwork/design:

— Title

— Medium

— Dimensions (W x H x D in inches) / duration (in minutes for videos/motion pieces)

— Year

Name the Image List PDF file: lastname_ firstname_schoolabbreviation_ImageList.pdf (for ex., Smith_Morgan_CCHS_ImageList.pdf).

Image List Example


Application Submission Process

The application process involves creating a OneDrive folder that will contain all of your portfolio images and the Image List, then sharing a link to that folder within the digital application, which is accessible via NKU’s Canvas > “ArtDesign Scholarship Application Portal.” The digital application will also prompt you to answer informational questions (contact information, etc.) and your response to the Letter of Intent essay. To get access to the application portal, give notification of your intent to apply to the Art & Design Program Head via email by Nov. 20 (Professor Brad McCombs:


Application Instructions

We recommend writing your essay in a separate document to paste into the application field when prompted. Have the portfolio images and Image List PDF gathered into in a single OneDrive folder* (name this folder: Lastname_FirstName_Scholarship_currentyear; for example, Smith_Morgan_Scholarship_2023). Paste a link to this OneDrive folder into the application when prompted. *Technical note: The OneDrive folder CANNOT BE A SUBFOLDER of any other folder. First-time users of OneDrive: Information on how to use OneDrive

            Visit to access the application portal (Canvas > “ArtDesign Scholarship Application Portal”), which contains the application where you will answer the questions, paste information, and share your portfolio OneDrive link with materials. Your email from the Program Head (Prof. McCombs) will contain the invitation to the Canvas page leading to the application portal; accept this invitation to be able to fill out a scholarship application.

Access Application Portal Here


Scholarship Review Process

Once the Dec. 1 application deadline passes, the Art & Design scholarship committee (composed of faculty members) will review all qualifying applications. Applications that did not meet all the qualifications will receive notification from the Art & Design Program explaining why. Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered. After the Review Committee determines the scholarship recipients and award amounts (including alternates), the Art & Design Program Head will send a letter of notification to all qualifying applicants. Those awarded scholarships will then need to sign and return their letter of acceptance to the Office of Student Financial Assistance at NKU by the stated deadline in the letter.

For questions regarding the scholarship application process, contact:

Brad McCombs

Art & Design Program Head

(859) 572-5562


Students that participated in Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts (GSA), Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program (GSP), or Kentucky Governor's School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) are also eligible for substantial scholarships with NKU's Kentucky Governor's Scholarships.

In order to qualify for a scholarship, you must:

  • Apply for admission to NKU by December 1 at
  • Submit high school transcript(s)
  • Submit any ACT or SAT scores

Other Institutional Scholarships can be found under the Freshman Scholarship Listing.

Complete list of Scholarships and Awards

Merit-Based Scholarships

Contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance for more information.
Toll-Free 1-888-225-4499