Scholarship Opportunity:

Academy of Art University San Francisco

Arts for Oakland Kids (AOK) is pleased to announce that we have been asked to select one OUSD graduating senior to receive a Presidential Scholarship from the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco. This is a full 4-year scholarship for tuition costs at AAU, valued at almost $26,000 per year, or over $100,000 for 4 years, 2023 – 2027.

Note: This scholarship does not include additional fees, books and class supplies or cover room and board or transportation. However, an admissions representative from AAU will help the student and family to determine additional financial needs and apply for a Pell grant if needed. (The student may already have filled out a FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid – with their high school.)

Deadline for applications: May 21, 2023 11:59pm

The following information is being provided to help you apply for the AOK/AAU Scholarship. If you have questions about the application process that is not provided here, please email us at

Since 1929, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned, it is one of the largest private, accredited art and design schools in the nation.

AAU is a professional school—a specialized place that helps students master their craft as they prepare for professional roles as artists and designers. AAU’s hands-on, no-nonsense curriculum is taught by people with some of the finest minds working in today’s creative and innovative industries. Faculty members help students develop their talent and acquire skills sought by the creative marketplace.

AAU offers degrees in the following schools: Acting, Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Art Education, Art History, Communications & Media Technologies, Fashion, Fine Art, Game Development, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interaction & UI/UX Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Jewelry & Metal Arts, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures & Television, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Photography, Visual Development, and Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media. For more information about these programs and the University, please visit

All applicants for the AAU Presidential Scholarship must meet these qualifications:

  • Must be a current senior at a high school within the Oakland Unified School District. (These are: Castlemont, Coliseum Prep, Dewey Academy, Fremont, Life Academy, Madison Park Academy, McClymonds, MetWest, Oakland High, Oakland International, Oakland Tech, Ralph J. Bunche Academy, Rudsdale, Skyline, Street Academy.)
  • Must be on track to graduate in May with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
  • Must have a background in, and body of work from, one of the arts areas offered at AAU (listed below).
    • Acting
    • Advertising
    • Animation & Visual Effects
    • Architecture
    • Art Education
    • Art History
    • Communications & Media Technologies
    • Fashion
    • Fine Art
    • Game Development
    • Graphic Design
    • Illustration
    • Industrial Design
    • Interaction & UI/UX Design
    • Interior Architecture & Design
    • Jewelry & Metal Arts
    • Landscape Architecture
    • Motion Pictures & Television
    • Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media
    • Photography
    • Visual Development
    • Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media

  • Must be an Oakland resident.
  • Must be able to articulate financial need.

To apply for the AOK/AAU Presidential Scholarship:

  1. Compile five samples of your best work in your field of interest. Acceptable files include jpeg, pdf, png, gif, svg, mp4.
  2. Obtain two letters:
    1. Letter of recommendation from your High School arts teacher, or another adult you have worked with in the arts.
    2. Letter of support from your parent/guardian (acceptable in English, Spanish or Chinese).
  3. Complete a Statement of Financial Need. This is a short letter that explains how and why you would benefit from being awarded a scholarship. Explain your family background, any difficulties you or your family have encountered, specific life challenges, etc.
  4. Gather one piece of proof of your Oakland residency (a copy of a utility bill, a driver’s license, phone bill, etc.).
  5. Prepare a brief essay (approx. 150-300 words) explaining why you would like to pursue a career in the arts, and how you would take advantage of this scholarship from the Academy of Art University. You will type this into the application form.
  6. Complete the online application form using this link. You will be asked to upload all of the required information listed above. A PDF copy is linked here for your reference.

Deadline for applications: May 21, 2023 11:59pm

The complete online application (application form, work samples, financial need statement, proof of residency, and letters) must be submitted by May 21st at 11:59pm.

May 22 – June 9: A selection panel comprised of Arts for Oakland Kids Board members, professional artists, and art instructors will carefully review all applications.

June 12: Five finalists will be invited to participate in 20-30 minute interviews with the selection panel.

During their interview, each finalist will be asked to present:

  1. Additional samples of their work, and
  2. High school transcripts to date.

June 17 – June 23: Selection panel will interview the finalists (via zoom).

June 30: AOK will announce the student selected for the scholarship.

After you complete the online application, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a copy of your entire application.

All applicants will be notified one way or another by June 30, 2023.

Good Luck!

Arts for Oakland Kids is a 501(c)(3) fund with a mission to advance arts justice by ensuring that all students in under-resourced Oakland public schools receive a comprehensive arts education in order to improve learning and promote achievement. We envision a world in which the power of arts education is fully recognized, and every public school student – regardless of race, background, or wealth – is given equitable access to the advantages of a comprehensive arts education, enabling them to reach their intellectual, social, and emotional potential.


If you have questions about the AOK/AAU Scholarship, please email