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.


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

Federal Pell Grant

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. Pell Grants are prorated based upon the numbers of credits a student is enrolled in for the semester.

Federal SEOG

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is awarded to students that have exceptional financial need. Federal SEOG does not have to be repaid and is awarded based on eligibility until all available funds have been depleted. Priority is given to students with a zero Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).


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. With this type of aid, students will need to find employment in order to receive this award. To electronically 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.

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.


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.

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. 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.

*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.