This one’s for the theater kids: The prestigious Juilliard School will now offer its four-year master of fine arts degree in acting free of charge.
“With this remarkable gift, Juilliard’s mission of creating great artists to thrive within and serve the arts at large has taken an enormous step forward,” said actor Laura Linney, board vice chair and Juilliard alum, in a press release. “They have changed the lives of generations of artists to come, and I know those artists will enrich our culture and nourish our existence with an artistic astuteness and vigor we all need and deserve.”
Funding for the program came from several sources. A donation from Juilliard trustee and theater producer Stephanie McClelland and her husband, Carter, was added to already-existing scholarship money; the McClellands also challenged other donors to match their donation.
Theater producer John Gore came through with a “major gift,” according to the press release, and he was joined by other foundations and estates.
Free tuition is new to the four-year acting MFA, but it’s always been a goal of the program, which began in 2012. Fourth-year students received a year’s free tuition and a living stipend from the beginning — this just extends the free tuition to everyone in the program.
Without financial assistance, a year’s tuition at Juilliard runs $53,300. However, the school has eight programs that are either tuition-free or fully funded, including studies in jazz, music, opera, playwriting and string quartet and the Music Advancement Program for ages 8-17. More than one-quarter of the school’s students do not pay any tuition.
“Many of our MFA students come in with significant undergraduate debt,” Evan Yionoulis, the dean of Juilliard’s drama division, told the New York Times. “[Free tuition] will allow them to be here without that financial weight on their shoulders, and allow them the freedom, when they graduate, to make choices to build their craft and to have the patience it takes to build their career.”
Free tuition for the acting MFA begins with the 2024-25 academic year. Now the big hurdle is being talented enough to get into Juilliard!
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.