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CFA Scholarship: Types, Requirements and Deadline


Do you know about the CFA scholarship? The CFA Institute offers five types of scholarships to help candidates who can’t afford the CFA exam fees. In short, scholarships help more people to grow in their careers and make the CFA charter more accessible to everyone. The CFA scholarships include the following:

  • Access: Primarily need-based
  • Women’s: For women who aren’t eligible for one of the other CFA scholarships
  • Student: CFA exam scholarships are available to students attending an affiliated university
  • Professor: For full-time professors or college administrators
  • Regulator: Some scholarship funds are available to certain financial regulators

Overview of the CFA Scholarships

The CFA Institute’s scholarship programs help people pursue the CFA credential, even if they can’t afford the fees. The five different scholarships are intended to help different groups of people taking the CFA exam. I’ve included information about each CFA scholarship, including the requirements, deadline, and amounts awarded.

CFA Access Scholarship

Officially known as the “CFA Program Access Scholarship Program,” this program is meant to provide financial assistance to those who otherwise could not afford to take the CFA exam. However, the scholarship review committee considers more than a candidate’s financial situation when making awards. In fact, awards may be given based on a number of criteria in addition to financial need. For example, the committee also considers a candidate’s academic and professional accomplishments, their commitment to pursuing the CFA charter, and obstacles the candidate might have overcome to get to this point in their career.

Specifically, the CFA Access scholarship:

The CFA Access Scholarship has two cycles for the 2024 exam year. The first cycle has already passed (it closed in late 2023), and the second cycle opens January 24, 2024.

Women’s Scholarship for the CFA Exam

The Women’s Scholarship is available to women who have not yet enrolled for their CFA exams. Candidates can only apply if the other scholarships do not apply to them.

Here are some additional details about the CFA Women’s Scholarship:

  • Waves the CFA program enrollment fee
  • Reduces the CFA exam registration fee to $400

In 2024, the Women’s Scholarships has two cycles. Although the first cycle is closed, the second cycle opens January 9, 2024.

CFA Student Scholarship

The CFA Institute also offers scholarships to current students who are going to tackle the CFA exam before they graduate. However, students must be enrolled in an affiliated university, so that’s an important point to keep in mind.

The Student Scholarship awards the following:

  • The CFA Institute will wave the CFA program enrollment fee
  • Also reduces the CFA exam registration fee to $400

Applications for the Student Scholarship Program are accepted from September 1, 2023 through July 31, 2024. To apply, simply login to your CFA Institute account, navigate to the CFA Student Scholarship page, and fill out the application.

Professor Scholarships for the CFA Exam

In addition to the Student Scholarship program, the CFA Institute also offers a scholarship for full-time professors and university administrators at affiliated academic institutions. Applicants must include their CV, verify their university employment, and a letter of support from a supervisor.

The Professor Scholarship awards the following:

  • No CFA program enrollment fee
  • The CFA exam registration fee is reduced to $400

Applications for the Professor Scholarship Program are accepted from September 1, 2023 until July 15, 2024.

CFA Regulator Scholarship

And finally, the CFA Institute also has a Regulator Scholarship. This award is only available for workers in government agencies, eligible stock exchanges, securities commissions, central banks, financial regulators, and/or securities commissions. Particularly, applicants should work in businesses or organizations who have a program agreement in place with the CFA Institute. Furthermore, they should supervise or control the standards of conduct, business practices, or standards of practice within the investment management sector of their place of employment. What’s more, the CFA Institute does not directly award Regulator Scholarships to CFA candidates; rather, it grants them to qualifying organizations. The next step is for these organizations to nominate eligible employees for the scholarship.

If you are awarded a Regulator Scholarship, you will receive the following:

  • You will not have to pay the CFA program enrollment fee
  • The CFA exam registration fee is reduced to $400

The CFA Institute accepts the Regulator Scholarship Program from September 1 through July 15 each year. Decisions are usually communicated by July 31.

What are the Requirements for the CFA Scholarships? Who is Eligible?

First of all, all CFA scholarship applicants must be able to fulfill the CFA exam requirements.

Some additional rules include:

  • The applicant cannot receive financial assistance on the CFA program from his/her employer.
  • The applicant must certify that he/she cannot obtain sufficient funds to pay the full price of participation in the CFA Program.

The application will be reviewed by the CFAI and the local CFAI member society in the area.

While financial need is a major factor of consideration, there is no limit or restriction on income or asset levels. Other considerations may include academic and professional accomplishment of the individual, any obstacle he/she may face, interest in the CFA charter, and other personal interests.

Furthermore, reference checks and interviews may be necessary.

CFA Scholarship Timeline

The five difference CFA scholarships have different timelines and deadlines.

  • Access Scholarship: Cycle opens January 24, 2024
  • Women’s Scholarship: Cycle opens January 9, 2024
  • Student Scholarship Program: Applications are accepted from September 1, 2023 through July 31, 2024
  • Professor Scholarship Program: Applications are accepted from September 1, 2023 until July 15, 2024
  • Regulator Scholarship: Applications are accepted from September 1 through July 15 each year.
  • Please note that you have to wait for the scholarship results in order to register for the CFA exam.

Questions from Readers about CFA Scholarships

1. I will be worse off if my scholarship application is unsuccessful and I miss the early registration deadline. Is it correct?

Yes, there is a chance you might miss the early registration deadline if you don’t receive a scholarship. Therefore, you should definitely make sure you are at least qualified for the scholarship before you apply. However, the CFA Institute may offer you the early registration price if you apply for a scholarship, do not receive one, and miss the early registration deadline as a result.

2. If I receive the scholarship but can’t find time to study, can I defer?

No, there is no deferral and one must take the CFA exam if the scholarship is granted. However, you have up to a year to take the exam if you receive a scholarship, so hopefully that will give you enough time to study. If forfeited, this applicant will not be considered for future scholarships.

3. I plan to apply for the scholarship and plan to study as early as I can. However, since I can’t register until after receiving the scholarship results, how can I do that?

You may buy the CFA curriculum e-book in advance. This payment will be refunded after exam registration. Please contact the CFAI for further instruction.

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