FAQ’s

Welcome to the California State Summer School for the Arts – four weeks of exploration, discovery, and hard work designed to unleash your creative power. From July 6 through August 2, 2024, a talented group of high school students will receive intensive training from professionals in music, theater, film, visual arts, dance, writing, and animation. CSSSA’s program tuition cost is $4,600 for California residents and $7,000 for out-of-state or international residents. Scholarships, including full-tuition scholarships, are available for California resident attendees only.

NOTE: The online application is currently available on this website under the “Apply Now” button. The online application and all supplemental assignments / documents must be submitted by 6:00 pm, Pacific Time, on February 29, 2024. Notification emails are sent to applicants no later than the first week of May.

General Questions

WHAT IS THE CALIFORNIA STATE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS (CSSSA)?

The California State Summer School for the Arts is a rigorous, preprofessional, month-long training program in the visual and performing arts, writing, animation and film for talented artists of high school age. CSSSA provides a supportive environment in which students hone acquired skills and explore new techniques and ideas for an intense and exciting learning experience. The school was created by the California Legislature, and held its first session in 1987. Its purpose is to provide a training ground for future artists who wish to pursue careers in the arts and entertainment industries in California. The California State Summer School for the Arts is a state agency funded through a unique public-private partnership.

The thirty-seventh annual session of the California State Summer School for the Arts will be in-person on the CalArts Campus in Valencia, CA. CSSSA will begin on Saturday, July 6 and end on Friday, August 2, 2024.

WHO MAY ATTEND THE SCHOOL?

California residents enrolled in grades eight through twelve may apply to attend CSSSA. CSSSA can also enroll up to 20 students from out of state and international regions. *CSSSA cannot sponsor student visas for international students. Participants are selected in the spring, on the basis of their talent and creativity as demonstrated through assignments and teacher recommendations. CSSSA aims to represent the cultural and socioeconomic diversity of the state in the student body. Graduates of the program are named California Arts Scholars.

WHO ARE THE TEACHERS?

Our faculty members are accomplished, practicing professional artists, musicians, writers, dancers, actors, and filmmakers. Many are distinguished college and university instructors. The teacher to student ratio is roughly one instructor to nine pupils.

CAN I APPLY TO WORK IN MORE THAN ONE DISCIPLINE?

If you are exploring more than one arts field, you may submit more than one application. Since each of these applications will be considered separately, you must submit separate application forms with ALL the required materials and a $20 application fee for each discipline for which you wish to be considered. However, you will only be allowed to enroll in one department.

CAN I GET HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE CREDIT FOR ATTENDANCE?

Students can receive 3 units of college extension credit from the California State University system (Humboldt State University Office of Extended Education) for successful completion of the summer session. By law, a student may not receive high school credit for attending CSSSA unless their school district arranges to pay all costs and fees for program attendance.

Graduates of CSSSA: to obtain your transcripts, please contact Humboldt State University directly. You may contact the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement at (707)826-3731 or e-mail extended@humboldt.edu.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ATTEND?

The comprehensive fee covering materials and tuition for California residents is $4,600. The California State University College Credit Registration Fee will be communicated to admitted CSSSA students in the Spring. The non-refundable application fee is $20. Students may qualify for an application fee waiver based on several conditions, which are noted in the payment section of the online application. A non-refundable deposit of 50 percent of the comprehensive fee is required upon acceptance.

IS FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?

Financial Aid is provided for applicants based on demonstrated need. Nearly half of the students who have attended have a significant portion of their tuition fees covered. 
 Students requesting Financial Aid may also qualify for an application fee waiver. Families must complete the Financial Aid Request Form  and provide supporting tax documents within the online application. 
 Note: Financial Aid is restricted to CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS. Financial Aid is not awarded to returning CA students who previously attended the program and received a scholarship.

HOW DO I APPLY TO THE CALIFORNIA STATE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS?

You must upload all application materials, due by 6 pm PST on February 29, to the department you are applying to. A complete application includes:

  • A completed CSSSA APPLICATION form.
  • Two RECOMMENDATIONS.
    • CSSSA no longer requires teacher letters of recommendation. We recognize that teachers are busy teaching you and your fellow students! However, in the event that we have a question about your application, we require that you still provide us with 2 teacher references. We may contact them is needed, though we will not contact everyone.
  • VERIFICATION OF YOUR SCHOOL ATTENDANCE by submitting a copy of your current unofficial high school transcript.
  • The ARTISTIC ASSIGNMENTS outlined for your program of interest.
  • A completed FINANCIAL AID REQUEST form and a copy of the required tax return, if you wish to apply for aid.
  • A NON-REFUNDABLE $20 APPLICATION FEE must be paid online with a credit card upon completing your application.

I MISSED THE FEBRUARY 29 DEADLINE. DO YOU GIVE EXTENSIONS?

CSSSA does not grant exceptions to our deadline of 6 pm PST on February 29. If you are viewing this after 6 pm PST on February 29, we encourage you to consider CSSSA for next year. We do not make exceptions for anyone—schools, teachers, parents or students—applications after 6 pm PST on February 29 will not be considered.

WHEN WILL I KNOW IF I’VE BEEN INVITED TO ATTEND CSSSA 2024?

Decisions will be released by email on April 30, 2024.

CAN I MAKE CHANGES TO MY APPLICATION ONCE IT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED?

CSSSA may reach out to applicants requesting additional information. However, applicants cannot request to swap images or assignments, or make other changes to a submitted application. If there was a spelling error, for example an email address was misspelled, applicants may email support@embark.com to make corrections.

Financial Aid

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF INCOME MY PARENT/GUARDIAN CAN HAVE FOR ME TO QUALIFY FOR FINANCIAL AID?

There is no maximum amount. Financial aid is based on many variables and your parent/guardian’s income is one. By filling out the financial aid forms and providing copies of your parent/guardian’s most recently filed tax returns, we are able to assess your eligibility for aid. To be considered, you must provide the required information, including your 1040 tax documents, by 6 pm PST on February 29.

WHAT IF MY PARENT/GUARDIAN CANNOT ACCESS COPIES OF THEIR MOST RECENT TAXES?

Undocumented families, or parents/guardians who are not required to file taxes should contact the CSSSA Office for further instruction. All other families must provide copies of their tax forms to be considered for financial aid. We are required to verify your application with the most recently FILED taxes. You must submit your Financial Aid Request Form and a copy of your parents’ or guardians’ 2022 or 2023 U.S. income tax return WHEN YOU APPLY in order to be considered for financial aid. We recommend that your parent/guardian contact their tax preparer for copies or the government agency where they are filed.

WHAT IF MY PARENT/GUARDIAN DOES NOT HAVE TO FILE TAXES?

You must provide copies of their disability, state or other official papers indicating this to be the case.

WILL A REQUEST FOR FINANCIAL AID HURT MY CHANCES OF BEING ACCEPTED TO CSSSA?

No. Your request for financial aid will have no bearing on the admission process. No applicant is denied admission solely on the basis of inability to pay. 
 You must, however, submit your Financial Aid Request Form and a copy of your parents’ or guardians’ 2022 or 2023 U.S. income tax return WHEN YOU APPLY in order to be considered for financial aid.

WHAT IF I DECIDE TO APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID AFTER THE DEADLINE?

You must apply for financial aid at the time of submitting your application, which is due on February 29, 2024 at 6:00 PM PST.

HOW MANY ATTENDING STUDENTS RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID?

Nearly half of the 500 California residents attending the program qualify for financial aid.

Do you have more questions?

Read the complete Student Handbook

If you need help or have any questions about the application process, call the office at (916) 229-5160 or send email to application@csssa.ca.gov

Questions specifically about Financial Aid? Read the Financial Aid FAQ. For questions not covered in the FAQ, email financial-aid@csssa.ca.gov.