Arts Journal - Across the country, art schools have minted a growing number of visual art MFA programs over the last 10 to 15 years. Many of them now face a challenge, as application numbers and enrollment figures are falling, according to the better part of a dozen insiders who spoke to artnet News, some of them on condition of anonymity.
“This year is the worst in memory, like perhaps in this millennium,” said one MFA program head, adding that his impression is that schools that were once getting two applications for every seat may now be getting less than one. “Selectivity rates will go down in lockstep with that decline,” said a dean at a storied Midwest art school, meaning programs that have touted their exclusivity may have less to offer, at least in that regard.
Related: Is Getting an MFA Worth the Price?
The increase in number of MFA programs has been dramatic. New York’s School of Visual Arts, for example, had just four graduate programs two decades ago. By 10 years ago, the school had doubled that number, and by five years ago that number had nearly doubled again. Today, the school hosts 11 MFA programs among its 21 graduate programs, which accommodate over 600 students (and which also include specialties in art education and art therapy). The school even has MFAs in both fine arts and art making.