Debating an MFA? The Lowdown on Art School Risks and Returns

Women painting at easels in a class at the Art Students League, Washington, D.C., 1889. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston

Debating an MFA? The Lowdown on Art School Risks and Returns

by Coco Fusco

For aspiring artists, December is the cruelest month, when thoughts of pursuing an MFA must turn to action or be cast to the winds. It’s grad school application time — and what a time it is to undertake such a commitment! Never has higher education been more of a discursive battlefield. Politicians, parents, pundits, and provosts argue daily in the press over what it’s worth. Given the skyrocketing cost of tuition, mounting student debt, high interest rates on loans, and a tough job market, you’d be crazy not to measure your education’s value against the risk involved in paying for it, especially if you are considering a master’s degree in art or design. According to an article published earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal, students at art-focused schools rack up the highest debt, and the odds of their striking it rich right after graduation are not in their favor. That may not stop you from applying, but if you are going to invest large sums, you’d better look closely at what you will be getting into.

Read the rest of Coco’s article HERE


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