Cal Grant dumps Academy of Art


UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: SFBay has corrected an error regarding the default rate of Academy of Art student loans. In addition, an Academy of Art representative contacted SFBay and said the school will be appealing the disqualification, and if the appeal is not successful, will make up the difference for affected students with “Presidential Scholarships.”

Thousands of current and prospective students of San Francisco’s Academy of Art and 153 other California universities got some bad news Tuesday: School is about to get a lot more expensive.

The $9,708 Cal Grants still marketed prominently to students on Academy of Art’s website were yanked by the California Student Aid Commission Wednesday after the school failed to meet a graduation rate of at least 30 percent in 2010-11.

Academy of Art’s 2010-11 graduation rate was 29.2 percent.

154 schools were declared ineligible for Cal Grants due to low graduation rates or high default rates — higher than 15.5 percent —  on student loans. About 14,500 students statewide are affected by the ruling.

Academy of Art’s default rate in 2010-11 was 53 percent 10.62 percent, much lower than the 20 to 30 percent seen at other disqualified schools, mostly technical universities. Not low, but not as high as the 80 and 90 percent default rates on some four-year schools, mostly technical universities.

Ineligibility was determined based on requirements set by the Governor and Legislature and enacted for the 2012-13 school year.

The announcement comes at an inconvenient time for students, as it affects funding for the current school year, and most are already enrolled at institutions.

Student Aid Commission Executive Director Diana Fuentes-Michel said in a statement that affected students should remember their options:

“Students should be aware that all California Community Colleges, CSUs and UCs, as well as most private, nonprofit schools such as Stanford and USC, remain eligible to participate in the Cal Grant program.”

In addition to the Academy of Art, other notable private institutions declared ineligible for Cal Grants include Devry University, Heald College, ITT Technical Institute, Expression College and Everest College.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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