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California Institute of the Arts Students Protest Rising Tuition Costs

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Students at the California Institute of the Arts have petitioned school officials to reconsider increasing tuition by 4.5 percent for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Declaring the institute in a “state of crisis,” students have asked school administrators to apply the previous year’s tuition rate of $48,660, instead of the new $50,850 rate, to all students that are currently enrolled until they graduate.

The school announced the 4.5 percent tuition increase on March 4 after the Board of Trustees voted its 2019-20 budget.

Since then, students have been at the forefront of various protests seeking more student representation in budget committee meetings, along with the restoration of the previous tuition rates.

On March 12, students created signs and protested outside the gallery Hauser & Wirth to pressure the school’s Board of Directors and President Ravi S. Rajan not to approve the tuition increase. Days later, during the school’s annual CalArts REDCAT Gala, students asked for donations from alumni to cover the rising tuition costs as well.

“While we are honoring a distinguished alumni tonight, we remind you that there are future honorees in their studios right now at CalArts that will not have the opportunity to graduate or receive this award because of the cost of attendance,”  Alia Ali, an MFA student at the California Institute of the Arts, said during the gala.

In order to address the escalating crisis of high tuition costs, California Institute of the Arts students are also demanding that the Board of Trustees allows greater participation from students, faculty and staff in the future.

“The administration is trying to bring students into the process. It’s totally unusual,” CalArts professor Charles Gaines said. “Twenty years later, these people won’t be alive when it all crashes down.”

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