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Applicants:  DO NOT WAIT until notification of acceptance to file your FAFSA at
(School Code G002248).

For more information on Financial Aid, please contact: Leslie Tobakos at or


Financial Aid at Cranbrook Academy of Art

At Cranbrook Academy of Art, we want to help our students realize their dreams of joining our community of artists, designers and architects. Our financial aid program is one way in which we can help make those dreams a reality.

Need based aid is offered to prospective and current students who meet eligibility requirements for federal financial aid and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Need based aid awards may include grants, loans, and Federal Work Study.

All students are eligible for consideration for non-need based aid. Available non-need based awards include scholarships and Department Assistantship work opportunities.


Need Based Financial Aid:

CAA Need Based Grant.  Need based grants are awarded based on the Expected Family Contribution as computed using information collected on the FAFSA.  These grants are gift aid, meaning that they do not require repayment.  Awards vary and are limited by availability of institutional funds.  Grants are credited to student accounts in equal semester installments.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Unsubsidized loans are available to all students who are eligible for federal aid and who file the FAFSA – demonstrated financial need is not required.  Graduate students are eligible to borrow up to $20,500 per year, dependent on the costs of study and other financial aid received. Student loans are disbursed in equal semester installments (less a 1.072% origination fee).  The current interest rate is 5.41%; 2014-2015 interest rates will be announced by the Department of Education in late spring.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS LoansDemonstrated financial need is not required for Graduate PLUS loans.  However, these loans are credit-based and as such are not guaranteed; students whose credit is denied may choose to secure a credit-worthy endorser.  Student loans are disbursed in equal semester installments (less a 4.288% origination fee).  The current interest rate is 6.41%; 2014-2015 interest rates will be announced by the Department of Education in late spring.

Federal Work Study . Students with demonstrated financial need will be offered the opportunity to apply and interview for work-study positions on campus and in off-campus tutoring positions. Earnings are paid bi-weekly, based on hours worked.  All offers of student employment are contingent upon being hired by the Cranbrook Educational Community, which requires a separate employment application and background check.

Students must file a new FAFSA each year, and continued eligibility for aid is dependent on maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress*. 


Non-Need Based Financial Aid:

CAA First-Year Scholarships.  Select students may be awarded scholarships for their first year of study; there is no separate application process.  Students receiving a scholarship will be notified at the time an offer of admission is extended.  These scholarships are non-renewable. Awards are credited to the student’s account in equal installments in each of the first two semesters of the student’s first year of study.

Competitive Merit Scholarships. Each spring, currently enrolled students may compete for Cranbrook merit scholarships.  Interested students submit a portfolio of their work for review.  Awards are for the following academic year and are credited to the student’s account in equal semester installments during the second year of study.

Department Assistantships. Select students are asked by their Artists-in-Residence to act as Department Assistants, typically for the second year of study; there is no separate application process.  Department Assistantships are an employment opportunity, rather than tuition remission or a stipend.  Students are paid in the form of biweekly wages for hours worked.  All offers of student employment are contingent upon being hired by the Cranbrook Educational Community, which requires a separate employment application and background check.  Those who qualify for Federal Work Study will receive wages through this program; however, FWS eligibility is not required.


Note to International Students:

All students are eligible for consideration for non-need based financial aid.  Those international students who are eligible for U.S. federal financial aid, typically dual citizens and permanent residents, are eligible for need based financial aid (a FAFSA is required).  Accepted students requiring a visa will be asked to provide documentation of adequate funding to cover costs for the two year program to the Academy in order to be issued the I-20 form necessary for the visa appointment.


Cost of Attendance, 2013-2014:

Fixed Costs







Total Fixed Costs, 2013-2014


Estimated Costs (These are estimates only – actual costs may be reduced through careful planning and budgeting)


Housing and Food






Personal Expenses


Total Estimated Costs, 2013-2014


Total Fixed & Estimated Costs, 2013-2014


Note:  Students who borrow federal loans will have estimated loan fees of $585 included in their Cost of Attendance, for a total Cost of Attendance of $48,245.


Need Based Financial Aid Procedures and Deadlines:

To be considered for institutional need based aid and for federal aid, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.  Applicants for admission are strongly encouraged to file the FAFSA by February 15 in order to allow time for processing prior to offers of admission.  Award letters will be sent with offers of admission if the FAFSA has been received and processed prior to the offer.  Those filing later will receive award letters within two weeks of the date the FAFSA is received by the Academy.

Please file the 2014-2015 FAFSA online after January 1st at  Cranbrook’s school code is G02248.  Receipt of aid is contingent upon complying with all requests for information from the Academy, including requests for verification documentation, if applicable.  April 1, 2014 is the deadline to file the FAFSA in order to receive priority consideration for Cranbrook need-based grants.


Financial Aid Questions:

Prospective, admitted, and current students should direct all questions regarding financial aid programs to Leslie Tobakos,Registrar, Financial Aid & Admissions Manager (, 248-645-3360).  All enrolled students will receive appropriate financial aid instructions.

All staff involved in any way with the administration of Title IV federal funds are required to follow a Financial Aid Code of Conduct.


Need More Information About Borrowing?

Please refer to for detailed information regarding federal loan programs.  Cranbrook students are encouraged to use federal loan programs if they need to borrow. Students who borrow federal loans are required to repay them; payment begins 6 months after the student graduates or withdraws from the Academy. Students who have borrowed federal loans while at the Academy are required to attend a student loan repayment session in the spring of their 2nd year. Students who withdraw are informed by the Registrar, Financial Aid & Admissions Manager of their repayment obligations. All students are required to complete federal loan Exit Counseling upon graduation or withdrawal (online at The information collected as part of federal loan Exit Counseling is outlined here: Exit Counseling Guide.

Sample loan repayment schedule.


*Satisfactory Academic Progress:

In order to maintain eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid (Federal Work Study and federal Stafford Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans), students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. Students are expected to receive a grade of Pass in a given semester in order to meet SAP requirements. SAP is evaluated at the end of each semester. Students who fail to meet SAP requirements when evaluated at the end of a semester will be placed on SAP Warning for the following semester and will continue to receive financial aid during the SAP Warning semester. At the end of the SAP Warning semester, SAP will be reevaluated. Students who lose their eligibility for financial aid and do not appeal the decision or whose appeals are denied will regain eligibility for financial aid after receiving a grade of Pass in a subsequent semester.

Veterans Benefits:

Cranbrook Academy of Art is approved for participation in veterans education and training programs.  Please contact Leslie Tobakos with questions regarding VA educational benefits.



Fishman and Ginewski during Reviews
Artist-in-Residence (Painting) Beverly Fishman discussing work with ceramist Brian Ginewski during fourth semester reviews, December 2009.