Is Juilliard locking up protesting students?

Is Juilliard locking up protesting students?


norman lebrecht

June 11, 2021

Reader’s Comment of the Day on the tuition fees dispute at the New York music college:

… they are upset since tuition has been raised yet no actual tangible benefit comes from the increased cost. If anything, the education during this time is worse online than it would be in person, so an increase in tuition is insane. Pretty sure most of these people cannot afford to pay the increased cost as well. Tuition used to be around $600 a year at these schools 50 years ago, and now it’s over $50,000. There is an argument to be made that the degree will help a lot in the job field even if you study with the same person privately, mostly as your studies are validated and you are able to teach students yourself with a valid degree. Studying privately does not give you the rehearsal experience or broader musical education you need either.

To my knowledge, the administration tried to lock the protesters in the building overnight and have already banned these students who have protested from accessing the main building of the school where their classes, rehearsals, and lessons take place. If this sort of situation happened at my school a few blocks north, the staff would have been fired and there would be an investigation into why staff would react in that way. the actions of the school in this case are insane given that students are protesting and expressing their rights to share their experiences and voices. I completely understand saying “no” to them, but banning the people from accessing the school they are still paying to go to is literally insane. given that many of my teachers have told people that had low scholarship offers compared to other schools that its probably more worthwhile to study at a different school that is more affordable, and that they can still study with them on the side means that even the teachers agree that the cost of these private conservatories is ridiculous. I am going to one and I am only paying for housing, yet its still overpriced because it is cost of living in nyc. i saved probably around 12 grand by just staying at home than I would have if I traveled back to school last year, and I maintained so much more sanity by spending the year with family rather than in a petri dish in nyc…

It is completely understandable to request a freeze on tuition if your family lost their livelihood during the pandemic, and you will never be able to pay the school back for all this online “education” that was so worthwhile to your total degree. If you think these kids should pay an extra couple grand for some sub-par online conservatory experience that is missing in-person interaction and rehearsals, then maybe your vision of reality is warped. I feel bad for my friends because they paid nearly the same amount they did past years for completely online school without many of the things that we chose to go to a school specifically for. usually you pay more for something that is better. I must just be so silly for thinking that though.


  • Albus Dumbledore says:

    And for their bravely, fifty points to Gryffindor.

  • E Rand says:

    Someone’s gotta pay for all those diversity officers. You wanted it? You got it, nitwits.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      They’re finding out what most adults have always known; there are many things more important than equity, diversity, inclusion. Money is one of them. But don’t tell the kiddies.

  • freddynyc says:

    And I thought the protest was about introducing hip hop studies to the required curriculum……

  • GUEST says:

    Having been at The Yard myself almost 50 years ago, I can assure you tuition was not $600. Ten times that, plus rent (no dorm then.)

    • Craig says:

      In 1977 the tuition was 6,000.00 and I had a scholarship of 600.00 and a Pell grant. My studio was 250.00 a month. I turned down a free ride at another music school to attend. I hope the school is offering adequate psychological support to the current class….

    • Richard F says:

      I went to Juilliard from’68 to ’72. I remember tuition being $1200 a semester at its most expensive. I must say, though, that Juilliard administration is handling things just as they did back then. We, in the orchestra, were protesting to play a concert because of the behavior of a conductor. The Presidant and admin. threatened us by holding our scholarships over our heads. We eventually played, but their tactics are always high handed and dictatorial when it comes to any conflict. Btw, as I recall, they paid the instrumental teachers rather poorly — even the very famous ones. It was the honor of teaching at Juilliard!

  • Andrew Clark says:

    Maybe in 19th century czarist Russia this was normal. Maybe even during the Hapsburg reign in Western Europe. Dear Juilliard, THE CURRENT YEAR IS 2021! Jacking up your rates before the US finds out where the arts bottom out post Covid? What a bunch of greedy creeps!!!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I expect millions of Americans already think they’re living in post-czarist Russia anyway. It would be hard to disagree with them. The New York Times is the new Pravda.

    • Bill says:

      “‘Where the arts bottom out” has very little to do with what Juilliard (or any other school) charges. MIT doesn’t charge more for tuition when science and engineering grads are in great demand, and surely if music schools set their prices based on expected return of the education provided, most would be slashing their rates!

    • BigSir says:

      No one has to attend music school. Its not DeVry where you get hired as second assistant to the HVAC repairman right out of school. Every high school kid knows how bad the job market is. They choose to take the risk, as they should. The kids that eventually have to go to plan B will succeed at that, if they were good enough to get into a good music school in the first place. I’ve seen it a number of times so please, stop your whining.

  • Capitalist Tim says:

    I think these “socialists” should honor their convictions and refuse to accept the Kovner scholarship, which is funded by Bruce Kovner, a Republican capitalist.

  • What can you expect from a school that’s in bed with China?

  • Guest says:

    Juilliard is a business. It’s time the world know that. They will do anything to save face at the expense of their students.

  • Matti Raekallio says:

    They should try some sort of protest at Tianjin Juilliard and see how well they liked 30 years of re-education

  • Peter Mennino says:

    The students don’t have to pay. They can and should look to places like Indiana University, Stonybrook, or other state colleges that cost much less. No one is forcing them to go to Juilliard. If they want free, get into Colburn, Curtis, or Rice. Good luck, three schools that are super conservative and don’t offer nearly the education of Juilliard. And as far as the argument made in the above, that online is worse than in person, the tuition rate being debated here is for the coming academic year, which will be in person. And as for the retrograde thinking, that you can just study with your teacher privately, is absurd and get all that you get out of the degree is ridiculous. That’s like saying you can take your English literature course with a private tutor and skip your BA program. The education here is a lot more than just the private lessons you take.

  • Flora Caster says:

    The notion that the students should pay less for what they got online is silly. First off, the students could have taken a leave of absence or deferred enrollment. They knew what the tuition situation was going to be. They made their decision and had options. They could have transferred or tried to transfer to lower cost institutions. And as far as cost for Juilliard goes, the school had to pay faculty and staff, maintain the buildings, invest in technology they did not have, institute testing and other health systems, lost a ton of money on dorms that were not used, etc. But yes, it is true, the Juilliard endowment has gone up significantly during this period, as the stock market has been very strong

  • Living the dream of being accepted to the most prestigious music school in the world is expensive, but worth it. At least it was for me. Anyone check out tuition at Princeton, Harvard or Columbia/Barnard lately?

    • anon advocate says:

      Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia, like most other highly selective US colleges and universities, offer need-based financial aid, fully covering tuition/room & board for students from families below a certain income level (for Princeton, it’s currently $160,000 for full tuition remission, and approximately 20% of Harvard students don’t pay a dime). As a peer institution, Juilliard really ought to do the same (and yes, they can afford to).

      • Matthew Reston says:

        And Juilliard discounts tuition by at least 60 if not 70 percent in the aggregate. Wealthy students pay; those who are not, pay much less. As it should be.

        • anon advocate says:

          The Ivies and other selective schools offer much more than that to low and middle income students. Their educations are *fully* tuition free, and often room/board as well. 60-70% tuition discount is really not that much these days, considering the total cost of attendance at Juilliard is close to $80,000. -And unfortunately Juilliard’s financial aid policy is not based on financial need alone, so well-off families often get the very same tuition discount as families from lower income brackets.

    • Anon says:

      The most prestigious music school in the world is The Curtis Institute of Music, which has no tuition.
      But you are correct on your other point. Other schools do charge similarly high tuition.