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Mason Gross to provide full rides for all visual arts graduate students

Potential Mason Gross School of the Arts students seeking a graduate degree next year will have one key advantage over their predecessors in visual arts if they are admitted.

About 15 applicants to MGSA's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree will be accepted into the Visual Arts program, said Gerry Beegan, chair of the Department of Visual Arts. Each of these students will earn a full scholarship for their time at the school.

This two-year program allows students to practice creating art and take seminars in painting, sculpture, photography, media and printmaking, according to a press release. In total students take 60 credits during their time at the school.

“A Fine Art MFA in the Northeastern (United States) has become cost prohibitive to many young artists,” Beegan said in an email. “With these scholarships students from a diverse range of backgrounds, experience and practices can focus on producing their artworks without the anxiety of accumulating debt.”

The new scholarship program also reduces the need for students to create works they will immediately have to sell, he said.

During their first year, students will earn a scholarship amount equivalent to out-of-state tuition, according to the press release. In their second year, they will receive an equivalent to in-state tuition costs.

They will be required to pay for their living costs and any materials necessary to complete the program, Beegan said.

“We are reallocating existing resources and aiming for a smaller MFA cohort,” he said.

These changes will allow the school to support its graduate students.

Currently, there are 34 students enrolled in the program, he said. Of these, 14 joined during the Fall 2015 semester and 20 had been admitted the year before.

Only graduate students are eligible for the new scholarship program, Beegan said. The much greater number of undergraduate students prevents them from also receiving full scholarships.

There are 750 undergraduate and 300 graduate students in total at MGSA, according to the press release.

“There are separate scholarships that support the undergrads, though these are not enough by any means and we are always trying to increase our scholarship funding,” Beegan said.

While students will pay for their materials, they will be provided with studios to work on their projects, according to the press release. These studios will be available for use at any time or day for as long as they attend Rutgers.

During their time here, they can demonstrate their work at a gallery on campus, and at the end of their studies they will have the opportunity to showcase their work in New York City, according to the release.

The MFA program has been at Rutgers since 1960, though MGSA itself was not founded until 1976, according to the release. It is “the flagship public arts conservatory of New Jersey.”

At the time, the MFA program was the “first non-disciplinary specific fine art graduate program” in the nation, according to their website.

Different programs within the school allow current students to work with established artists, including alumni, according to the release.

The bachelor of Fine Arts program is intended for visual arts students who plan to make careers out of their art, according to the school’s website.

“(With this) everyone can be given scholarship support on an equal basis,” Beegan said. “As the MFA is a terminal degree we feel scholarship support is important.”

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