Best Value Colleges For Art Careers

If you’ve always dreamed of a job that lets you use your creativity, but are discouraged by the fear of becoming a starving artist, pay close attention to the following College ROI rankings.

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Rank 
School Name 
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Graduation Rate
 
% of full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students who began their studies at the given school and graduate within 6 years. Source: IPEDS
Typical Years to Graduate
 
# of years it takes for at least 65 percent of graduates from a given school to receive their diplomas. Source: IPEDS
Average Loan Amount
 
Received by full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students, multiplied to represent amount over four years. Includes all Title IV loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored student loans. Source: IPEDS
% Grant Money Received
 
% of full-time, first-time undergrads who received local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: IPEDS
110.0%9.5%13.5%12.6%$577,000$567,000$624,000$615,000$101,000$111,00086%5$33,50011%
1Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus(In-State)
Annual ROI10.0%
Annual ROI9.5%
Annual ROI13.5%
Annual ROI12.6%
20 Year Net ROI$577,000
20 Year Net ROI$567,000
20 Year Net ROI$624,000
20 Year Net ROI$615,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Total 4 Year Cost$111,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$33,500
Grant Money Received11%
29.5%9.5%10.9%10.9%$514,000$514,000$537,000$537,000$100,000$100,00080%5$22,50011%
2California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo(In-State)
Annual ROI9.5%
Annual ROI9.5%
Annual ROI10.9%
Annual ROI10.9%
20 Year Net ROI$514,000
20 Year Net ROI$514,000
20 Year Net ROI$537,000
20 Year Net ROI$537,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,500
Grant Money Received11%
36.8%6.6%8.5%8.1%$498,000$488,000$545,000$536,000$180,000$190,00086%5$33,50011%
3Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI6.8%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.1%
20 Year Net ROI$498,000
20 Year Net ROI$488,000
20 Year Net ROI$545,000
20 Year Net ROI$536,000
Total 4 Year Cost$180,000
Total 4 Year Cost$190,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$33,500
Grant Money Received11%
48.8%8.8%11.9%11.9%$482,000$482,000$529,000$529,000$109,000$109,00067%5$30,70026%
4Michigan Technological University(In-State)
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI11.9%
Annual ROI11.9%
20 Year Net ROI$482,000
20 Year Net ROI$482,000
20 Year Net ROI$529,000
20 Year Net ROI$529,000
Total 4 Year Cost$109,000
Total 4 Year Cost$109,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$30,700
Grant Money Received26%
58.7%10.2%10.9%13.3%$470,000$495,000$505,000$530,000$108,000$83,00056%5$28,90025%
5University of Massachusetts-Lowell(In-State)
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI10.2%
Annual ROI10.9%
Annual ROI13.3%
20 Year Net ROI$470,000
20 Year Net ROI$495,000
20 Year Net ROI$505,000
20 Year Net ROI$530,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Total 4 Year Cost$83,000
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$28,900
Grant Money Received25%
67.5%7.5%8.4%8.4%$469,000$469,000$492,000$492,000$145,000$145,00080%5$22,50011%
6California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI8.4%
20 Year Net ROI$469,000
20 Year Net ROI$469,000
20 Year Net ROI$492,000
20 Year Net ROI$492,000
Total 4 Year Cost$145,000
Total 4 Year Cost$145,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,500
Grant Money Received11%
79.6%8.4%11.1%9.5%$468,000$445,000$489,000$466,000$89,000$112,00077%$33,20031%
7Fashion Institute of Technology(In-State)
Annual ROI9.6%
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI11.1%
Annual ROI9.5%
20 Year Net ROI$468,000
20 Year Net ROI$445,000
20 Year Net ROI$489,000
20 Year Net ROI$466,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,000
Total 4 Year Cost$112,000
Grad Rate77%
Time to Graduate
Loan Amt$33,200
Grant Money Received31%
85.3%N/A8.7%N/A$466,000N/A$589,000N/A$260,000N/A90%4$32,00011%
8Carnegie Mellon University(Private)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$466,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$589,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$260,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,000
Grant Money Received11%
97.6%8.5%11.8%14.0%$464,000$486,000$539,000$560,000$139,000$118,00092%4$23,90023%
9University of California-Berkeley(In-State)
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI11.8%
Annual ROI14.0%
20 Year Net ROI$464,000
20 Year Net ROI$486,000
20 Year Net ROI$539,000
20 Year Net ROI$560,000
Total 4 Year Cost$139,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,900
Grant Money Received23%
10 (tie)8.7%8.7%10.9%11.0%$436,000$437,000$471,000$471,000$102,000$101,00062%5$22,60039%
10 (tie)San Jose State University(In-State)
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI10.9%
Annual ROI11.0%
20 Year Net ROI$436,000
20 Year Net ROI$437,000
20 Year Net ROI$471,000
20 Year Net ROI$471,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,600
Grant Money Received39%
10 (tie)5.1%N/A12.7%N/A$436,000N/A$628,000N/A$255,000N/A94%4$32,20013%
10 (tie)Stanford University(Private)
Annual ROI5.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI12.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$436,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$628,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$255,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,200
Grant Money Received13%
125.0%5.0%9.3%9.3%$433,000$433,000$575,000$575,000$258,000$258,00094%4$32,10015%
12Cornell University(Private)
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI9.3%
Annual ROI9.3%
20 Year Net ROI$433,000
20 Year Net ROI$433,000
20 Year Net ROI$575,000
20 Year Net ROI$575,000
Total 4 Year Cost$258,000
Total 4 Year Cost$258,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,100
Grant Money Received15%
137.8%6.9%8.8%7.7%$432,000$409,000$453,000$430,000$125,000$148,00077%$33,20031%
13Fashion Institute of Technology(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.8%
Annual ROI6.9%
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI7.7%
20 Year Net ROI$432,000
20 Year Net ROI$409,000
20 Year Net ROI$453,000
20 Year Net ROI$430,000
Total 4 Year Cost$125,000
Total 4 Year Cost$148,000
Grad Rate77%
Time to Graduate
Loan Amt$33,200
Grant Money Received31%
145.2%5.2%7.3%7.3%$424,000$424,000$502,000$502,000$239,000$240,00083%4$34,50018%
14Loyola Marymount University(Private)
Annual ROI5.2%
Annual ROI5.2%
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI7.3%
20 Year Net ROI$424,000
20 Year Net ROI$424,000
20 Year Net ROI$502,000
20 Year Net ROI$502,000
Total 4 Year Cost$239,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$34,500
Grant Money Received18%
157.4%8.0%12.4%14.1%$423,000$437,000$502,000$516,000$133,000$118,00091%4$25,30030%
15University of California-Los Angeles(In-State)
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI12.4%
Annual ROI14.1%
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
20 Year Net ROI$437,000
20 Year Net ROI$502,000
20 Year Net ROI$516,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$25,300
Grant Money Received30%

* N/A indicates school does not have an on campus living option.

Our Best Schools For Art Jobs category incorporates everything from art directors, to audio and video technicians, to copywriters to graphic designers. By using PayScale data to find out which art schools provide the best ROI, you can study a subject you love and still find a way to pay back your student loans and eat more than Top Ramen every night.

A school that seems to perennially excel in any and all areas of study, including fine art, the University of California, Berkeley (“Cal”) often comes in near the top of PayScale’s College ROI Report when it comes to earning a degree in the arts. Notable UC Berkeley alums who went on to a have successful career in the arts include actor Chris Pine (“Star Trek”), musician Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), and legendary actor Gregory Peck (“To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Roman Holiday” and “Moby Dick”).

If you live for Fashion Week and have always dreamed of having your creations appear in the pages of Vogue, then The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, may be the best school for you. Despite the fact that fashion jobs are some of the hardest arts jobs to come by and that fashion is a competitive field, FIT alumni who go on to work in their chosen field often see a solid return on their educational investment. Most people don’t know that the Fashion Institute of Technology is a public school, which may explain how it keeps costs down for students. Reem Acra, Nina Garcia, Nanette Lepore and Calvin Klein all attended FIT.

These days, pursuing a career in the arts requires more than just raw talent if you want to be able to pay your bills. Most art jobs now require some technological know-how, whether it’s familiarity with the software used in graphic design, video production or fashion, or a little knowledge of computer programming and coding. You can absolutely have a successful career in the arts, but before you choose that professional path, it’s imperative that you learn complementary skills and do your research to find out which art schools provide their alumni with the best return on investment.


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