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2019–2020 tuition freeze
San Francisco Art Institute
Above: President Gordon Knox on Zellerbach Quad at SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus, 2017. Photo: Hewitt Photography. 
Above: President Gordon Knox on Zellerbach Quad at SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus, 2017. Photo: Hewitt Photography. 
First step in ongoing dedication to quality fine arts education accessibility


sfai.edu
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On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Board of the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) approved a tuition freeze for the 2019–2020 school year as a first step towards addressing within its own community the alarming nationwide trend of growing higher education costs and increased student loan debt.

According to a 2018 article in Business Insider, college tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s, a rate of increase that has well outpaced increases in wages. 44 million Americans now hold 1.5 trillion USD in student loan debt.

“This is an untenable path,” says Pam Rorke Levy, Board Chair, SFAI. “The rising cost of higher education is a national crisis that undermines fundamental principles of accessibility, inclusion and opportunity, and has become a major contributing factor to our country’s growing income gap. The current trend of passing along rising costs to our students is clearly unsustainable, and anathema to who we are—and have been for the last 148 years—an arts institution committed to fostering the unique and diverse perspectives of artists.”

“We believe that a quality fine arts education should be accessible to anyone with the courage, creativity, talent, and curiosity to be an artist,” says Gordon Knox, President, SFAI. “We must reduce the portion of SFAI’s budget that is dependent upon student tuition dollars, and increase philanthropic support. And we must remove barriers to access in order to provide promising artists an opportunity to realize an SFAI education and share their unique visions and contributions with the world.”

“SFAI offers so much that you wouldn’t experience at a big school,” says Keisha Kidd (BFA, 2021), one of the many students at SFAI with financial support from the institution. “Smaller class size, an intimate setting, the opportunity to form ongoing relationships with professors and peers. And knowing about the alumni who came out of the school—I wanted to be part of all the greatness. The only obstacle to attending SFAI for me is financial. Aside from that, it’s all about the work, the community, and developing as an artist.”

Knox acknowledges that more needs to be done to make headway, particularly in San Francisco where the cost of living is also a concern. He says planning is underway for significant future efforts to support affordability and encourage accessibility for prospective students regardless of their or their family’s income.

“Our charge now is to continue increasing access to SFAI for all exceptional students, including those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” he states. “This will require the support of the wider Bay Area community and others around the country (and world!) who are inspired by our mission.”

SFAI is currently accepting applications for BA, BFA, MA, MFA, Post-Baccalaureate, and Dual Degree MA/MFA programs. While most schools continue increasing tuition each year, prospective students should know what they can expect from SFAI: no tuition hike in 2019 and an ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality art education.

December 11, 2018