Coming to CalArts


Every year, students from all over the world apply to CalArts. The Institute offers special international student services to ease your transition to university life in the United States. Currently, international students comprise approximately 16 percent of the student body at CalArts, with about 48 countries represented.

Please visit Admissions for more information about applying and receiving your I-20 and visa.

Financial Aid

International financial aid is available, but is very limited and highly competitive. Since International students are not eligible for federal or state financial assistance, the only type of financial aid available to international students is CalArts scholarship and CalArts work-study.

Visa and Immigration Regulations

As an International student at CalArts, your status will be governed by student visa regulations. For more information on student status and regulations please visit the Visa regulations page.


It is extremely important that you be prepared to meet the expenses which are detailed on the Declaration of Finances and Student Budget Summary. Please keep in mind that these charges are estimates only, and that your own personal needs and preferences may change the amounts considerably.

Planning Your Arrival/Getting Settled

The brochure contains helpful information about CalArts and the Valencia area.

International Student Handbook

Orientation/Student Services

The International Students and Programs Office holds an orientation session for all new international students each September. Topics covered include:

  • immigration/visa regulations
  • housing
  • buying a car
  • obtaining a driver’s license
  • registration procedures
  • employment regulations
  • transportation
  • social security numbers
  • setting up a bank account

You are asked to bring your passport, I-20 and I-94 arrival/departure record to this orientation session.

If, for some reason, you are unable to attend the initial orientation session, you should know that you are required to report to the International Students/Programs Office as soon as you arrive at CalArts. Bring your passport, I-20 and I-94 arrival/departure record at this time.

Arrival in the US and at CalArts

When you arrive in Los Angeles by air, you will be landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Taking a regular taxi from the airport is very expensive and is not recommended. Here are some more budget friendly transportation options:

  • Flyaway Bus Service
    The Flyaway bus stops every half-hour at most arrival platforms (lower level) at LAX, and is the least expensive option for reaching CalArts. The Flyaway bus will transport you to the Van Nuys Bus Terminal where you may take a taxi to CalArts.
  • Prime Time Shuttle (800.733.8267)
    This is a shared van service that will take you directly to CalArts with some possible stops along the way. This is a better option for those with heavier luggage.

If you are searching for local hotel accommodations, there are several hotels within 5 to 10 minutes of the CalArts campus.


We strongly recommend that all international students live on-campus for at least their first year at CalArts. Campus housing arrangements can be made by contacting the Housing Office.

For those considering off-campus housing options, important budgetary factors to consider include:

  • monthly rental charges
  • the cost of a car (limited availability of rental spaces within walking distance of CalArts)
  • monthly utility bills (electricity, water, natural gas and telephone service)
  • potential rental deposit
  • requirements to sign a 1-year lease agreement


The Registrar’s Office will send registration and payment instructions to your CalArts email. Please read this material very carefully, complete the online forms, and make payment as instructed. If you are not cleared by the Late Payment Period you will be charged a $200 late registration fee.

Tuition Payments and Transfer of Funds

All tuition and fees paid to CalArts must be in U.S. dollars. Tuition will be due at the time of registration. If you are expecting to receive funds from abroad while at CalArts, you should make sure that all necessary arrangements have been made for the transfer of these funds before you depart for the U.S. To determine what procedures are best for remitting funds to the U.S., you should consult a bank or official currency exchange authority in your home country. Delays in the arrival of dollar remittances from the home country cause considerable hardship and inconvenience to students.

If you choose to pay your tuition via electronic wire transfer, please be sure to include the following information:

  • California Institute of the Arts
    Your name (this is very important or we will not know who the payment is from):
    Bank of America - Woodland Hills Branch
    5945 Canoga Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367
    Acct.# 1465-0-01460
    ABA Routing #026-009-593
    Swift Code: BOFAUS3N

Health Forms and Insurance Care

Beginning Fall 2014, CalArts Health Insurance is required for all new international students. CalArts offers a plan provided by Anthem Blue Cross Life & Health that covers office visits, hospital inpatient and outpatient services, alternative services (e.g. chiropractic, acupuncture) and outpatient prescription drugs (available at any pharmacy). Student health insurance coverage is purchased through the school for a minimal fee. For more detailed information on Health Services at CalArts, insurance cost and coverage details, please visit the Health Insurance page.

English Placement Exam

All students for whom English is not a first language will be required to take a diagnostic test (English Placement Exam) in the summer prior to arrival to determine placement into Fundamental English for Artists (FEA) or Supplemental English for Artists (SEA). Fundamental English for Artists focuses on:

  • grammar
  • vocabulary building
  • speaking
  • reading
  • listening comprehension

Supplemental English for Artists is a more advanced class designed for English Language Learners who need to fine tune their speaking and writing ability. Only the instructors of these two classes can waive the requirement to take these classes. Having studied at an English Speaking school, or achieved a high score on the TOEFL/IELTS does not make you exempt from taking the English Placement Exam, or from enrolling in FEA or SEA.