Yale MFA students demand tuition refund as classes move online

In a letter, students cite the shutdown of facilities due to coronavirus

Yale's Green Hall, where the Yale School of Art is located Via Wikimedia commons

As universities across the country shift to online classes because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, more than 100 MFA students from Yale University’s School of Art are calling for partial tuition refunds, according to Artforum. According to the School of Art’s website, tuition for the 2019–20 year was $39,924. Following the university’s decision to shift its art classes online, the students wrote a letter to Yale president Peter Salovey and to Marta Kuzma, dean of the School of Art, stating, “We are deeply troubled by the far-reaching repercussions of this event, which has tangible and unfathomable implications for our physical and mental health, financial security, professional careers, housing and immigration status . . . Moreover, it has severely curtailed the viability of the unrivaled visual arts education that [the Yale School of Art] claims to provide. In light of these circumstances, we believe that financial reimbursement must play a part in the university’s forthcoming actions.”

Yale’s art facilities and studios were shuttered as of 21 March, and while the shutdown is deemed necessary for public safety, the students signing the letter assert  that the kind of art education they paid for is implausible without those spaces. “The reasons why many of us have chosen to come here—to take part in a spirited community of artists who create ​together, to hone our powers of observation and sensitivity to each other’s work, to interact meaningfully with renowned faculty and visiting artists, to showcase our works in public exhibitions—just to name a few—are no longer tenable,” the letter says.