Best Value Art Schools

With PayScale's College ROI Report for Art Schools, students and their parents can quickly and easily identify the arts schools and colleges that provide the highest return on investment.

Students with creative talent seek out art schools in order to pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including fashion design, graphic design and photography.  Read More

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16Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$71,100
Total 4 Year Cost$176,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,600
17Maryland Institute College of Art(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$65,100
Total 4 Year Cost$224,000
Grad Rate72%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,200
18Cornish College of The Arts(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$60,400
Total 4 Year Cost$198,000
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
19San Francisco Art Institute(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$52,500
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,300
20Ringling College of Art and Design(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$50,100
Total 4 Year Cost$232,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$35,500
21Columbus College of Art And Design(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$45,300
Total 4 Year Cost$172,000
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,200
22School of the Art Institute of Chicago(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$27,300
Total 4 Year Cost$235,000
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$39,600
23Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$24,100
Total 4 Year Cost$206,000
Grad Rate65%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$40,100
24Berklee College of Music(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$18,900
Total 4 Year Cost$236,000
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$62,000
25Art Academy of Cincinnati(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$7,300
Total 4 Year Cost$149,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,800
26Kansas City Art Institute(Private)
20 Year Net ROI($4,800)
Total 4 Year Cost$202,000
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,700
27University of the Arts (UArts) - Philadelphia, PA(Private)
20 Year Net ROI($10,800)
Total 4 Year Cost$227,000
Grad Rate61%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$48,500
28Moore College of Art and Design(Private)
20 Year Net ROI($41,600)
Total 4 Year Cost$208,000
Grad Rate58%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$53,600
29Boston Conservatory(Private)
20 Year Net ROI($76,100)
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$59,500
30Maine College of Art(Private)
20 Year Net ROI($144,500)
Total 4 Year Cost$181,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$35,700

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Numerous art and design schools are located across the nation, but some deliver better value than others. If you have your heart set on attending a school that focuses on art, design or music, consider availing yourself of PayScale's data to zero in on the best value art schools before you apply.

With its location in Pasadena, a short train ride away from Downtown Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design, or ArtCenter, has long had a strong reputation for arming students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue successful careers across a wide array of art-and-design-related fields. On top of that, in 2003 the ArtCenter was granted NGO status by the United Nations, in recognition of the school's commitment to addressing social and humanitarian issues through design. With an annual enrollment of about 1,700 students, ArtCenter is a small school that offers a wide array of majors in many disciplines, including environmental design, including environmental design, film, photography, illustration, graphic design, product design, transportation design, interaction design and the fine arts. This prestigious art school was named one of the world's top-25 film schools by The Hollywood Reporter and has produced many notable alumni, including painters, game designers, sculptors and photographers and filmmakers.

The return on investment for art schools tends to be lower than many other school types, simply because the demand for jobs with fine arts skills and degrees simply isn't as high, and the jobs that do exist are very competitive. However, alumni from San Francisco's Academy of Art and Design often see an impressive 20-year net ROI, making it consistently one of the best value art schools on our list.

Consistently ranked among the top art schools in the United States, the Rhode Island School of Design, or RISD, earns a well-deserved slot on our art schools return on investment list. The Providence-based school was founded in 1877 and is located on a 13-acre campus that's contiguous with the campus of Brown University, a top Ivy League school. RISD offers 17 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate majors in many fields, including ceramics, architecture, graphic design and illustration, photography and sculpture. The school counts among its famous alumni Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, fashion designer Nicole Miller and actor/director James Franco.

Rounding out our list of best value art and design schools is the Pratt Institute, which is located in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Clinton Hill. With five schools offering programs in architecture, industrial design, interior design and many other fields, the private university has long attracted some of the most talented creative types in the nation. Many prominent alumni have come out of the prestigious private school, with fashion designer Betsey Johnson being a particular standout.