Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid. Federal and state government grants based on financial need are common and CalArts also has financial assistance opportunities that are based on merit and need.


CalArts’ institutionally-funded scholarships and grants are aimed at increasing equity in CalArts classrooms and ensuring a diversity of voices have access to a CalArts education. Below is a brief description of how we award financial aid.

Merit Scholarships

Merit Scholarships are the first component of the CalArts financial aid package.

All admitted students are considered for Merit Scholarships based on the admissions portfolio or audition. These scholarships are limited and very competitive, going only to the top 30% of the incoming class.  

Faculty identify merit recipients through a holistic approach, taking into consideration the following criteria:

  • The student demonstrates outstanding academic and artistic potential.
  • The work is imbued with a strong personal aesthetic and sense of originality.
  • The award supports a diversity of voices and a diversity of practices, in alignment with CalArts’ focus on experimentation, diversity, and interdisciplinarity.
  • The award ensures balance and representation within each program and throughout the school.
  • The student’s prior academic and artistic achievement, and evaluation of each student’s placement within their group of peers.

CalArts Merit Scholarships are awarded in the amount of $10,000 per year. Students who receive Merit Scholarships in their first year of enrollment retain the annual scholarship each year of their degree program.

Equity Grants

Domestic students with financial need who submit the FAFSA by the priority deadline will be reviewed for eligibility to receive Equity Grants. These awards are intended to reduce the size of the gap between each student’s available resources and the total cost of attendance.

Please note: There are some scenarios through which your Equity Grant may be adjusted after you receive your initial award letter, such as the addition of a CalGrant award, a private scholarship, or a change in your Estimated Family Contribution.

Access Grants

CalArts will award a limited number of Access Grants to ensure a diversity of voices throughout the incoming class. All domestic and international students may be considered for Access Grants, which vary in amounts and eligibility, and are awarded at the discretion of each school. A FAFSA or Dream Act Application is not required to be considered for Access Grants, but is strongly recommended for domestic students.

Access Grants are determined using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated financial need not adequately addressed through the Equity Grants.
  • Exceptional merit demonstrated by students in highly competitive fields of study.
  • Further support of diverse voices and artistic practices within specific student cohorts.
  • Ensure balance across programs in each school and support yield of admitted students.
     

Many CalArts scholarships are donated by individuals, organizations, or foundations and carry the donor or organization’s name. Selection of the recipient is dependent upon the donor(s) requirements.

Here is a selection of scholarships currently available to students at CalArts. View or download a full list of all current scholarships here.  

  • qey’s (Dream) Scholarship for Indigenous Artists - This scholarship provides full cost of tuition for an undergraduate or graduate student from an Indigenous community or nation, with preference given to a member of the Hopi Tribe. It is designed to provide full support of tuition expenses for the student throughout their tenure at CalArts. All Native American/Indigenous students are encouraged to apply.
  • ​​Beutner Family Community Arts Partnership Award - This annually funded scholarship supports CalArts students who participated in the Community Arts Partnership program.
  • Feature Music Scholarship and Feature Arts Scholarship - These scholarships are awarded to a BFA4 in the Herb Alpert School of Music or the School of Art who self-identifies as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).
  • The Mercedes and Gabriel García Márquez Scholarship Fund - This annually funded scholarship supports undergraduate students of Mexican or Latino heritage.
  • Roy O. Disney Scholarship - supports the cost of attendance for a maximum of four years for up to four undergraduate students, with a preference given to students who participated in the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) program or a similar educational outreach program for the same or similar target population that CAP currently serves..
  • The Michael Eisner Scholarship Fund - This scholarship supports former participants in the Community Arts Partnership program, with priority given to students studying animation, film/video, and other forms of digital and media arts.

View the full list of scholarships.

Please note that scholarship recipients at CalArts are chosen by the faculty and administration within each school.


Federal Grant award amounts are contingent upon sufficient funding by the federal government and are subject to change.

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. A Pell Grant does not have to be repaid. The amount of the award is based on the EFC (expected family contribution) from the FAFSA results and is prorated if enrolled less than full-time each semester. The maximum award for the 2020-21 academic year is $6,345. The EFC must be lower than 5711 to be eligible as a full-time student. Please view/download the following chart for the 2020-21 academic year for a breakdown based upon enrollment and the EFC. Eligibility is limited to 12 full-time semesters (or the equivalent). 

Effective summer 2018, students who have received a full-time Pell Grant for the fall and spring terms and are enrolled at least half-time for the summer term may have additional Pell Grant eligibility. For additional information on the Federal Pell Grant, please click here to be directed to the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal SEOG

FSEOG is awarded to students that have exceptional financial need and have also been awarded a Federal Pell Grant. FSEOG does not have to be repaid. Funding is limited and priority consideration is given to students with a zero Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). The maximum award is $1,000 per academic year. For additional information on FSEOG, please click here to be directed to the U.S. Department of Education.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG)

The IASG is for students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11.  Must have been less than 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time at an institution of higher education at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death. Must be ineligible for a Federal Pell Grant based on expected family contribution (EFC), but meet the remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements. For award amounts and additional information on the IASG, please click here to be directed to the U.S. Department of Education.


The Cal Grant is money for college that does not have to be repaid. To be considered, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the deadline (March 2nd) and meet all financial criteria and eligibility requirements discussed below, which includes a minimum GPA requirement. Cal Grants can be used at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California.

Your eligibility will be determined by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) based on your FAFSA or CADAA responses, type(s) of qualifying California college(s) listed, verified Cal Grant GPA, and whether you are a recent California high school graduate. For the complete listing of all eligibility requirements, please visit https://www.csac.ca.gov/cal-grants.

Eligibility Requirements

Basic Eligibility Requirements for All Cal Grant Programs

  • Submit the FAFSA or CADAA application and your verified Cal Grant GPA by March 2.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria.
  • Be a California resident for 1 year.
  • Attend a qualifying California college.
  • Not have a bachelor’s or professional degree.
  • Have financial need at the college of your choice.
  • Have family income and assets below the minimum levels (see table below).
  • Be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate.
  • Be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half time.
  • Have registered with the U.S. Selective Service, if required to do so.
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal grant or be in default on a student loan.
  • Not be incarcerated.
  • Maintain the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards as established by the school. Recipients who do not meet the standards are ineligible for Cal Grant payment and will not use eligibility during the terms they are ineligible for payment. 

Types of Cal Grants

Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards

Entitlement awards are available to graduating seniors, prior year graduates, and students who transfer directly from a California community college to a 4-year university and are under age 28 by December 31 of the award year.  Entitlement awards are guaranteed for students who meet financial and merit requirements:

  • Graduating high school seniors and prior year high school graduates must have a verified high school GPA minimum of 3.0 for Cal Grant A
  • Graduating high school seniors and prior year high school graduates must have a verified high school GPA minimum of 2.0 for Cal Grant B
  • Students who transfer directly from a California community college to a 4-year university and are under age 28 by December 31 of the award year must have a verified community college GPA minimum of 2.4 for Cal Grant A or B
  • For any student to receive a Cal Grant A or B, total family income or family assets must not exceed the ceilings outlined below:

Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards

Students who are not eligible for Cal Grant Entitlement awards can be considered for Cal Grant Competitive awards.  This is a competitive award and limited to 41,000 awards each academic year.  To be considered for a Competitive Award, students must:

  • Meet all basic Cal Grant eligibility requirements.
  • Meet GPA verification minimum requirements.
  • Be under the income and asset ceilings.

Outside scholarships are awarded to a student’s financial aid award upon receipt of the scholarship check from the donor. Once funds are received by CalArts, they will be disbursed to your student account according to our disbursement schedule. If you have received or are expecting to receive an outside scholarship, please notify the Financial Aid Office, as they are required to document this information accordingly and make any necessary adjustments to your financial aid per federal guidelines. 

General Scholarships

Art Scholarships

Dance Scholarships

Film/Video Scholarships

Music Scholarships

Theater Scholarships

Scholarship Search Engines