Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was formed in 1927, as an organization that would help promote the interests of the people associated with Hollywood. Initially, the academy introduced Oscars (or Academy Awards, for honoring the talents in Hollywood. Thereafter, the need was felt for a new and different set of awards, known as Student Academy Awards. The award is given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to filmmakers at the undergraduate and graduate levels, mostly in the United States.
The main credit of introducing Student Academy Awards goes to Herbert Klynn, one of the members of the Academy. Klynn, during the meeting of Short Subjects Branch Executive Committee of AMPAS, in September 1972, came up with the proposal of creating a separate category of awards, for honoring student films. The Academy, after analyzing the proposal of Herbert Klynn, gave its approval for the institution of the awards. Initially, the awards came to be known as 'Student Film Awards'.
The awards were presented for the first time in the year 1973. Thereafter, the ceremony took place in 1975 and since then, the Student Awards have been given every year. The modern name 'Student Academy Award' was adopted later on and was effective from 1991. Student Academy Awards are given with the aim of encouraging the budding talents of Hollywood. There are four categories under which these awards are given i.e. alternative (experimental film), animation, documentary, and narrative.
Since the start, in each of the four segments of Student Academy Awards, Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards have been given. The awards are also accompanied by cash grants, of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000, respectively, as they were in 2005. A separate category, known as 'Honorary Foreign Film Award' category was introduced in the Student Academy Awards in the year 1981. The award under this category is given, on an annual basis, to an outstanding student filmmaker from outside the United States.