Moore Responds to Wall Street Journal Article About Art School Debt

For Immediate Release
March 6, 2013

(Philadelphia, PA) A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that graduates of art-focused schools rack up the most debt of college students nationally. The article, however, implied that students aren’t able to pay back their debts. That’s not reflective of what we’re seeing at Moore College of Art & Design, the first and only visual arts college for women in the U.S.

Ninety-nine percent of Moore BFA students receive some amount of financial aid in 2012-13, a significant portion of which is funded by the College. Moore students’ loan default rate is among the lowest in the country at 4 percent, well below the national average of 13.4 percent. This low rate, particularly given the average loan amount for those who borrow, is a result of our success in preparing students for inspiring careers in the fields of art and design.

That being said, debt load is only one factor to consider when determining the value of a college degree. Our students receive intensive, personalized instruction in small classes, providing the skills they need to compete in the workforce. We also require a 240-hour internship for all majors as part of our career-focused education. This internship, which we subsidize for every student, plants the seeds early for the dogged determination necessary to maintain the lifelong commitment to being professional artists and designers.

Our high job placement rates speak to this.  In a recent survey of our graduates, 82 percent reported working full-time within six months of graduating, with ninety percent working in their field of study. Ninety-nine percent of all Moore graduates maintain active freelance careers, even when employed full-time.

Sara Lenton, a 2011 graduate, is one of our success stories. Lenton, a graphic artist with a degree in Illustration, was employed three weeks after graduation. In addition to financial aid, she also received a competitive scholarship from Moore which helped defray the cost of tuition. That, coupled with her successful career in the arts, means she will be able to pay back her debt sooner than anticipated.

In her words, “a Moore education pays for itself.”


Moore College of Art & Design educates students for inspiring careers in art and design. Founded in 1848, Moore is the nation's first and only women's art college. Moore's career-focused environment and professionally active faculty form a dynamic community in the heart of Philadelphia's cultural district. The College offers nine Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees for women. A coeducational Graduate Studies program was launched in summer, 2009. In addition, Moore provides many valuable opportunities in the arts through The Galleries at Moore, a Continuing Education Certificate program for adults, the 91-year-old acclaimed Youth Art Program for girls and boys grades 1-12, The Art Shop and the Sculpture Park. For more information about Moore, visit

Published on March 6th, 2013