"When we say access, we are also saying the possibility to inhabit a space to the extent that one can say, ‘This is my home. I am not a foreigner. I belong here’. This is not hospitality. It is not charity.”  

Achille Joseph Mbembe



The following resources are available for students, faculty, and staff in an effort to enhance the experiences of our community and help ensure that all members of the community feel included and fully supported at RISD.

For Faculty:

The SEI Research, SEI Programming Fund, SEI Conference and Presentation Fund, and the Decolonial Teaching in Action Course application have all currently been suspended for AY 2023-2024.

The SEI Conference and Presentation Fund will return in a limited capacity in Spring 2024, offering places to faculty to join the SEI team at select conferences. DTAC is amidst discussions for updating and reimagining the program. Please return here or on the Academic Affairs page during wintersession for updates.

The SEI Steering Committee will be offering Expanded Public Programming funds for faculty or departments who already have programming in place for Spring or Summer 2024 and want to increase engagement. Folks can reach out to Ramon Tejada, SEI Steering Committee Co-chair (rtejada@risd.edu), for information.


For Students:

Part of the Center for SEI's initiatives when engaging with students is done through the Intercultural Student Engagement or ISE. ISE's mission is to cultivate an environment that recognizes an ever-changing campus and global community.  ISE nurtures the holistic growth and inspiration of emergent artists and designers to enhance social consciousness, cultural mindfulness, self-actualization, and inclusive dialogues.

They also support students from underrepresented backgrounds groups including, but not limited to those who are: first generation, international, LGBTQIA+, religious or spiritual, students who are socio-economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, BIPOC students, and students not traditionally of college age. 

For complete and up to date information about ISE's programs and resources specific to students, please visit their website: https://www.ise.risd.edu.

Project Thrive
Project Thrive is a multi-year student support and learning community program designed specifically for RISD students whose parents did not attend or did not complete college. The program provides students with opportunities to reflect on their identities and embrace the strengths and assets they hold as first-generation college students. Project Thrive challenges students to think critically about their social and cultural identities, aspire to and achieve academic excellence, enhance their leadership skills, and begin to build a path towards professional and personal success. Students who attend the summer FGC POP program are automatically part of Project Thrive. Any student who did not attend FGC POP should contact ISE directly at ise@risd.edu.


Additional Resources for Students:

Materials Fund

The Materials Fund Program was established through a Social Equity Fund Committee proposal in 2018.  These funds were designed to help our neediest students with costs beyond tuition and fees.  In addition to Materials Funds, funding support for Global Travel and Internships were created as well.

At the moment there are a couple of different materials funds that exist.

1. Ackerman Materials Fund - First-year high-need UG students - All high-need first-year students (for the most part Pell Recipients) receive $1,000 ($500 per semester) as a credit at the RISD bookstore to help with costs associated with their program. 

Returning high-need UG students - These same students receive a $1,000 bookstore credit in subsequent years as well.  Please note that we are exploring changing this from a bookstore credit to a stipend payment for the spring semester to help students with costs beyond what the bookstore supports.

2.  Pilot Program for Returning UG Students with Need -  This year, we have rolled out a pilot program to help returning UG students with need.  We identified all returning students who receive a RISD Scholarship (eligible financial need) These students will be receiving a $600 stipend payment ($300 per semester) to help with costs associated with projects (The average materials request from UGs last year was $487).  Notifications have gone out to recipients.  The recipients will receive the funds in the form of a cash stipend.

This is an effort to eliminate students with need from having to continuously tell RISD they have financial need.  This has been a long-term goal of the materials fund program. 

3.  At Large Materials Fund - This fund is designed for all other students who don't fit into the above buckets.  91.8% of recipients came from Fine Arts and Arch and Design, which is expected.  We noticed last year that we had a large number of students with no need who applied for funds.  They are not eligible.

Who still needs to apply?  How do they apply?

Grad students, international students, and UGs who are not part of the above groupings can apply, however students must have financial need in order to receive funds, a formal application process to establish need will soon be available. 

Material funds have always been supplemental, RISD students at the time of admission are expected to plan for estimated books and supplies of $2,700 per academic year (undergrad), $3,965 (grad). International students are required to certify they have these funds available in order to be approved for a student visa. 

Therefore, it is our hope that students without demonstrated need are not yet in urgent need of potential funding.  If they are, they are encouraged to reach out to SFS to discuss their overall RISD financial plan and available resources. 

Inquiries may be sent to sfs@risd.edu (note that the old materials fund email is now defunct)


Study Abroad Fund
Scholarships are available for RISD students for off-campus semester programs. Students must submit a scholarship application, in order to be eligible. Scholarships may cover part of, or the entire, program cost and/or airfare cost to the course location.

RISD scholarships are awarded based on a combination of financial need and academic merit. These funds are intended to provide students the unique and often life-changing opportunity to participate in an off-campus global learning experience during their time at RISD.

Study Abroad Fund Scholarship

Internships help you build a stronger resume; make professional contacts; see your field firsthand; gain academic credit; get a better starting job; and determine what you want to do, and don't want to do. Funding is available to help you pursue internship opportunities you might not otherwise be able to afford.

Internal Funding info RISD Careers

Resource-sharing and Reallocation Initiatives

  • Provided more than 50 winter coats for students in need through the program Coat Closet
  • Waived cost of programs (Student Art Sale, Artist Ball, CommenceFest) for students in financial need

Other initiatives

  • Swipe it Forward: a platform for students to donate their meal swipes to other students in order to alleviate ongoing food insecurity on campus. This program provides a confidential and efficient way for students who may be having difficulty finding their next meal to receive the help they deserve.
  • RISD Flips: an annual yard sale held at Market Square that generates funds for the Staff Council student scholarship; supports international students by providing available supplies that might be otherwise thrown away; donates unsold articles to community organizations; and reduces environmental impact by reducing the amount of waste generated on campus.
  • RISD Second Life: a nonprofit, student-run, upcycling program that collects usable art supplies and raw materials and redistributes them back to RISD students and to the local community.

College Preparation Programs

FGC POP: is an intensive, two-week, multifaceted experience for incoming RISD students whose parents did not attend or did not complete college. RISD FGC POP is designed as a transformational experience focused on supporting students in their holistic development. 

Project Open Door: is a college access initiative for urban youth. It invites creative teens attending public and charter high schools in Rhode Island’s urban core cities of Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence and Woonsocket to participate in free art and design programming.

RISD Pre-College: offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to access life as a RISD student and experience college culture while studying with award-winning faculty in our art studios to create supplementary pieces for their college admission portfolio. Recent enhancements to the program include:

  • 19 Pre-College full scholarships for summer 2018, up from nine in 2017 and zero the year prior
  • Two full-time counselors hired in addition to planned wellness events
  • Creation of two new Pre-College majors: Art + Science and Art + Activism

Nancy Elizabeth Prophet

1890 - 1960

Nancy Elizabeth Prophet was an artist of African-American and Native American ancestry, known for her sculpture. She was the first African-American graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1918 and later studied at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris during the early 1920s

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