How the Economy Has Affected Juilliard: A Few Questions and Answers

The Great Recession of 2008 continues to bring considerable anxiety and uncertainty to colleges, arts organizations, and the overall population. Although economists tell us that the recession has technically ended and the stock market has recovered some of what it lost last year, unemployment remains high and the wealth of individuals and institutions remains lower than it was just prior to 2008. No one can predict whether or not 2010 will bring further recovery. Organizations and families alike are adjusting to this new reality by planning ahead carefully, re-evaluating their priorities and spending patterns, and having contingency plans at the ready.


This all applies to current and prospective students as much as it does to anyone else—perhaps more. Juilliard’s senior staff has collected the following questions that they hear most frequently from students, and prepared some answers that we hope are candid and informative.

How are scholarship decisions made?
A team of Juilliard administrators meets annually to determine scholarship awards for incoming students. Scholarship decisions are based on financial need and merit. Need is determined by a federally mandated formula that includes such factors as the student’s and parents’ income and assets, number of family members, number of children in college, and dependency status. Juilliard will also consider other special circumstances such as educational debt. Merit is largely determined by a student’s audition results. Students with the strongest audition results who also demonstrate financial need will usually receive the largest scholarship amounts. This amount will be considered the student’s “base” amount for the duration of his or her program of study.

Will my scholarship increase, stay the same, or decrease next year?
We are currently in the process of determining how much total scholarship will be available for next year. The total is based on the value of the endowment (which pays for about 80 percent of scholarships), and an assessment of how much can be raised from donors (fund-raising covers most of the other 20 percent). Once those figures are known in January, the Financial Aid Office will begin reviewing the circumstances of each current student, and will also make sure that there is enough money set aside to award to the new class that will enroll next fall.

What happens if my family situation changes?
Juilliard strives to be responsive to students’ changing financial needs, especially in this current economic climate. Students are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with a financial aid counselor. While we may not be able to increase a student’s scholarship, we may be able to perform a “Professional Judgment” adjustment to the student’s FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) data, which may lead to additional federal grant or loan eligibility.

Why does tuition continue to increase?
Three reasons: First, the cost of operating the School goes up each year due to inflation or increases in costs relating to the myriad services that are involved in running an institution (for example: electricity and steam that is needed to run the building, license fees for software, insurance, etc.). Second, in many cases there is a cost to improving and expanding what we do (example: new library materials, technology support, etc.). Third, the endowment (which covers 44 percent of expenses) often grows at a slower rate than expenses.

What happened to the money raised during the Capital Campaign?
The campaign met its scholarship goal, and in fact $85 million was added to the scholarship endowment. Had that money not been raised, the average scholarship would be $7,500 lower today than it actually is.

Did the renovation project cause tuition to be higher, or take money away from the scholarship budget?
Not one tuition dollar has been used to pay for the building expansion/renovation, nor has the project caused a decrease in the scholarship budget. A separate component of the campaign, to enhance the School’s unrestricted endowment, makes it possible to pay for the project. That component has reached 75 percent of its goal, and our trustees, president, and development staff are hard at work raising the other 25 percent. In addition, Lincoln Center has contributed a substantial amount of money to help defray the costs of the Juilliard project.

How can I get more scholarship money?
The amount of scholarship money awarded at the time of admission is considered your “base” scholarship. This amount generally stays the same each year. In prior years, students with financial need received small increases to offset annual tuition increases. This has not been possible in recent years due to the economic downturn. However, when possible, scholarship funds are reserved for emergency appeals. Priority for these funds is given to students who have exhausted all other options (including student loans) and would not otherwise be able to continue at the School without additional assistance. The School encourages all students to do their best in classroom and performance settings, and has other ways of recognizing outstanding work besides direct scholarship awards.

Why are you offering me $3,500 in work-study when you know I won’t have time to work that much due to my schedule?
We encourage all students to take advantage of the work-study program, not only for the financial benefits but for the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and to create interdivisional relationships. We understand that not all students’ schedules will allow for consistent work during the school year, but students are also eligible to work at the School year round and often work full time during break periods.

I’m on the meal plan and sometimes I miss a meal or don’t use my full allotment for a meal; why can’t I get that money back?
Students on the 19 meal plan can spend $18.75 per day. However, through their room-and-board fee students are only charged $15 (that’s what we pay to the food provider). So, the “missed meal” factor is built into the price students pay.


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