Seeking a Bachelors or Masters degree in animation opens the door to an exciting and creative career. Like any other form of art, animation requires an artistic vision, ability to storybook a concept, and ability to transform animated characters from a script to the screen. Some of the top animation schools provide full financial aid packages to cover the costs of tuition, housing and possible laboratory fees.
California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA is one of the premium animation schools of the world. Founded by Walt Disney and originally named Micky Mouse University, Cal Arts would soon expand to six separate schools within the institute to include dance, theater, music, art, film and creative writing. The Cal Arts animation school falls within the Film program and a typical yearly cost is comparable to most other animation schools in the country. For example purposes, lets use Cal Arts as the model to obtain the total cost of attending an animation school.
The four-year degree will be broken down into yearly fees. Factors to reach the grand total for the year’s expenses will include:
* BFA dormitory rooms for two occupants or MFA multi-bedroom apartments for up to five occupants. Single-room dorm occupancy is available for a 30% increase in the double occupancy fees.
* Tuition for two semesters of classes per year.
* An optional prepaid meal ticket punch card honored in the cafeteria.
* At least $20 per day for meals for one semester to equal $2,700. The yearly meal budget estimate without the purchase of a Cal Arts Cafe meal card will be two times the $2,700 semester food budget for a total of $5,400 per year. Applicants are strongly advised to make the meal card purchase and have the costs covered in the financial aid package.
Additional Funds Needed For Animation School
* Laboratory fees may apply
* Personal effects may include hair care products, clothing, and transportation costs to off-campus locations
* Sufficient funds to cover your monthly car payments, insurance, cellphone bills, etc
Total Tuition, Fees and Expenses For Full-Time Enrollment For One Academic Year:
Dormitory: $5,450 (double occupancy in Chouinard Hall)
Meal Plan Voucher For 14 Meals Per Week: $3,320
Student Activity Fee: $76
Technology Fee: $400
Health Insurance: $1,572 (May be waived with proof of current policy)
Lab Fees: TBA as needed
Work Study Programs
Campus jobs are sometimes available, however they are snapped up very quickly, sometimes even before the academic year begins. If you can move into your dorm room early, this will put you in a better position to scout out the on-campus jobs for some extra money. On-campus jobs are generally contracted for the entire academic year and the total earnings will be deducted from the financial aid package funds.
Financial Aid Packages
The federal and state government funding programs work with all accredited academic schools. Application for a financial aid package should be done upon admission to the school. The animation school’s financial aid office will put together a package that consists of federal and state loans, state grants and scholarship monies awarded to students who meet the donor’s criteria.
Contrary to popular thinking, not all scholarship money is reserved for the top academic percentile of students. Scholarships are granted for minorities, by gender criteria, mature students, and even students with a C average GPA. One of the best examples is the generous award by David Letterman who wants to help out average students at Ball State because he struggled academically himself.
In addition to the federal and state loan programs, private loans for college are also available from your school’s financial aid office. However, this type of loan will require collateral, such as property, or require a parental co-signer for the loan. The private loans are not recommended and should not be taken out unless your federal and state loans fall short of your total animation school costs.
The bottom line is that the more money you have saved for college, the easier it will be to make it through the year. Financial aid loans must be paid back with interest, so be sure to read the fine print concerning the terms and conditions before you sign on the dotted line.