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.
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.