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Art school students called for tuition refunds after classes moved online.

A class at the Yale School of Art. Photo by Michael Marsland, courtesy Yale University.

A class at the Yale School of Art. Photo by Michael Marsland, courtesy Yale University.

As art schools across the country shutter studios and classrooms and shift to online courses in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, students have banded together to demand tuition reimbursements. Artforum reported that more than 100 graduate students from the Yale School of Art have called on the school to provide a partial tuition refund in a letter addressed to the school’s president Peter Salovey and dean Marta Kuzma.

The letter reads:

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 SoA 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 graduate students are not alone in their complaints. Students from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and the Maryland Institute College of Art have also started online petitions to garner support for tuition reimbursement.

Last week, the Hong Kong campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, which moved to online classes in February, announced it would be closing permanently in June due to low enrollment. The decision prompted students and faculty to petition that the school stay open for those still continuing their studies.