CalArts Returns - Important Fall 2020 Academic Updates

This message was sent to students with additional details about registration, part-time enrollment, and technology access.

Dear CalArtians,

Did you know that a key characteristic of creative people is their tolerance for ambiguity and ability to work within uncertainty? Well, we have certainly been practicing this aptitude at CalArts as we constantly navigate the changing situation due to the global pandemic. But this is what we do as creative people, and we are looking forward to having you join us in this endeavor this fall.

Perhaps you’ve seen the videos by our faculty and Deans describing how they have captured the experimental spirit that is integral to the CalArts pedagogy in order to develop courses for the fall that will help to prepare you for the changing practices in the arts.  Ours will remain a uniquely CalArtian semester – imagined, designed and guided by the same creative agency always at our core.

And, while we’d rather work and grow with one another in person, keeping everyone safe is our top priority. I know our community’s perseverance will make the most of these extraordinary circumstances. 

With fall classes starting on Sept. 14, CalArts has developed a variety of opportunities to answer questions, explain what’s ahead, and make sure we’re all well prepared. So, here are some reminders about important dates and key information to help you prepare. As President Ravi Rajan signaled in his announcement last week, we’ve compiled some key resources to consult as your fall plans firm up. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with these dates and opportunities, below, and engage with those that can help guide you. 

Increased Financial Aid - We are pleased to be able to offer an increase in need-based financial aid for eligible students. Please contact the Financial Aid Office if after reviewing the email communication from AVP for Enrollment Anna Jablonski you think you are eligible. 

Registration for new and returning students is Aug. 11. Please review the emails from the Registrar that outlines this process. Online Class Signup will begin Tuesday, Aug. 11, with start times staggered throughout the day. All students have received a signup time by email. Note, there is a new online registration system, Self-Service Student Planning. Be sure to read the emails from the Office of the Registrar and review the Class Signup page for more information. 

Course Advising Day (virtual) is Sept. 10. The Registrar has sent information about how this will work as well.

Clarifying Part-Time Registration Options

Enrolling part-time is a personal decision that should be considered carefully as part-time enrollment has financial and degree progress implications. The programs at CalArts are intended to be completed with full-time enrollment in four years for undergraduate programs, and two to three years for graduate programs. Please note that not all programs will approve part-time enrollment for this academic year. Our aim for the fall semester is to be as flexible as possible as we know students and families have changing circumstances, and so a part-time option may be a viable approach for some students.

When considering part-time enrollment a student needs to take into account their overall completed units, as well as metier and critical studies (for BFA students) requirements that are outstanding. To that end, and especially for students graduating this academic year, they need to work with their mentor/program director and academic advisor to make sure part-time enrollment is a viable option and to ensure they enroll in the correct amount of credits for one or both semesters of part-time enrollment.  

A student may request to enroll part-time at three-quarter, half, or quarter time. If you choose and are approved to enroll part-time, your tuition will be reduced accordingly, by three-quarter, half, or quarter.  Contact the Accounting Office to determine how enrolling part-time will affect your tuition ( You should also contact the Financial Aid Office to determine how part-time enrollment will affect your institutional and/or federal aid ( 

Part-Time Registration Request Form must be submitted and approved by your school. If approved, you will receive a notification from the Office of the Registrar. Note, this form must be completed for each semester a student wishes to enroll part-time.

Please contact the Office of the Registrar if you have any questions about the part-time registration process ( 

Student Technology Access Program

To bolster access to key equipment while facilities are closed, a number of our schools have developed metier-based technology and tool kits. Each technology kit has been developed with the specific needs of a metier in mind; the schools offering these kits will be sending out information to their students about how these kits may be secured, whether through contactless curbside pickup for local students, domestic shipping, or via reimbursement for non-domestic students. 

We are also offering a laptop loan program available to all full-time students in the continental U.S. through our Information Technology Department and Library. A deposit will be required. Unfortunately, we cannot ship internationally. 

Adobe Creative Cloud will be available to full, part-time and international students.

Moving Forward with Your Degree

In this historic period, it’s more important than ever that you make wise, deliberate choices that make the most sense for you. The whole CalArts community is united to help each of you navigate that process. Please be sure to join one of the meetings being held by your school or program, or the International Student Services office. Also know that you can contact an Academic Advisor or join one of the Zoom meetings being held jointly by the Registrar and Academic Advisors.

We’re committed to making sure that every student has a robust opportunity to keep working toward a degree and the stability that comes with it. Our Patty Disney Center for Life and Work has been holding events this summer, and developing new programs for the fall, that will prepare you for the changing nature of arts professions. Sustaining momentum toward graduation can bring those opportunities closer – and faster – in uncertain times.

For months now, our faculty have been thinking deeply about how best to maintain that progress. They’ve crafted and refined new ways of teaching and engaging, all the while reinforcing the values and qualities that makes us CalArtians. Take a look at how Mike Bryant has taken this on. I think you’ll be as inspired as I am.

Expect more details soon from across the Institute. Also, I hope you’ll join President Ravi Rajan, Vice President for Student Experience Brian Harlan, and me for a virtual information session this Sunday (Aug. 9). Starting at 3 p.m. PST, we’ll be talking in depth about the fall semester and taking your questions directly. You should have received a reminder email earlier today.

Brian will be reaching out in writing, as well, to highlight student services and our community building efforts for the fall.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at with any questions or concerns. Like all of us at CalArts, I am here to help you realize your goals and make the most of your CalArts experience.

Best regards,

Tracie Costantino
Tracie Costantino