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Cal Art's Is it worth it ?

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Cal Art's Is it worth it ?

Hey, I am thinking about getting into cal arts for 2006. I would like to study character animation, and I was wondering if the price is worth the education. Considering its about $27g per year.

ArtBum's picture
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

I have not personally attended, but I have a beyond-acquaintance relationship with many people student and otherwise there, and for what those opinions are worth, it's up to you whether or not something like that is worth 27 thousand dollars a year, but -among- the 27 thousand dollar a year schools it's been among the top few choices for a very long time, informally and by review.

Ringling, Savannah, Vancouver and Sheridan...And Europe has a few amazing schools....Not sure what the equivalent prices would be though...

i'm going there

i haven't started yet. everyone that i've met seems to love it.

Calarts 27,000 a year pricetag is actually pretty average, and perhaps even cheaper than institutions of similar calibur. Most art schools are between 20 to 30,000 a year, with some even going close to 40. I did a little search and found some tuition rates of some similar schools just to compare:

SCAD: tuition = 20,700
tuition plus housing/fees = 27,710

Ringling: tuition/fees = 15,596
tuition/fees/housing = 22,888.68

Calarts: tuition/fees/housing = 28,652
I couldn't find a separate approximate housing cost, so I'm assuming
that it's included in tuition since living on campus is required for
most students. Don't kill me if I'm wrong.

Sheridan: tuition for computer animation = 11,731
tuition for applied arts (animation) = 6,234.02
housing add around 5,000 to each
Sheridan is probably your best bet as far as a quality, inexpensive
animation degree goes.

VanArts: tuition for 3D = 20,900
tuition for 2d = 14,950
housing is off campus so it varies significantly.

Then there are schools that are not really animation schools as much as kick ass art schools such as RISD (around 38,000 total), Art Center (12,422 per semester not including housing/fees), and the School of the Art institute of Chicago (about 38,000 total). Considering Calarts is regarded as one of if not the best animation school in the united states, I would say that compared to other similar schools, it's quite a deal. All the people I talk to at Calarts love it to death, which is more than I can say about people who attended Savannah or Vanarts. Plus, you make great connections there, which is definitely something good in this business.

Some international schools you may want to look at are Gobelins in France, and Royal acadamy of art in London. I know that you have to speak french if you even hope to get into Gobelins.

I hope this helps.


Thanks for kicking in the overseas names (well overseas for me, anyhow =)

I believe though, and Ed can correct me if I'm wrong, that full-time tuition at Ringling is 9900 or so a semester. On the forums most people's bill with tuition, room and board, and house came to between 28 and 32 thousand...

It's all the same ballpark. I'm not entirely sure the person who can come up with 28 will struggle finding another four, but then again, I'm naive when it comes to loans lol

Wow, this is great feedback. Thanks a lot for the information. Yeah I am about to start my portfolio for cal arts character animation program and if everything goes well. I am going be a very happy animator. :D

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Yeah, you're probably right scattered, I was just going off the bare minimum for tuition and room/board that Ringling's site lists. Students will more than likely pay more than that (I thought it was pretty low too). Around 30 is more like it.


oh, an there's academy of art university in San Francisco that has excellent connections with Pixar. I think they're in th ballpark of around 30 to 34,000 a year, because living expenses in San Fran are ridiculous. Very cool city, though. I'm going to try and visit it before the summer is over.


If you're willing to spend that kind of money, CA > AAU. If I had to choose strongest program with a good supportive student body as my main goals, it wouldn't be a contest.

Yeah moot, Sf is a very nice area. If you get a chance to try out their clam-chowda, you get it in a bread bowl. Other then that its a very nice area to learn as an animator, all sorts of people drop by there and if you like to draw people its a plus. Overall its a nice city.

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Yeah, Scattered, I definitely agree with you. Calarts almost definitely trumps Academy.


I am struggling with this problem too. I should be attending the school in 2 weeks time, but i still haven't paid my school fee. I know the school is worth it. It's just that it's such a big sum of money if i have spent it, i'll have none left. It's like I can't go back once i have chosen this path. It's such a big gamble! and i can't be sure if this is the right path coz i haven't really stepped my feet in the industry yet. If i had, i wouldn't need the schooling! duh!and every time i read comments from this site, people always seem not to mind about money. Is it becoz we are all crazy animation geek? I admit I am one of them, but i just view the issue in a wider perspective and hear some opposite voices from people who really know about animation, if there is.


and i need to correct the fees about CalArts too. (Don't worry, I won't kill you, moot haha!) Yes, the tuition fee is around $27K, but adding up all the other technical fee, activity fee, insurance, housing, transport, etc. It goes up to $38,985 to $40,680 for the first year, and a difference of less than $100 for the coming years. So? Do you see a clearer picture now?

this website is the reference for all the fees:


Just for clarification purposes Ringling tuition for one semester is up to $10,600, then just for being a freshman you have to pay about $1600 in fees. Then calculate whatever room and board you want. I am living off campus, but I am still up to my knees in loans (more loans to come each year too yeaaa!)

I know this thread is for Cal Arts, but on a similar comparison of animation school worth versus cost I would say Ringling is worth it if you are doing the Computer Animation program. If you were going here for let's say not worth the price, but there are things here you just won't find anywhere else. I really like it here and it is only my second week.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us." ---Gandalf

Have you checked out Max the Mutt in Toronto?

Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto, founded by former Sheridan instructors, has top professional instructors, a broadbased cuuriculum based on Disney and Warner Bros guidelines, and a commitment to be available to talent. The quality of work produced is outstanding. Tuition is much lower than anything mentioned here. I have a vested interest in the school; however, I can stand behind every word I've written. We don't advertise alot because we're fighting to keep tuition low. Check us out.

Hello everyone,

I was planning to enter into Cal Arts once, keeping in mind that most of the animation proffessionals I admired came from Cal Arts eg Glen Keane, Genndy Tarkovsky, Craig Mccracken, Tim Burton etc. I went through their prospectous and program guides etc and I think they have a very comprehensive animation training program. They also have a host of top notch professionals coming to interact regularly with the students.

But wether it is worth it or not is your call to take. However, look for a training programme which offers a sound training in artistic as well as technical skills.




If you are talking "character animation" then I say Cal Arts- hang the costs- no one on the West Coast compares. Cal Arts is going to give you a better art background than any place except Art Center. But hey, Art Center doesn't have an animation program.


Yeah, I agree with Larry. For an animation program, Calarts is gonna give you the best. But Art Center is probably better as far as "Art" goes, even though Calarts establishes a really strong foundation.


ArtBum -

I received my on the job training from grads from both Cal Arts and Sheridan and they really know their stuff, so if your thinking of Cal Arts, good on ya.

It's also my understanding that the big US animation studios tend to look more favorably at these well established schools, as they should. (This should encourage all of us presently teaching in smaller schools to press on to continue to hone and improve the quality of the programs we teach as well)

I recently looked at some of the studnet work from CalArts....

I completely shit my pants...absolutely amazing. Some of the shorts looked better than feature films.

Hi. I'm not sure how my school compares - as a greenhorn I have no basis for comparison - but I started the animation program at Brooks College in Long Beach, CA about 5 weeks ago. It is an 18 month program leading to an AA degree. Cost is about 35k if you live off campus. I am finding the teachers excellent so far. There are a lot of assigments but that's ok as my goal is to learn after all. The staff has been superb and the walked me through every step of the sign up process, introduced me to teachers and department heads, assigned me a counselor who checks on me regularly and offer stuff like free one on one tutoring, free life drawing sessions (in addition to regular classes) and other services.

I also like the fact that the school has interior design, graphic design, fashion design and other student populations; the focus and techniques are different and I enjoy seeing the many ways that composition, texture and color is used. Just my opinion but I think the cross pollination may be useful.

I know the school had some rough spots a few years back but I've been impressed at how hard they try, the animation clubs and the special events recently they had Stephen Silver and I also got to hear from Bruce Smith (The Proud Family, Space Jam) which was very cool.