CalArts Returns: Endowment Scholarship Opportunities

This message was sent to all CalArts students about additional funds to be allocated toward need-based scholarships.

Dear Students,

On July 28, 2020, the CalArts Board of Trustees approved a resolution to increase endowment spending due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the additional funds to be allocated toward need-based scholarships, and with a specific focus on expanding the Institute’s commitment to representational diversity among our students. The resolution states, “The funds shall be used to support students in need, with a preference for students with a diverse background who are underrepresented within the Institute.”

This increased one-time draw from the endowment represents a significant and immediate infusion of new scholarship funds into the CalArts community - $3.3 million for the coming academic year, as well as increased endowment spending in future years to ensure ongoing commitment to providing support to students with significant financial need who are currently underrepresented within our community.

These new scholarships will be allocated according to the following priorities:

  1. Provide supplemental need-based grants to underrepresented minority students with moderate to high unmet need.
  2. Provide supplemental need-based grants to all other domestic students in the highest range of unmet need.
  3. Provide additional funding for need-based tuition grant appeals, a process that is open to all enrolled students, including international students.
  4. Provide limited retention funds for each school, to be allocated in direct proportion to the percent of underrepresented minority students enrolled in their programs.

All students who enroll for the Fall 2020 academic year will be considered for these additional scholarship funds, including newly entering students, and students returning from leave of absence, as long as funds are available.

Under priorities #1 and #2 above, CalArts will meet the cost of tuition, after the EFC and all other federal, state, and institutional aid is applied, for domestic students who have completed a FAFSA, and who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Underrepresented minority students who are on track to graduate this year, and who have unmet need of $25,000 or greater
  • Continuing students who identify as Black/African American or as Native American/Native Alaskan, and who have unmet need of $25,000 or greater
  • All other continuing underrepresented minority students who have unmet need of $35,000 or greater
  • Students not identifying as underrepresented minority, who are on track to graduate this year, and who have unmet need of $40,000 or greater
  • All other students with unmet need of $50,000 or greater

These need levels and correlated eligibility were determined through close review of the financial need of our entire student population, weighed against the funding available for these scholarships and the stated intent of the Board in making these funds available. Based on this analysis, we anticipate that 15%-20% of our student body will receive funding through this model.

These awards will be made automatically to all students who qualify. No application is necessary.

Students who do not fall into any of the criteria detailed above may pursue additional need-based funding through priorities #3 and #4:

  • All enrolled students with financial need may submit an appeal for a Need-Based Tuition Grant by filling out this form. International students must also complete the CSS profile in order to be considered. These awards are allocated anonymously according to a rubric that takes into account each student’s demonstrated financial need and current institutional scholarship, with priority given to students closer to degree completion.
  • Students may also discuss their scholarship requests with their school’s Financial Aid Liaison, who will then recommend students for increased awards out of their school retention funds. These funds are limited, and are intended to support students who may fall outside of the criteria listed above, or who may need support above and beyond other awards they are eligible to receive.

Students who wish to be considered for additional funds under the need-based appeal grant or the school retention funds should submit these requests through the online form and/or by email to their Financial Aid Liaison by Monday, August 10 at 5pm Pacific Time to ensure priority consideration. Requests received after this date will be fulfilled so long as funds are available. 

We will make every effort to respond to all requests and process all new awards ahead of next week’s payment deadline. All students who are selected for a need-based grant, either automatically or through submission of an appeal form, will be notified by email to their student accounts.

More details regarding these scholarship funds and eligibility criteria can be found on the student financial resources webpage, including definitions of the terminology used as part of the criteria.

If you have any questions about these scholarship opportunities or your enrollment this fall, please email us at, or feel free to reach out directly to the individual offices listed below.


Anna Jablonski
Assistant Vice President of Enrollment
and Associate Provost for Student Success