The Yale School of Drama will no longer charge tuition from current and future students following a $150 million dollar gift from billionaire David Geffen.
The multi-million gift is the largest donation ever made to an American theater company, the school noted, adding it will henceforth eliminate tuition for all degree and certificate students to encourage more students to pursue theater education at Yale.
Besides perpetual free tuition, the gift will also help the school incur significant investments in its facilities, President Peter Salovey explained.
“We would also like to be able to build a new home for the school, including a state-of-the-art facility for theater education and production,” he said.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Artists
In honor of Geffen’s generosity, the school has been renamed to David Geffen School of Drama. Since the school did not admit any new enrollees for fall 2021, the first set of students to benefit from the tuition-free program would be the batch of 2022 along with the currently-enrolled 200 students.
Geffen, who taught a course at Yale in the late 1970s, believes astronomical tuition rates at Ivy League schools serve as a hurdle to most college aspirants. Removing the tuition barrier will therefore pave the way for a more diverse pool of students to work on Yale’s stages.
Okay so I had already been planning on applying to the Yale school of drama for grad school but they are now a tuition-free institution so I'm just going to go ahead and super crazy apply to even get that chance at that because that's absolutely insane that that is real.
— Kess Jones (@Waateey) June 30, 2021
“I hope this gift will inspire others to support similar efforts to increase accessibility and affordability for arts education at colleges and universities across the country,” Geffen added.
The 100-year-old school’s distinguished alumni include Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Lupita Nyong’o, and Frances McDormand.