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CFA Scholarship 2021: Step-by-step application process

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

There are a variety of scholarships offered by the CFA Institute to pursue the CFA Program which includes a waived enrollment fee and discounted registration. Mostly, only one of them is applicable for the general candidates namely Access scholarship. Female candidates can opt for either the Access Scholarship or Women scholarship. Here, we will discuss the Access scholarship only.

Access Scholarship

For all those who cannot afford full CFA Program fees can apply for Access Scholarship.

Award Amount

The program enrollment fee of $450 is waived and exam registration is reduced to $250 (from $700). i.e. total costs reduced from $1150 to $250 only which is of substantial help.

Application Window

The scholarship application opens from 1st March — 15th September every year, for exams the following year.

i.e. for exams in Feb, May, Aug or Nov 2021, you can apply till 15th Sep’20.

Conditions to be met

1. Meet basic enrollment requirement i.e. ANY ONE of the following:

Have cleared or is in the final year of a bachelor's degree program. or

Four years of professional work experience (does not have to be investment related), or

a combination of professional work experience and education that totals at least four years.

2. Have a valid passport.

3. Be prepared to take the exam in English.

Also read: CFA Exams 2021 Computer-based testing

Application Procedure

Here we discuss the step-by-step procedure for making an application for the Access Scholarship:

  1. Create an account on www.cfainstitute.org and Log in.

  2. Go to "My Account" on the top right corner of the screen.

  3. Click on "Scholarships" under Programs.

4. Click on "Apply Access".

5. Keep going forward until you reach the Application form.

The application form will ask for the following:

i) Please indicate the number of individuals in your household who rely upon you for financial support

Tip: If you are a student, this is probably going to be 0. On the other hand, if you are an earning member contributing significantly to making the house-ends meet, you may indicate the number of your family members in this field.

ii) Are you currently employed?

Tip: Do not consider an internship as employment. State 'Yes' only if you are under full-time employment having proper documents(a contract or salary slips etc.) to indicate the same.

iii) Annual Household Gross Income

Household Gross Income may include, but is not limited to:

  • Your Salary

  • Spouses Salary

  • Family Business Income

  • Family Real Estate Income

  • Pension / Retirement Income

  • Interest/Dividends/Other Income

iv) Household Net Assets

Household Net Assets may include, but are not limited to:

  • Real Estate (Market Value less Amount Owed)

  • Vehicles (Market Value less Amount Owed)

  • Savings & Investments

Please select a range that most accurately represents your Household Net Assets (US Dollar)

Tip: For point (iii) & (iv), many candidates tend to confuse as to whose income and what assets are to be disclosed. The simplest way to answer is to consider only those income and assets as shown in your latest Income Tax statement and that of your father & mother(if working).

Just add them together, convert into $ using an approximate rate and select the applicable range given in the options.

v) Personal Statement
Please tell us why you would like to earn to the CFA Charter.  How would this scholarship help you achieve your goals?

Tip: This is the most critical section in the application form. You are required to give reasons in support of your application for the scholarship indicating you are truly a deserving candidate and will do absolute justice if you are awarded the scholarship.

The key deciding factors while writing a personal statement:

1.Financial need.

2.The academic, professional or other accomplishments of the candidate.

3. Obstacles overcome by the candidate.

4.Contributions to the local community.

5.The candidate’s interest in pursuing the CFA charter.

6.Other personal characteristics that indicate the individual is a strong candidate.

Also refer: CFA scholarship personal statement sample

vi) Attachments

'CFA Society India' requires you to upload a document that answers the following questions:

  • What is your educational background? For example: architecture, commerce, science, etc.

  • Have you completed your graduation?

  • Are you currently working towards a professional degree?

  • Is the income stated in your application your own or your total family income?

Note: For other countries refer to this link: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/scholarships/access

vii) Final Acknowledgement

This is nothing but a formal declaration from your end that all information provided by you is true.


On successful completion of the application for the CFA scholarship, you'll have to wait till 1st December for the results. Mind you that if you register for the CFA program before the results, your CFA scholarship application automatically stands canceled because you have already demonstrated your ability to pay the registration fees.

Also note that in case you are not awarded the CFA scholarship, by that time the deadline for early registration will already be gone and you'll have to go for standard registration for CFA Level I paying the higher fee of $1000.

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