Financial Aid Guide for New Students

We believe finances should not be a barrier to investing in your future, and we're committed to making your education as affordable as possible. CalArts offers a full range of scholarships, financial aid and financing options to families of all income levels.

Read this guide to understand financial aid process and learn what you need to do.

Please be advised that our method of communicating with students is through email. Make sure to frequently check your email in order to receive important information in a timely manner, including any changes made to your Financial Aid Award.

For U.S. Citizens & Eligible Non-Citizens

The FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process. Use it to apply for federal student financial aid, such as grants and loans. Students must file a new FAFSA each academic year.

Apply by April 1 for priority status.

Complete your FAFSA at Please be sure to include CalArts' school code (001132).

You can view more information on completing the FAFSA, including an instructional video, at  

To view your financial aid offer, please follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Financial Aid Self-Service through your CalArts SSO account
  2. From the Checklist select "Review and accept your Financial Aid Award Package".
  3. For each award listed as Estimated, you must "Accept" or "Decline" from the drop down link.  Accepted loans require additional steps, please see below for instructions. 
  4. Choose 'Offer Letter' to view and print your accepted Financial Aid Award package.

We understand that financial aid can be confusing, to help make understanding your financial aid offer easier and to view your next steps, please see our Understanding Your Offer supplement. 

When a student completes a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the FAFSA may get selected for verification, which means the Federal Government wants the Office of Financial Aid to “verify” that the information provided on the FAFSA matches the student's (and spouse's, if applicable) and/or parents’ actual data on tax returns and other documents.

Students who are selected for Verification will be notified on their FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) and will receive a letter from CalArts. If you receive a letter, federal regulation requires you to submit the requested documents to the Financial Aid Office before your award can be disbursed.

Please submit documents using the Missing Documents Upload Form, do not them email directly to financial aid office.

Verification documents must be submitted within 30 days of receiving the letter. Failure to submit the requested documentation within 30 days will result in a delay of receiving your financial aid awards.

You can check online to see if you have any outstanding documents that are missing through Financial Aid Self Service by logging into your CalArts SSO account.

Please contact our office at 661-253-7869 or 800-443-0480 or by email at with any questions.

Understand your total costs, the financial aid offered to help cover those costs, and any remaining balance due to CalArts after your aid is applied.

Click here to start estimating your balance.

Below are additional options to help pay your balance. 

1. Enroll in the Monthly Payment Plan

By enrolling in the Monthly Payment Plan, you divide the balance owed each semester into smaller installments that you pay over time. There is an enrollment fee for the program, but you are not charged interest on your balance. For more information, contact the Student Accounts/Business Office.

2. Outside Scholarships

Outside Scholarships are a great resource to help you pay your balance. Check with your high school, congregation, your parent(s)’ employer(s), community organizations, and online for scholarship opportunities. A word of caution, if it costs you money to search or apply, it is probably not a legitimate opportunity. Most scholarships are for one year so students should continue to do this throughout each year of attendance at CalArts. CalArts posts various scholarship opportunities throughout the year.

For U.S. Students  For International Students

3. Additional Loan Options

Parent PLUS Loans

Parents of dependent undergraduate students, who complete a FAFSA for the academic year can apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan to help brige the gap between the cost of attending CalArts and the financial aid the student is currently receiving. To learn more about eligibility, interest rates, repayment and the application process please see this link. Dependent Undergraduate students will have a Parent PLUS loan listed on their financial aid award letter, the amount listed is not the maximum that can be borrowed, parents can request up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student is receiving during the application process. 

Graduate PLUS Loans

Graduate students are eligible to apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan. Receipt of this loan is contingent on the approval of a Federal Graduate Plus Loan application, which includes a credit check. The federal credit check process will check for adverse credit history, if a student is denied they have a few options - students can appeal the decision with the Department of Education, the student 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 student borrower. More information about eligibility, interest rates, repayment and how to apply for Parent PLUS Loans can be viewed here

Private Education Loans

Students may apply for an Alternative/Private Education Loan to assist in paying the balance owed to CalArts. This is a credit-based loan and we encourage students to have a co-signer to reduce the variable interest rate. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Please contact our office at 661-253-7869 or 800-443-0480 or by email at with any questions.

Tuition statements will become available in early to mid-July. Please note that settlement of your account is payment of the balance due. Your balance due can be found on your tuition statement and payment can be by either direct full payment (cash, check, credit card, loan etc.) or enrollment and up-to-date payments in a payment plan. For more information on your payment options go to the payment options page.