Aspiring actors looking to join Harvard’s graduate theater program are out of luck—at least for now. The A.R.T. Institute, as well as the American Repertory Theater, has ceased enrollment after a new report revealed that a great deal of students are taking on too much debt to pay for their degrees, according to the Department of Education.
The report—published last week by The U.S. Department of Education—compared debt-to-earnings ratios for career training programs across the country. The A.R.T. Institute, which was founded in 1987, received a failing grade because its graduates’ annual loan payments exceed 20 percent of their discretionary income. According to the report, tuition for the school’s two-year graduate training program is currently at $63,370, and the department estimates that grads make an average of $36,037 annually—a debt-to-earnings rate of 22.5 percent.
The A.R.T. Institute is a graduate theater training program at the award-winning American Repertory Theater, and students also get the chance for a semester residence at the Moscow Art Theater School in Russia. Each year, 23 students are accepted into the full-time program to study acting, theater studies, voice and speech.
Graduates earn a master of liberal arts degree from Harvard and receive a certificate of achievement from the Moscow Art Theater School. Due to its failing grade, the program is now in danger of losing federal student aid packages.
While current students are not impacted by the report, the school has made the decision to cease enrollment until a decision has been made regarding the federal aid. Apparently, private student aid cannot fill the gap sufficiently for enrollment. In the meantime, the A.R.T. program will be reevaluated and student funding will be more closely addressed.
Other failing programs called out in the report include ITT Tech (which filed for bankruptcy in late 2016), Kaplan University and the University of Phoenix. Many of the programs on the list involve cosmetology, acupuncture, massage therapy and criminal justice fields.