Most domestic students receive financial aid from a variety of sources, which may include federal, state, private and institutional funds.


Institutional Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to students holistically based on both need and merit in consultation with academic Deans and faculty. All scholarships are tuition–only awards, credited to your CalArts student account in equal disbursements each semester.

Endowed & Annually Funded Scholarships

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.

Scholarships at CalArts

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 for the student throughout their tenure at CalArts. All Native American/Indigenous students are encouraged to apply.
  • 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.
  • ​​Beutner Family Community Arts Partnership Award - This annually funded scholarship supports CalArts students who participated in the Community Arts Partnership program.
  • 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 qualify, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the deadline (typically 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.

There are three types of Cal Grant — A, B and C — but you are not required to decipher which of these types to apply for. 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.

Federal Work Study is a federally funded program that assists students with earning income through part-time employment on or off-campus. A FAFSA must be completed to be considered for FWS. Students will need to find employment and work in order to receive funds. To accept your Federal Work Study award, sign into your CalArts Hub Self-Service portal. Prior to the start of the semester, additional instructions will be sent to you, via email, regarding the placement process and all pertinent hiring deadlines.

Award amounts do vary, but are typically $3,000 for the academic year. A student may earn up to the maximum amount, per semester, indicated on their award. Use the following equation to determine the number of hours per week you can work without going over your eligibility:

Amount Offered / Hourly wage = Total number of hours
Total hours / Number of earning weeks = Number of hours per week

Students earn at least minimum wage and sometimes more based upon the job. Students are paid bi-monthly for the hours worked. Earnings are not applied directly to your bill.

Students are encouraged to consider employers involved with community service and the America Reads Program. For additional information on Federal Work-Study click here to be directed to the Department of Education website.

Students who do NOT have a Federal Work Study award may also find jobs on-campus. Visit the CalArts' job board for all student job postings at CalArts


Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Loans

A student needs to complete and submit the appropriate year FAFSA to receive consideration for Federal Direct Loans. 

Direct Subsidized Loans

Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Subsidized Loan:

  • while a student is enrolled at least half-time
  • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as grace period)
  • during a period of deferment (postponement of loan payments)

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. The student is responsible for paying the interest on the Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. If a student chooses not to pay the interest while enrolled in school and during grace and/or deferment periods, the interest will accrue and be capitalized (added to the principal loan amount).

2020-2021 Federal Direct Loan Interest Rates

The 2020-21 interest rates for Federal Direct Loans disbursed between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, are as follows:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduate students: 2.75 percent fixed for the life of the loan.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate students: 4.30 percent fixed for the life of the loan.

Annual and Aggregate Loan limits

There are annual and aggregate loan limits for students based upon their degree and class level as detailed at the Department of Education Website. For an estimate of your monthly loan payments after you graduate, take a look at the Department of Education’s loan simulator.


Parents of dependent students, as defined by the federal government, are eligible to apply for the Parent PLUS Loan to assist their students’ educational needs. Students must complete the appropriate year FAFSA. Eligibility for this loan will be based on a credit check performed by the Department of Education upon submission of the Parent PLUS Loan application.

To apply for the Parent PLUS Loan, visit https://studentloans.gov. The application opens on/after April 1st for each upcoming academic year. Parents must use their own FSA ID to log in to the loan application.

Once the Financial Aid Office receives the application from the Department of Education, we will update the financial aid award to reflect the approved/requested Parent PLUS Loan amount.

Parent borrowers must complete a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) before loan(s) will be processed and disbursed. Complete this step online at https://studentloans.gov. All loans must be processed and disbursed prior to the end of each academic semester.

In the event that a Parent PLUS Loan is denied, the student is eligible for increased Unsubsidized Loan.

In the event that an endorser (co-signer) is required for loan approval, the parent will be required to complete mandatory PLUS Loan Credit Counseling.

Additional information on Federal Direct PLUS Loans can be found at the U.S. Department of Education website.

*Important Note for all PLUS Loan Borrowers - There is a question on the PLUS Loan application that asks whether you wish to defer loan payments while you/your student is enrolled in school. If you wish to defer loan payments, you MUST answer this question accordingly.

2020-2021 Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Interest Rate

The 2020-21 interest rate for Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans disbursed between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, is 5.30 percent fixed.


Graduate students are eligible to apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan to assist with their educational needs. Eligibility for this loan will be based on a credit check performed by the Department of Education upon receipt of the Graduate PLUS Loan application.

To apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan, visit https://studentloans.gov. The application opens on/after April 1st for each upcoming academic year. Students must use their own FSA ID to log in to the loan application.

Graduate borrowers must complete a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) before loan(s) will be processed and disbursed. Complete this step online at https://studentloans.gov. All loans must be processed and disbursed prior to the end of each academic semester.

Once the Financial Aid Office receives the application from the Department of Education, we will update the financial aid award to reflect the approved/requested Graduate PLUS Loan amount.

In the event that an endorser (co-signer) is required for loan approval, you will be required to complete mandatory PLUS Loan Credit Counseling.

*Important Note for all PLUS Loan Borrowers- There is a question on the PLUS Loan application that asks whether you wish to defer loan payments while you/your student is enrolled in school. If you wish to defer loan payments, you MUST answer this question accordingly.

2020-2021 Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Interest Rate

The 2020-21 interest rate for Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans Loans disbursed between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, is 5.30 percent fixed.