These 10 Art Schools Have the Best ROI

3. The New School (New York, New York)

photo by Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

The New School is a private university located in New York City’s Greenwich Village. It has five major schools, including the Parsons School of Design and the College of Performing Arts.

The New School boasts some impressive stats. For one, 88% of 2017 graduates went on to professional opportunities within a year of graduation. Additionally, more than 1,000 employers hired New School students for internships in the 2016 school year. Some of its notable alumni include American fashion designer Alexander Wang and author Jack Kerouac.

The school’s integrated curriculum allows students to explore coursework across the school’s colleges. That means students have more flexibility to study various disciplines. The New School’s Parsons School of Design also has a Paris program, which allows students to study abroad in Paris for up to a year.

20-year net ROI: $254,000


2. Laguna College of Art and Design (Laguna Beach, California)

A private college located in Laguna Beach, California, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is one of the smallest colleges on this list with approximately 700 students. It offers 11 majors under its Bachelor of Fine Arts program. It also has three Master of Fine Arts degree programs, which include game design, drawing, and painting.

LCAD offers its students a unique opportunity to study fine arts abroad at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. It also offers a program at Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy. There, students work alongside faculty members to create art and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Back at home, LCAD is home to the LCAD Gallery, which is located in downtown Laguna Beach. It gives students the opportunity to showcase their work through exhibitions and also educate the local community.

20-year net ROI: $328,000


1. California College of the Arts (San Francisco and Oakland, California)

photo by edwardhblake via Wikimedia Commons

California College of The Arts (CCA) is a private college of art, design, architecture, and writing, and it has two campuses — one in San Francisco and one across the bay in Oakland.

It offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Its graduate school is particularly well known; U.S. News and World Report ranked it No. 10 for fine arts programs, No. 6 for ceramics, and No. 4 for graphic design. In addition to ranking No. 1 on Payscale’s list of best value art schools, CCA landed No. 3 on its list for top average alumni salary (for those with undergraduate degrees).

Aside from rankings, CCA is all about “learning through making.” Not only does it focus on theory, it also emphasizes the importance of practicing, and the Bay Area is the perfect backdrop for students to gain the skills and exposure they need to succeed. 

CCA graduates have gone on to work for big-name companies, including Pixar/Disney, Apple, Facebook, Google, Mattel, and Nike. Additionally, many alumni have launched their own businesses and have had their work featured in major museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MoMA New York, Guggenheim Museum, and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

20-year net ROI: $361,000

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