2021 Scholarship applications will open October 1. 

If you are a undergraduate in a four-year program in the United States or a graduate student, studying photojournalism, and you will not have graduated by the end of spring semester 2021, you are eligible to apply.

Deadline for entries is midnight eastern time, December 1, 2020


We are pleased to have corporate sponsors for our scholarships. Scholarship winners will receive a Sony or Fujifilm camera depending on the scholarship awarded. Saramonic provides microphones and Think Tank provides camera bags. Litra provides lights to mount on the cameras.

Student Group Teleconference

Student groups may set up a teleconference with Dr. James Brown, director of scholarships and awards, to confer on portfolio development and to answer any questions on the application procedure. Dr. Brown can set up a Zoom meeting or respond to Skype or other technology teleconferencing methods. Set up at meeting with him at jwbrown@nppf.org.

NPPF Rules for Scholarships

Click to read about our available scholarships.

The National Press Photographers Foundation scholarships (NPPF) announces new rules to streamline the entry process. 

  • The 2021 NPPF Scholarship competition will OPEN October 1, 2020.
  • NPPF deadline for entries is midnight, eastern time, December 1, 2020.
  • Seniors and last-year graduate students are now eligible to enter if they will not have graduated until the end of spring semester 2021.
  • Awards will be announced during the 2021 spring semester.

We offer 12 $2,000 scholarships and details of those scholarships are here.

NPPF Scholarship Application

NPPF scholarships are awarded to encourage those with the talent and dedication to photojournalism and who need financial help to continue their studies. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a four-year college or university in the United States. Foreign students studying here are eligible.

We have three judging panels of top professionals. One panel judges the still scholarships. Another panel judges the TV Scholarship. A third panel judges the Clarkson Scholarship.

Your portfolio, multimedia and video entries can be developed and managed online during the two-month entry period. You will have the ability to add or delete from your portfolio up until the deadline.

Preparing to apply

Students intending to apply for NPPF Scholarships can prepare before our September application opening.

A recommendation is required from a professor familiar with the student’s work.

  • Get: Professor’s name, email address and telephone number.
  • Applicants for the Clarkson Scholarship will need a second recommendation from a non-academic person familiar with your leadership qualities.
  • The person(s) making recommendations will enter them online.

There are a few short essay questions that can be written ahead of time and copied and pasted into our entry form.

  • What are your major academic and professional accomplishments?
  • What is your need for a NPPF scholarship?
  • What are your career goals following graduation?

For the Clarkson Scholarship an additional essay is required.

  • Describe your leadership skills and experiences.

Additionally you will need:

  • Your overall Grade Point Average and points system (such as 2.8 on a 4-point system) are necessary. Check your registrar’s semester grade notice or your transcript.
  • Links – Videos and multimedia must be directly linked on the Internet.  YouTube, Vimeo, a news website or a personal website are fine.

Image Preparation

Please read the image preparation requirements (link) carefully. Images that do not meet these specifications will be rejected by our online portfolio system.

General Portfolio Submission Instructions

Your portfolio should should show your storytelling ability.

A portfolio may consist of any combination of a Singles category, Picture Stories and Multimedia video links. How you use those categories is flexible. There is only one possible Singles category. There is a maximum of ten entries in your portfolio. You may use any combination of the categories.

Your portfolio does not have to use all three categories. The Singles category and each defined Picture Story may have up to 10 images. Video entries are links that go directly to videos preferably on YouTube or Vimeo. Judges to not want to have to go through ads on a news website to get to your video. While not required, judges strongly urge students to include at least one video story in their portfolios.

The Singles category, each Picture Story and each Video count as one item toward the maximum of ten items in your portfolio.

The portfolio entry system will track your entries and stop you from entering more than 10 total items. Note that you do not have to have 10 items–that is the maximum.

All still photographs require captions. Captions already entered in the metadata of the image will be automatically entered in the portfolio system. Captions may be edited or entered in the Portfolio system software.

Judges for the NPPF TV scholarship will be interested in video entries. Three video stories are sufficient. Direct links to the videos are required. Judges do not want to go through ads to view your videos.

Editing your Application and Portfolio
Your portfolio and all contents may be edited up to the application deadline. Items may be added and deleted. Once you create a Picture Story, you may edit the story and drag and drop to rearrange the order of the pictures.

Important for Allowing Faculty time to write a meaningful reference
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you start your portfolio as soon as possible. When you create your portfolio, you will see a text link on the right margin “Apply for Scholarship.” Click it and fill out the form with the information on the faculty reference. When you save the application an automatic email to the faculty member with a link to submit a reference for you. Do this well before the application deadline so that the faculty member has time to write the reference for you.

Check with your faculty reference to make sure this email did not go to a junk mail folder.

You may copy and paste copy from documents previously written in other software such as Word in the appropriate open-ended fields.

There is a Help menu item for your questions.

  1. Create an application. A confirmation email will be sent to you. It may take several minutes to arrive. Be sure to check your junk mail folder too.
  2. Accept the default title and create your portfolio.
  3. Click the link “Apply for Scholarships” and fill out the form and save it. Faculty information is very important. The form may be edited. If you are applying for the Clarkson scholarship, one additional non-faculty recommendation referring to your leadership ability is required.
  4. Continue to develop your portfolio, and edit it, until the deadline.

Screen Snaps of the Portfolio System

You may familiarize yourself with the major screens in the Portfolio System by stepping through the annotated slides here.

Image Permission

This is an educational website and we post winning portfolios here so that other students may learn from them. Applying for our scholarships gives NPPF permission to post your portfolio on our website and use your pictures on our social media platforms to promote our scholarship program. You retain copyright to all your images.

Deadline for entries is midnight eastern time, December 1, 2020.

Click here to continue to the online portfolio and application website (link not yet active).

The College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) competition opens Aug. 23.

Interested students should consider entering this portfolio-based competition managed by the University of Missouri. The National Press Photographers Foundation supplies the Col. William Lookadoo award to the College Photographer of the Year and the Milton Freier Memorial Award to the runner-up.

The entry deadline is 11:59 am Central Daylight Time (UTC-5; noon, NOT midnight), Monday Sept. 21, 2020.

Follow this link after August 23, 2019, to apply to CPOY: http://www.cpoy.org