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Juilliard’s MFA in acting will be tuition-free beginning fall 2024

Donations from Stephanie and Carter McClelland and John Gore have made the change possible.

Juilliard students (Credit: Courtesy of the Juilliard School)

Juilliard has announced that the Drama Division’s Master of Fine Arts in acting will be a tuition-free degree, beginning with the 2024-2025 academic year. Existing scholarships combined with new gifts will make it possible for students to complete the four-year degree at no tuition cost.

Juilliard trustee and theater producer Stephanie McClelland and her husband, Carter McClelland, helped fund existing scholarships for this program through a matching challenge grant. The match challenge was met by John Gore (chairman and CEO of the John Gore Organization, parent company of Broadway News) with additional gifts from Jacques and Margot W. Kohn Foundation and several estates.

Beginning in fall 2024, the first-year MFA class will be known as John Gore/ fellows. Third-year students will be known as McClelland Fellows.

“We are grateful to Stephanie and Carter for their vision and generosity in crafting this challenge, to John for his matching gift, and to all who have contributed to this important step for graduate education in drama at Juilliard,” said Juilliard president Damian Woetzel.

The MFA in acting joins a growing list of tuition-free degrees (or those fully funded by scholarships) at Juilliard including jazz, music performance, opera studies, playwriting and string quartet studies, historical performance as well as the Doctor of Musical Arts program. The music advancement program, serving youth from the tristate area in the preparatory division, is also tuition-free.

“Potential should never be curtailed by access to education,” said Gore. “I am thrilled that through, I can help provide a pathway for generations of promising talent to gain the training they need to flourish and make an impact through the theater. I was not able to finish my drama school training due to a lack of funds after the death of my father, so I am proud and happy to be helping to ensure the same situation can never happen for any MFA drama student at Juilliard.”

Juilliard’s MFA program was founded in 2012 by then-Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division James Houghton. Since its inception, the final year has been tuition-free and also provides a living stipend to fourth-years. The Juilliard School was founded in 1905; Juilliard Drama began in 1968.