Student Rules

Applications for the 2017 Student Grants are closed.

The Alexia Foundation offers a Student Alexia Grant to enable current college
student photographers to produce substantial bodies of work that share the
Foundation’s goals of promoting world peace and cultural understanding. Work
that helps bring about change is more valued.

Grants are administered by the Foundation and the endowed Alexia Chair at The
Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

Alexia Foundation Grants were created to support still photographers and that
remains our primary mission. We recognize that the profession more and more
calls for a diverse range of story forms. Therefore, while your submissions must
have a set of still photographs, you may also submit other story forms as part of
your grant application submission. Those may include audio, motion, VR or any
other visual format.

Student applicants are encouraged to consider proposing projects close to
where you are. Our experience is that you’re more likely to produce a successful
body of work if you can easily access the setting where you’ll produce the work.

Deadline for submission is February 14, 2017 at 11 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time.

Complete submission guidelines are on the submission page. Your submission
will include a proposal synopsis of up to 25, the proposal of up to 3,500
characters, your resume, three references, up to 20 still photographs and links
to motion pieces, if you wish to include a motion component for consideration.

Winners will be announced on or about April 8, 2017. Judging takes place at
Syracuse University March 24 and 25 at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public
Communications and is open to the public..

Student Awards

Grants are given for First Place and, at judges’ discretion, Award(s) of Excellence. Grants do vary between undergraduate and graduate students.

First Place Award if Recipient is an Undergraduate Student:
• Tuition for one semester at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of
Public Communications. Tuition for a semester is approximately $21,000.
• $1,000 cash grant to help produce the proposed body of work.
• $500 will be awarded to the student’s academic department.
Award(s) of Excellence if Recipient is an Undergraduate Student:
Each recipient to receive:

• $1,500 to be applied to tuition at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School
of Public Communications, upon acceptance. Or tuition to attend one of the
following workshops: a MediaStorm one-day workshop, a Momenta Photo
Workshop, a Kalish Workshop, which is provided by The Gilka Grant.
• $500 cash grant to help produce the proposed picture story or multimedia

First Place if Recipient is a graduate student:
• This award pays tuition for three graduate-level classes and program fees
during the Fall semester at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of
Public Communications, up to a maximum of $15,000.
• $1,000 cash grant to help produce the proposed picture story.
• $500 will be awarded to the student’s academic department.
Award(s) of Excellence if the Recipient is a Graduate Student: Each recipient to receive:
• $1,500 to be applied toward tuition at Syracuse University. Or tuition to attend
one of the following workshops: a MediaStorm one-day workshop, a Momenta
Photo Workshop, a Kalish Workshop, which is provided by The Gilka Grant.
• $500 cash grant to help produce the proposed picture story or multimedia
If recipients cannot accept any portion of their awards, these awards may be offered to other applicants at the discretion of the Foundation.


Applicants must be actively pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree
in an accredited college or university in the U.S. or internationally but may
not apply if you graduated as of the end of 2016. No student who has
worked as a professional photographer for more than one (1) year is eligible.
(“Professional photographer” shall be defined as earning more than one-half (1/2)
of your gross annual income from photography (sales, assignments, etc.)

Application Procedure

Your application must include the items listed below – there is no form to fill out
in advance. Once those are ready, click the submit button at right and follow
instructions from there. 

Written Elements
Submit written elements as PDF documents.

1. Synopsis: In not more than twenty-five (25) words, write a synopsis of your

2. Proposal: A written proposal of not more than 700 words (3500 characters) to produce a
body of work comprised of still or motion body of work that will promote world
peace and cultural understanding. Nearly all previous grant recipients have
proposed projects that were already in progress.

The most effective proposals start by telling a story that takes the reader to the
setting and engages them emotionally. Then describe why the project is
important. Then explain how you will accomplish the project. Conclude by
explaining the outcomes of the project, how it will be used, ideally to bring about
change. Evidence that you have created partnerships with other organizations is

Do not put your name or other identifying information on your proposal. All
applications will be judged anonymously.
Only one application per person each year will be accepted.

For helpful tips on writing a proposal, see our blog post with National Geographic Director of Photography and former Alexia grant judge Sarah Leen.

3. Resume: A resume which shall include your email address, phone numbers
and address along with the names, titles and phone numbers of three (3)
references. Do not send any letters of recommendation.

Photographs - What and How To Submit

Submit a body of work consisting of up to twenty (20) photographs. Images
should demonstrate your ability to accomplish your proposed project. If you
submit photos that are not related to your proposal, they must have been taken
within the past two (2) years. There is no time limit on pictures that relate directly
to your story proposal.

Image Preparation: Digital photo files must be formatted as medium-quality
JPEG images at 5000 pixels at the longest dimension at 72 dpi. Each image
must have a caption in the file’s metadata/exif caption field. Do not include your
name in captions or exif fields. You may provide URLs for no more than two (2)
of your motion pieces - which should reflect your proposed project or a topic or
approach that is similar to your proposed subject.

Ethical Standards

The Alexia Foundation follows ethical photojournalistic
standards as set forth by organizations such as the National Press
Photographers Association, World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year
International. Images may not be altered to change the structural integrity of
photographed scenes. Toning of images - saturation, contrast, vignetting,
dynamic range, etc. - must be within reasonable limits, as determined by the
panel of judges.

Judging Criteria & Process

The Grant was established to help promote world peace and cultural
understanding. The strength of your written proposal will be judged equally to
your image-making skills. The Grant goes to those who clearly and concisely
propose significant projects that share in the Foundation’s mission and who
demonstrate the ability to accomplish their proposals by showing images of the
highest caliber. Photographs you submit with your proposal may be about your
proposal’s subject or of past work that is of a similar type. (It is rare that a grant
recipient has not already started work on the project that she or he is

Student Grant applications will be judged in two rounds. First, members of the
Alexia Board and its Advisory Council will review submissions and forward the
top tier of entries to a panel of judges who will read and rank the story proposals
for all those portfolios brought forward. The second and final round of judging
takes place at Syracuse University and is by a three-member panel. Winning
recipients are chosen based on the judging panel’s determination of the
combination of the strongest proposal and photographs.

Expectations of Grant Recipients 

Student grant recipients will produce a substantial body of work on the project
they’ve proposed – in the realm of one to three months of field time, depending
on the project – within one year of signing the grant agreement. Recipients will
submit sixty high resolution images at the conclusion of the project and if a
motion piece is produced, a digital file of the piece will also be submitted to the
Alexia Foundation and Alexia Chair. Recipients must also submit a document
that outlines the work they’ve produced as a result of the grant, including
outcomes of the body of work.

Grant of Rights

All applicants understand, acknowledge and agree that should they be awarded
a Grant, said Grant recipient retains the copyright to his/her photograph(s), and
explicitly grants the Foundation, its licensees, affiliates and their designees an
irrevocable, non-exclusive perpetual royalty-free license to use, copy, publish,
distribute, screen and display such Grant-related photographs, photo stories,
picture essays, multimedia or photo-documentary projects, in any and all
manner, form/medium/media now known or hereafter created, and in any
publication, advertising, marketing, venue or program sponsored or authorized
by the Foundation for the advancement of its mission and goals, including but
not limited to educational, promotional and fundraising purposes at the
Foundation’s sole discretion, without additional permission or consideration, or
notification to the Grant recipient or any third party.

The Alexia Chair at Syracuse University may also use entry materials as part of
his educational responsibilities.

Each applicant warrants and represents that every photograph submitted with
such applicant’s Grant entry is his/her own original work and that he/she has the
unrestricted right to grant to the Foundation the license described above.

Alexia Grants will be awarded subject to these additional terms:

The license granted herein by the applicant to the Foundation for use of photographs submitted with the applicant’s Alexia Grant application shall be extended in all its terms to all works created by the applicant in the course of any project funded in any part by the applicant’s Alexia Grant.

Each applicant shall be deemed to have consented to the use of his/her name, portrait, and/or picture by the Foundation in promotional and public relations materials or for any other purpose related to the Alexia Grant program or the Foundation.

Each applicant shall agree to reasonable requests by the Foundation to present such applicant’s work and/or represent the Foundation at photography workshops, seminars and/or conventions, provided that any necessary expense associated with such presentations is paid by the Foundation.

Each applicant shall be responsible for determining his or her own tax liability arising from acceptance of the Alexia Grant, and for satisfaction of any such liability. 


If you are uncertain about any of these requirements, please contact Alexia
Chair Mike Davis at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public
Communications by e-mail at
View Prior Winning Submissions