Scholarships for Graduate (MFA, MA, and DMA) Students

CalArts understands that the cost of funding a graduate degree is a concern for many students. Please read below to understand the range of options available to you to help cover the expense of continuing your education.

CalArts Institutional Scholarship Methodology 

CalArts offers a range of financial aid options including institutional, federal and private funding sources. CalArts’ institutionally-funded scholarships 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 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.   The size of these scholarships will vary depending on the school and program you have been admitted to. In some programs, your Merit Scholarship may also be supplemented through teaching assistantships, work stipends, or other forms of campus employment.

Need-Based Aid

There are no CalGrants, Pell Grants, or other state or federal assistance grants offered to graduate students through the State of California or the Department of Education.  For domestic students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may qualify you to receive a Federal Work Study allocation, and is also required if you plan to take out a Federal Unsubsidized Loan. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To apply, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and use CalArts’ School Code 001132.


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.  

  • Charles Gaines Fellowship for MFA Art Students - This fellowship covers the full cost of tuition for MFA Art students with financial need, with primary preference given to students who self-identify as Black or being from the African diaspora. Secondary preference for the fellowship is given to students from Mexican or Central American descent. 
  • 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.

View the full list of scholarships.

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


The CalArts Financial Aid Office may reach out to you by email if we need additional documentation or information in order to accurately process your financial aid award. Check your email regularly and respond promptly to ensure we finalize your complete award package in a timely manner.

Once your financial aid package has been finalized, we will send you notification by email that your award is ready to view. At that time you will be able to log into your self-service page to see all of the components of your educational funding options. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions about your financial aid package, or would like to discuss other possible options for funding your education. The best way to reach the office is by email, at finaid@calarts.edu.


After you have received your award letter, if you would like to be considered for additional need-based scholarships from CalArts, please complete our New Student Scholarship Appeal Form. Because this is a need-based appeal, only students who have completed the FAFSA ( domestic students) or the CSS Profile (international students) will be considered.


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