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Home / News / Education / USC to offer free tuition for masters in fine arts program

USC to offer free tuition for masters in fine arts program

by HeyWire AI
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USC’s School of Dramatic Arts announced Wednesday an initiative to make its three-year master’s in fine arts (MFA) programs tuition-free starting with the 2024-25 academic year. This initiative will cover incoming and continuing graduate students studying acting and dramatic writing, lifting the financial burdens that typically accompany higher education in the arts.

The move follows similar initiatives by the Juilliard School and Yale University and is expected to significantly boost USC’s competitive edge in attracting top-tier creative talents.

Dean Emily Roxworthy emphasized the transformative potential of this decision, noting that the removal of tuition costs could potentially revolutionize the caliber and diversity of students attracted to the program. “If aspiring artists don’t have to be worried about taking on debt, imagine the type of people who might enroll in a program and the kinds of creative choices they can make,” Roxworthy said. She cited the longstanding support from scholarship donors and the school’s board of councilors as key factors in realizing this vision.

The financial barrier has long been a deterrent for many talented individuals aspiring to enter the MFA programs. The previous annual tuition for these programs was $58,234. Currently, the MFA program serves 35 students, all of whom receive financial assistance through scholarships or grants.

Connie Britton, actress and member of the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ board of councilors, noted the misalignment between the creative potential of many deserving artists and the prohibitive costs of education. “Education is so expensive, and so many people who are fully deserving and who can tell stories in ways that we need are completely ruled out because of the financial barrier,” Britton told the Los Angeles Times.

She further emphasized the importance of diverse narratives that are not purely driven by commerce, highlighting the role of MFA programs in shaping the cultural landscape. “I hope MFA students who have this opportunity see that true creation is fundamentally important, and that stories — especially diverse stories, stories we’ve never heard before and stories we’ve never been allowed to tell — are so much more than just monetary value,” she added.

This significant step by USC comes as Hollywood contends with the financial repercussions of the pandemic and the disruptions caused by last year’s strikes.

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