California Budget Cuts Affect Quality/Availability of Higher Education

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Academy of Art University Relieves Student Worries due to Impending Education Cuts

As the effects of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's push for vast state budget cuts at California's public higher education institutions are felt, more students may rely on the stability of private schools like Academy of Art University for a quality education. Academy of Art University's student population has grown continuously in recent years, a trend that the school plans to support as public institutions face budget cuts that could significantly stall enrollment.

This round of higher education budget cuts could reach close to $500 million dollars, resulting in enrollment caps, tuition increases, faculty and program reductions, and larger class sizes at California Community College, California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems. One report estimated that budget cuts could make CSU and UC turn away over 27,000 students in the next two and a half years.

State budget cuts do not affect privately funded schools like Academy of Art University. "We will continue to offer and expand upon our programs that will be taught by the same highly qualified instructors as always," said Elisa Stephens, Academy of Art University president.

While budget cuts force state-funded schools to consider cutting degree programs, Academy of Art University recently wrapped up the first semester for its new Multimedia Communications School. Offering BA and MA communications degrees, the groundbreaking program focuses on short form content, cutting-edge technology and hands-on experiences.

"We're looking to the future. Studying and understanding media trends is what makes the Academy's Multimedia Communications School unique," said Multimedia Communications School Director Jan Yanehiro. "Our communications degree students know what the future of broadcasting looks like. When they graduate, they will be prepared for a career."

In addition to limiting enrollment and cutting programs, state budget cuts could lead to a less qualified faculty and a diminished classroom experience. Higher salaries will draw the best teachers to more competitive schools, and fewer instructors mean fuller classrooms.

"Not only do we hire the best of the best at the Academy, we only employ instructors currently working in their fields. We want students to have the business savvy and the creative abilities to get the job of their dreams when they graduate," said Stephens.

With an 18:1 student/teacher ratio and 80 percent graduate job rate, Academy of Art University is committed to its high standard of art school education. The Academy will continue to prepare the creative work force of California, the nation and beyond, regardless of state budget cuts.

About Academy Of Art University, San Francisco:
With over 13,000 students, Academy of Art University is the nation's largest private art and design university. Established in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BFA, M.Arch and MFA programs in 14 different majors, as well as continuing art education with classes in copywriting, fashion merchandising, interior design, new media, computer animation, sculpture, graphic design, cinematography, industrial design, digital photography and car design. Multimedia Communications is the school's newest major, offering BA and MA degrees. Students can also enroll in a flexible online degree program in art and design.

Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (BFA-IAD) and NAAB (M-ARCH).

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Amanda Wardell
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