For Undergraduate Students

Grants & Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are types of financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and talent, grants are typically need-based. Eligibility for need-based grants is based on financial need- typically determined by the FAFSA or another application.  

When looking to fund their education, students should first seek aid that does not require repayment, such as grants and scholarships.  

Institutional scholarships are designed to make a CalArts education more affordable by providing funds that do not need to be repaid. CalArts offers different institutional scholarships for BFA students such as the Merit Scholarship and Access Grant, these awards are determined at the time of admission by faculty based on the portfolios and auditions presented by students during the admission process. CalArts also offers a need-based institutional grant, called the Equity Grant. 

The Federal Pell Grant is available to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. To apply, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. For 2024-25 students may receive up to $7,395 for the academic year.

The FSEOG is available to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. Eligibility is based on the information provided on the FAFSA. Eligible students receive $2,000 per year.

The Cal Grant is money for college that does not have to be repaid. Eligibility for the Cal Grant is determined by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) based on your FAFSA or CADAA responses, the type of qualifying California college you attend, verified Cal Grant GPA, and whether you are a recent California high school graduate.

If you are a California Resident, visit WebGrants4Students to check on the status of your Cal Grant application.

Federal Work Study and Direct Loans

Students may also be able to work on-campus and borrow federal loans to help cover the cost of their education. See the sections below for more information on these options.

For undergraduate students with federal loan eligibility, it is highly recommended that students accept a subsidized loan, if eligible, before other types of loan.

Eligible students may see a Federal Work Study award on their financial aid offer. Federal Work Study is a federally funded program that assists students with earning income through part-time employment on or off-campus. Visit our website to learn more about the federal work study program at CalArts. A Federal Work Study award is not a guarentee of employment, but a notification of eligibility of what you can earn up to under this work program if you apply for and work a Federal Work Study job.

Students who do not qualify for federal work study may still have options to work on campus. Students who are eligible to work in the United States can look for non-federal work study jobs on our job portal, Compass. Please see our Student Employment site for more information on searching for jobs and working on campus. 

Federal 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.  

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students who completed a FAFSA for this academic year, regardless of financial need. This loan accrues interest from the time of disbursement. The amount awarded in Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct loans is based on your grade level and cannot be increased; however for students who need additional funding, parents can consider applying for a Parent PLUS Loan, and students and/or parents can consider applying for a Private Education Loan (see below in "Other Financing Options" for more information).

For more information on eligibility, interest rates, repayment and how to apply, please see our website.

Other Financing Options

CalArts understands that financial aid does not always cover all the charges that a student has for a particular academic year. Below are options to help you find ways to cover your balance.

CalArts offers an option to pay your direct charges over the course of a few months. Students can enroll in a monthly payment plan and their payments will be automatically withdrawn each month. To learn more about monthly payment plans and the dates to enroll by, please see the bottom of the page on this link.

Receipt of this loan is contingent on the approval of a Federal Parent Plus Loan application, which includes a credit check. The federal credit check process will check for adverse credit history, if a parent is denied they have a few options - parents can appeal the decision with the Department of Education, the parent borrower can also add an endorser (co-signer) to their loan. Plus Loans can be borrowed for up to the cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid the student is receiving. Plus loans must be repaid by the parent borrower.  More information about eligibility, interest rates, repayment and how to apply for Parent PLUS Loans can be viewed here

Students can also apply for a private student loan to help cover their balance. Contingent upon application approval from a bank, credit union or higher education lender, students can apply for loans up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student is receiving. For more information on this type of loan and to view common lenders who our students have borrowed with in the past please click here.

Scholarships are available from many sources including high schools, places of worship, civic groups, and employers. We recommend that you check with your high school guidance counselor, the reference section of your library, and organizations in your hometown. One of the best ways to find scholarships to apply for is by using a scholarship search engine. We recommend using one of the search engines listed at the top of this link.

Receipt of outside scholarships could affect your eligibility for certain aid types and cannot exceed the total cost of attendance in a given academic year.