Financial Aid

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. As you consider this important investment in your future, you may have questions. The information found by reviewing the information below and clicking on the links will answer many of your questions. If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Leslie Tobakos, Registrar, Financial Aid & Admissions Manager (248-645-3360; ltobakos@cranbrook.edu). Our goal is to assist you in understanding your options and addressing any concerns you may have.

U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents: File your Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov to be considered for need based aid.  

The 2019-2020 FAFSA is now available at fafsa.ed.gov.  The form uses 2017 income, and you can link to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA to easily transfer your tax information directly into your FAFSA.  Please be sure to complete the FAFSA for the correct year.

International students are eligible for consideration for Non-Need Based Aid only (see below).

Types of Aid Available

We offer two types of financial aid, Need Based Aid and Non-Need Based Aid.

Need Based Aid: Available to students who meet eligibility requirements for federal financial aid and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Need Based Aid utilizes the Financial Aid Cost of Attendance, which can be found on the Need Based Aid link.  Federal financial aid is typically limited to students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents; full eligibility requirements can be found at studentaid.gov/eligibility. We regret that we are unable to offer Need Based Aid to students who do not meet the eligibility criteria for federal financial aid.

Non-Need Based Aid: All students are eligible for consideration.

Please click on the links on the left-hand side of this page for additional information about the Academy’s Need Based and Non-Need Based aid programs.

Please note that the Non-Need Based Aid page includes some links to outside scholarships and scholarship search links.  Please be sure to check it out!

Financial Aid Procedures and Deadlines

Please click on the Need Based Aid and Non-Need Based Aid links on the left-hand side of this page for complete information regarding the Academy’s financial aid procedures and deadlines.

Complete information and instructions for student loans is found here. Complete information and instructions for Federal Work Study is found here.

Payment of Financial Aid to Student Account

Financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is paid to the student’s account in two equal installments, one in Fall semester and one in Spring semester. Students who first borrow (or who increase federal loans) during the spring semester will receive their funds in two equal installments within the spring semester.

Important Note Regarding the Availability of Funding

Cranbrook Academy of Art does not have an undergraduate program; therefore, teaching assistantships (and tuition remission/stipends associated with TA positions) are not available.  Scholarships are awarded to some incoming students; these are not full tuition.  No separate application is required; recipients are notified with offer of admission.

Return on Investment

The students who choose to attend Cranbrook Academy of Art do so because they believe the program provides a strong preparation for the future they envision.  The Academy is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), whose website provides insight into the return on investment of an education in the arts or design.

The Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports provide a research-based approach to understanding the scope and economic importance of the arts in America. Nationally, 702,771 businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, and they employ 2.9 million people. This represents 3.9 percent of all U.S. businesses and 1.9 percent of all U.S. employees—demonstrating statistically that the arts are a formidable business presence and broadly distributed across our communities. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.  You can link to the reports here.