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; Our goal is to assist you in understanding your options and addressing any concerns you may have.


Financial aid programs available for CAA students

Financial aid at Cranbrook is available in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and Federal Work Study.  Some aid is based on need (Need-Based Aid), while other aid is awarded without regard to financial need (Non-Need-Based Aid).

Need-Based Aid: We award need-based grants to qualifying students with the goal of providing assistance that will allow our admitted students to be able to afford the cost of their education.  Students who meet eligibility requirements for federal financial aid and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are eligible for federal loans and possibly for Federal Work Study.  In addition, many students qualify for a Cranbrook Need-Based Grant based on the information collected on the FAFSA.  Click here to learn more about Need-Based Aid.

Non-Need-Based Aid: The Academy seeks to enroll a diverse class, with students who come from various backgrounds and have a wide variety of experiences. We award scholarships, fellowships and supplemental grants to select applicants based on our desire to enroll top students as well as our commitment to securing a diverse class.  Several partial-tuition scholarships are awarded in each of the Academy’s 11 departments, and one full-tuition fellowship is awarded in select departments (announced each year).  This aid is awarded based on information provided in student applications and interactions our Artists-in-Residence have with applicants through telephone, Skype or in-person interviews; there is no separate application process.

In addition, because we encourage prospective students to be proactive in applying for outside scholarships, our Non-Need-Based Aid section on the website includes some links to outside scholarship search links and some select outside scholarship programs.  Click here to learn more about Non-Need-Based Aid.

Award Info
Types of Financial Aid
Financial Aid Cost of Attendance
Payment of Financial Aid to Student Account
Financial Aid Deadlines
Return of Title IV Aid

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.