Fall 2020 Frequently Asked Questions (Aug. 3, 2020)

CalArts will conduct all undergraduate and graduate classes online for the Fall 2020 semester. Below are a list of questions and answers. Please check back as more Q&As will be added.

Delivery Modes and Curriculum 

Tuition will remain the same for 2020-2021 as previously announced and billed. Delivering remote education costs more than in-person classes as we build the infrastructure and capacity of CalArts. Additionally, we are providing increased financial aid to students due to the economic impacts on students and families around the world. We are also providing additional technology and technology support to students, faculty, and staff to ensure continuous educational access.

Please view this presentation given by CFO Maeesha Merchant, which details the budgets and processes. [Access to hub.calarts.edu required]

Yes. We are returning charges to those who purchased meal plans for the fall semester.

During this coronavirus pandemic you will need to contact your program director to determine your options if you are considering part-time enrollment. Several programs will allow students to attend classes part-time (0.75, 0.5 and 0.25 time) during this coronavirus pandemic.  A Part-Time Registration Request Form must be submitted and approved by your school. If approved, you will receive a notification from the Office of the Registrar. This form must be completed for each semester a student wishes to enroll part-time.

Contact the Accounting Office to determine how enrolling part-time will affect your tuition (accounting@calarts.edu). You should also contact the Financial Aid Office to determine how part-time enrollment will affect your institutional and/or federal aid (finaid@calarts.edu).

Part-time enrollment typically has a direct impact on your anticipated graduation date, unless the student has exceptional circumstances. Half-time attendance, for example, will postpone your graduation date by ½ semester toward the eight full-time semester/120 minimum unit undergraduate program or the four or six semester graduate program.

Please note: We are making an exemption to the residency requirement for students that go part-time. Residency Requirement Exception for Academic Year 2020-2021: Given the COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional circumstance, the Provost has approved a residency exception for Fall 2020. For students who opt to enroll part-time for Fall 2020, their degree length will not be extended solely for the purposes of fulfilling residency. Students will still need to complete all other requirements of the degree. Institute Degree and Certificate Requirements: Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).


CalArts’ School of Art requires that all new, incoming students be enrolled as full-time students. The one exception is the Art & Technology Program. Continuing Art students will be considered for part-time enrollment.

New students

The Character Animation program does not grant deferrals. Additionally, if an incoming BFA1 student accepted for Fall 2020 chooses to withdraw from the program and reapply for Fall of 2021, they will not be guaranteed a spot in the next class, and will lose their current financial aid package. The Character Animation Pprogram and the Office of Admissions understand how rigorous the application process is, and will allow any student who has been accepted for Fall 2020 and withdraws after deposit a streamlined application for Fall 2021. You will only be required to submit an application, current unofficial transcripts for credit evaluation, and a new sketchbook, documented on video. We are waiving all other requirements, including the application fee. We will be providing instructions on how to document your sketchbook with our updated portfolio requirements in August. We are updating our requirements specifically to promote social distancing in response to the pandemic.

Continuing Students (Leaves of Absence)
The Character Animation Program adheres to the CalArts leave of absence policy. The program grants leave of absences for one academic year. It is generally not possible to take a leave of absence for one semester, due to the sequential nature of the coursework and other factors.

We have assembled the latest guidance for international students. Please visit: https://calarts.edu/educational-continuity/resources-for-students/international-students

If you would like to have your institutional scholarship reconsidered, you may fill out a need-based tuition grant appeal at this form. If you are experiencing financial hardship that is not reflected on your FAFSA (such as recent job loss, for example), you may request a special circumstances appeal by contacting the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@calarts.edu.

Online classes will mix live sessions with faculty and asynchronous sessions (done at your own time). Faculty understand that due to location and time zone differences, some students may need more asynchronous content. They are evaluating their course content and will work with the students enrolled to provide the best educational delivery for their teaching.

Mentors will continue to meet regularly with students, but most likely these meetings will take place by Zoom or other video conferencing software. Some faculty will meet via pre-arranged appointments, while others will hold open office hours. 

Mentors are typically assigned at the end of summer or in the first month of the semester. New students typically meet with their mentors during New Student Orientation, and returning students typically meet with their mentors during Course Advising Day or at other mentoring events coordinated by their school or program. Both of these events will happen online for Fall 2020.

Although CalArts is not able to provide computers or other equipment to international students studying remotely, there are software resources and technical support available to students through the CalArts Office of Information Technology and individual schools.

All programs have online courses, but not necessarily for a full course load. Programs are open to working indivdually with students to accommodate their needs as much as possible. All courses will have a remote contingency plan.

To bolster access to key equipment while facilities are closed, a number of our schools have developed metier-based technology and tool kits. Each technology kit has been developed with the specific needs of a metier in mind; the schools offering these kits will be sending out information to their students about how these kits may be secured, whether through contactless curbside pickup for local students, domestic shipping, or via reimbursement for non-domestic students. 

Adobe Creative Cloud will be available to full, part-time and international students

We are offering a laptop loan program available to all full-time students in the continental U.S. through our Information Technology Department and Library. A deposit will be required. Unfortunately, we cannot ship internationally. 

Class Schedules and Registration

CalArts classes begin on Sept. 14, 2020. The official start and end dates of the semester, as well as add/drop deadlines, are all available on the 2020-2021 academic calendar.

The fall class schedule will be posted online beginning Monday, Aug. 3. 

Class signup will happen in three phases. First, many students will be pre-enrolled into some or all of their required fall courses. Then, online class signup will open on Tuesday, August 11 for any students who wish to sign up for additional and required and elective courses. Students will have further opportunity to add courses that require permission from the faculty during Course Advising Day on Thursday, September 10. All course adding and dropping will be done online, including courses that require school or faculty approval, independent studies, music lessons, and internships. Please visit the Office of the Registrar’s Class Signup page for more details.

Course Advising Day will occur completely online this year. Faculty will use Zoom to meet with students interested in signing up for their courses, and they will also be able to grant permission to sign up electronically. Academic Advising, the Registrar’s Office, and other student service offices will also be available to consult with by phone, email, and Zoom meeting.