Student Accounts FAQ

As of March 23, 2020

Many students and families have questions about their accounts at CalArts. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions.


How much is my partial tuition refund if I continue with remote instruction?

Partial tuition refunds only apply to those who withdraw or take a leave of absence from the Institute by 5 pm on Friday, March 27, 2020. No other tuition refunds will be provided. CalArts will be continuing education through remote instruction and will explore solutions for other needs (e.g. equipment check-out, facility use, rescheduled events (showcases, etc.) when it is safe to do so. It is our aim to ensure you continue your progress towards your degrees as best as possible given our restrictions, and to do our best to provide that which is impossible now at a later time. 

What is the deadline to receive a partial refund upon withdrawal or leave of absence? 

We understand that this may be an incredibly difficult time for you and your family and you are weighing your financial options including potentially taking a leave or withdrawing from CalArts.  

To give you time to carefully consider your options, the deadline to notify the Institute of your intent to withdraw or request a leave of absence and potentially receive a partial refund has been extended to Friday, March 27, 2020, at 5 pm. If a request is received between March 22 and March 27 the refund or balance due will be the same. 

How much will my refund be if I take a leave of absence?

The potential refund amount can vary depending on the financial aid package and payment balance. In some cases there may be a balance due back to the school, and there may have been debt incurred for a partial semester with no academic credit earned. If you choose to take a leave of absence, you will not receive credit for the work you have completed to-date during the Spring semester. We encourage students to continue with their education through remote instruction if at all possible, as continued student success and graduation are of the utmost importance to us. 

Please contact Student Accounts via accounting@calarts.edu to request specific amounts for your individual situation.

We understand that this is a personal choice, but it is important that you are fully aware of the time and financial implications of this decision. Please contact your Dean, the Provost’s Office or Academic Advising Office to help weigh your options.

How much will my refund be if I withdraw from the Institute?

The potential refund amount can vary depending on the financial aid package and payment balance. In some cases there may be a balance due back to the school, and there may have been debt incurred for a partial semester with no academic credit earned. If you choose to withdraw or take a leave of absence, you will not receive credit for the work you have completed to-date during the Spring semester and you will be required to reapply to CalArts. We encourage students to continue with their education through our remote instruction that began on March 23, as student success and graduation are of the utmost importance to us.

 Please contact accounting via accounting@calarts.edu to request specific amounts for your individual situation.

We understand that this is a personal choice, but it is important that you are fully aware of the time to degree and financial implications of this decision. Please contact your Dean, the Provost’s Office or Academic Advising Office to help weigh your options. 

How many units will I lose if I withdraw or take a leave of absence?

If you choose to withdraw or take a leave of absence, you will not receive credit for the work you have completed to-date during the Spring 2020 semester. We encourage students to continue with their education through our remote instruction if at all possible that began on March 23, as continued student success and graduation are of the utmost importance to us.  

If I take a leave of absence, will I need to re-apply to CalArts?

No, however leaves of absence must be approved. Financial aid information (FAFSA, etc.) will need to be re-submitted as part of the return process. 

If I withdraw from the Institute, will I need to-apply to CalArts

Yes. Re-admission cannot be guaranteed, and scholarships will be re-evaluated as part of the process. 

I am on a payment plan and was not able to make my payment by the March 10 deadline, and need some extra time because of extenuating circumstances

Due to these unprecedented and extenuating times, we understand that some students and their families may have had difficulty meeting the March 10 deadline. To help, we have extended this deadline to Friday, April 10, 2020. 

If I take a leave of absence, how will this affect my financial aid for 2020-2021?

A leave of absence by itself should not affect your financial aid for 2020-2021 as long as you are making academic progress. Please read the complete SAP policy at Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility. You will need to fill out updated financial information (FAFSA, etc.), as is part of the usual annual financial aid process.

If I withdraw or take a leave of absence, how will that affect my financial aid for this year?

Federal and state financial aid will not be affected if you withdraw or take a leave of absence after the Return of Title IV funds deadline, which has now passed. 

If I withdraw and incur debt for the semester, when do I have to start repaying my loans? 

The principal amount of your federal loan repayment begins six months after you do one of three things: cease attending school; drop below half-time; or graduate. Please contact your loan servicer directly for more details.

I lived or am still living in the dorm. Will I be getting a refund for room and board?

Returning students may receive a credit on room and board that can be applied to the Fall 2020 tuition, room, and board bill. If you are graduating or not returning to CalArts you may be eligible for a refund after your account is settled.

Housing Credits

  • If you move out by April 3, 2020, once your room has been verified as vacant, your housing credit will be issued.
  • 35% of your spring housing contract and meal plan will be credited to your tuition, room, and board bill (which can be used for the next academic year) in light of these special circumstances.
  • Charges, fines, or loss of housing deposit will still apply if keys are not returned, damage has occurred, or trash has been left behind.

Please refer to the email dated March 19, 2020, titled “CalArts Residential Update” from Brian Harlan, vice president, Student Experience for further details. More information and logistical arrangements can be made by contacting residencelife@calarts.edu. 

I live off campus and have a meal plan. Will I be getting a refund? 

Unless other circumstances prevent us from doing so (e.g. a “shelter-in-place” order), we plan to continue off-campus box lunch pickup, through the end of Spring Break, Friday, April 3, 2020. If you still require a box lunch pickup, please contact cafe@calarts.edu.

We will automatically process a 35% meal plan credit that will be credited to your tuition, room, and board bill for the next academic year in light of these special circumstances. If you do not return to CalArts for the 2020-2021 academic year, you may be eligible for a refund after your account is settled. 

If I have a Flex balance, can this be carried forward to Fall semester?

Yes, commuter flex automatically rolls forward to the next semester. However, flex that is included in your meal plan does not roll forward and would be included in any meal plan credit issued to you. 

I have paid for student health insurance. If I withdraw or take a leave of absence, will I still be covered for the remainder of the semester?

Yes, if you have purchased medical  insurance through CalArts, you will be covered through August 2020. If you have more questions about this, please visit the Insurance Provider webpage for CalArts.