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Apr. 1: Financial Aid Night at CIA
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Admissions . Financing Your Education . Scholarships 


The Cleveland Institute of Art offers an extensive merit recognition program, using endowed scholarships and other private monies to support our students. CIA Merit Scholarships are offered to many students when they are accepted for admission. Most academic departments award department and donor scholarships to eligible students. These scholarships are typically either merit-based or merit and need-based. Most CIA Merit Scholarships require a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) to renew the scholarship (Dean's Scholarships require a 2.6 cumulative GPA to renew). All scholarship require full time attendance (minimum 12 credit hours each semester) and are restricted for no more than 8 semesters.
CIA merit, department, and donor scholarships do not need to be repaid and are based on academic qualifications, such as grades, test scores, major, and artistic talent exhibited in a student's portfolio.

Internal Scholarships

CIA offers extensive merit recognition to students at all levels. New students are considered automatically for some of our internal scholarships. Returning students may apply and compete for many additional awards. Internal scholarships fall into three categories: awards for new students (e.g., Merit Awards and CIA Honorary Scholarships), Institute-wide awards, and departmental awards.

CIA Merit Scholarships 

CIA’s Office of Admissions offers first-time freshmen and transfer students an opportunity to compete for renewable merit awards based on strength of their portfolio and academic achievement, which include CIA President's Scholarship, CIA Gund Family Scholarship, and CIA Dean's Scholarship.

Newly admitted freshman and transfer students automatically are considered for CIA Merit Scholarships when they apply and are accepted for admission to CIA. New students who do not receive a CIA Merit Scholarship can be considered for a need-based CIA Grant by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

All CIA Merit Scholarship recipients must be enrolled full time at CIA and maintain a minimum grade point average as outlined in your Scholarship Award Notification letter. Awards range from $7,500 to full tuition annually. For more information, contact our Office of Admissions.

CIA Honorary Scholarships 

If your fall semester grades are in the top 25% of your class, you can compete for a CIA Honorary Scholarship. In the spring semester, all students who meet eligibility criteria will be invited to apply by the Office of Academic Affairs. A jury selects two winners per class. Winners are announced at the annual spring awards ceremony. Historically, winners received $2,000 towards the next academic year. Two honorary recipients will be selected as Clara Rust Brigham award winners and receive larger award amounts. 

Departmental Awards

During the spring semester, individual academic departments award merit or merit/need-based scholarships and grants to currently enrolled students. Departmental scholarships and grants are awarded by each academic department and are based on your major.

Applying for Departmental Awards

To demonstrate financial need eligibility, you first must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Then, contact individual departments during the spring semester to apply for departmental awards.

Previously, CIA has awarded more than $230,000 annually in departmental awards to returning students. Award winners typically are chosen by departmental faculty committees, and winners are announced at the CIA Awards Ceremony held every spring semester.

To see a list of grants and scholarships offered by each department, visit your major's scholarship page below. 

Biomedical Art
Game Design
Graphic Design
Industrial Design
Interior Architecture
Jewelry + Metals
Photography + Video
Sculpture + Expanded Media

External Scholarships

We encourage you to apply for external scholarships to supplement any CIA-based aid you might receive. To be considered for external scholarship support, you should contact various funding organizations and follow their application procedures. You also can view a list of external scholarship resources below.

External Scholarship Board

When organizations send scholarship information to the Office of Financial Aid, we post the information on the scholarship board located inside the Office of Admissions. You may pick up available applications at the Office of Financial Aid. 

Scholarship Resources 

Charter One TruFit Good Citizen Scholarship
Cleveland Foundation

College Board
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Mach 25
Nerd Scholar
Sallie Mae's Scholarship Search
Scholarships 4 Students
Scholarships on Zinch
Student Scholarships

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Financial Aid Forms

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Office of Financial Aid

M – F 
8:30am – 4:30pm


11141 East Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44106

216.421.7425 or



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