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2021 Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans in the United States

508 Colleges
94,501 Bachelor's Degrees
$39,263 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools for Vets

Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans in the United StatesWith 94,501 bachelor's degrees handed out in 2018-2019, visual and performing arts is the #8 most popular major in the United States.

This year's Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans in the United States ranking looked at 508 colleges that offer a bachelor's in visual and performing arts. The schools that top this list are recognized because they have great visual and performing arts programs and a strong support system for veterans and active service members.

Some of the factors we look at when determining these rankings are overall quality of the visual and performing arts program at the school, veteran affordability, and veteran population. See our ranking methodology to learn more.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools for Veterans list, to help you choose the best school for you.

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

2021 Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools for Veterans in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for vets studying visual and performing arts.

Top 25 Most Veteran Friendly Visual & Performing Arts Schools

Our rankings recognize University of North Carolina School of the Arts as the #1 school in this year's rankings. Located in the midsize city of Winston-Salem, UNCSA is a public school with a small student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at UNCSA, the school also landed the #1 rank in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States ranking.

Our most recent data shows that 32 of the 1,042 students enrolled at UNCSA were GI Bill® students, of which 25 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $8,071. UNCSA does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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California Institute of the Arts earned the #2 spot in our 2021 rankings. CalArts is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Valencia. CalArts also took the #2 spot in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States rankings.

Our most recent data shows that 19 of the 1,506 students enrolled at CalArts were GI Bill® students, of which 9 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $20,341. During this same period, 6 students received scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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School of the Art Institute of Chicago earned the #3 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large city of Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. School of the Art Institute of Chicago did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #3 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

According to our most recent data, School of the Art Institute of Chicago supports 3,639 students, and 44 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 21 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $20,375. On top of their other funding sources, 14 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Berklee College of Music. Located in the large city of Boston, Berklee College of Music is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Berklee College of Music, the school also landed the #7 rank in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States ranking.

Our most recent data shows that 346 of the 6,963 students enrolled at Berklee College of Music were GI Bill® students, of which 278 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $8,724. During this same period, 29 students received scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Berklee College of Music does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#5

The New School

New York, NY

Our rankings recognize The New School as the #5 school in this year's rankings. Located in the city of New York, New School University is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, New School University also is in the top 5% of our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States ranking.

Our most recent data shows that 118 of the 10,544 students enrolled at New School University were GI Bill® students, of which 95 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $21,291. On top of their other funding sources, 58 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Montserrat College of Art landed the #6 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Montserrat College of Art is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Beverly. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, Montserrat College of Art is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Of the 367 students enrolled at Montserrat College of Art, 4 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $16,124. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Maryland Institute College of Art comes in at #7 in this year's ranking. MICA is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Baltimore. MICA also took the #4 spot in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States rankings.

According to our most recent data, MICA supports 2,178 students, and 47 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 36 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $23,550. In addition to receiving other benefits, 36 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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University of Southern California landed the #8 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, USC also is in the top 5% of our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States ranking.

Among the 47,310 students enrolled at USC, 1,323 are GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 908 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $21,271. To help with additional expenses, 415 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Rutgers University - New Brunswick landed the #9 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Rutgers New Brunswick is a very large public school located in the city of New Brunswick. Rutgers New Brunswick also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list. It's in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

Among the 50,254 students enrolled at Rutgers New Brunswick, 442 are GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 256 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $12,136. To help with additional expenses, 4 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Our rankings recognize Massachusetts College of Art and Design as the #10 school in this year's rankings. Massachusetts College of Art and Design is a small public school located in the large city of Boston. Massachusetts College of Art and Design not only placed well in our veterans rankings. It is also #8 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

According to our most recent data, Massachusetts College of Art and Design supports 2,087 students, and 23 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 14 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $10,163. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Pacific Northwest College of Art landed the #11 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Pacific Northwest College of Art is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Portland. Pacific Northwest College of Art excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

According to our most recent data, Pacific Northwest College of Art supports 574 students, and 28 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 17 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $18,321. In addition to receiving other benefits, 8 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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College for Creative Studies earned the #12 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large city of Detroit, CCS is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at CCS, the school also landed the #6 rank in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States ranking.

Of the 1,485 students enrolled at CCS, 41 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 20 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $22,191. During this same period, 12 students received scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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#13

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University landed the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Florida State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Tallahassee. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, Florida State is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

According to our most recent data, Florida State supports 41,005 students, and 986 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 582 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $5,897. On top of their other funding sources, 20 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Florida State does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#14

Maine College of Art

Portland, ME

Maine College of Art comes in at #14 in this year's ranking. Located in the small city of Portland, MECA „ Meca „ Portland School of Art is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. On top of its placing in our veterans rankings, MECA „ Meca „ Portland School of Art also did well on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

According to our most recent data, MECA „ Meca „ Portland School of Art supports 462 students, and 14 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 8 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $18,265. In addition to receiving other benefits, 2 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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#15

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University landed the #15 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Academy of Art University is a moderately-sized private for-profit school located in the large city of San Francisco.

Of the 10,616 students enrolled at Academy of Art University, 1,254 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 1,123 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $16,746. In addition to receiving other benefits, 215 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Academy of Art University does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design comes in at #16 in this year's ranking. Located in the large city of Milwaukee, MIAD is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, MIAD is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Our most recent data shows that 14 of the 756 students enrolled at MIAD were GI Bill® students, of which 9 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $14,849. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#17

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

University of Utah landed the #17 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. U of U is a very large public school located in the city of Salt Lake City. U of U excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Our most recent data shows that 988 of the 33,023 students enrolled at U of U were GI Bill® students, of which 723 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $9,580. During this same period, 39 students received scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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University of Nevada - Las Vegas comes in at #18 in this year's ranking. Located in the medium-sized city of Las Vegas, UNLV is a public school with a fairly large student population. UNLV also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list. It's in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

Our most recent data shows that 1,576 of the 30,457 students enrolled at UNLV were GI Bill® students, of which 1,048 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $6,443. To help with additional expenses, 1 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program. UNLV does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Cornish College of the Arts landed the #19 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Cornish College of the Arts is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Seattle. Cornish College of the Arts did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #5 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Of the 625 students enrolled at Cornish College of the Arts, 27 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 19 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $19,150. During this same period, 13 students received scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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#20

Columbia College Chicago

Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago comes in at #20 in this year's ranking. Located in the large city of Chicago, Columbia is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. On top of its placing in our veterans rankings, Columbia also did well on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list. It's in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

Our most recent data shows that 154 of the 6,825 students enrolled at Columbia were GI Bill® students, of which 109 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $19,064. On top of their other funding sources, 52 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Columbia does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#21

University of Houston

Houston, TX

University of Houston landed the #21 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Located in the city of Houston, U of H is a public school with a fairly large student population. U of H excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Of the 46,324 students enrolled at U of H, 1,380 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 935 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $9,578. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Columbia University in the City of New York comes in at #22 in this year's ranking. Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. Columbia excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Of the 31,077 students enrolled at Columbia, 797 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 528 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $20,878. To help with additional expenses, 361 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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#23

The University of the Arts

Philadelphia, PA

Our rankings recognize The University of the Arts as the #23 school in this year's rankings. Located in the large city of Philadelphia, UArts is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, UArts is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Our most recent data shows that 47 of the 1,914 students enrolled at UArts were GI Bill® students, of which 26 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $19,783. During this same period, 10 students received scholarships through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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#24

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University landed the #24 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Carnegie Mellon is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Pittsburgh. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Carnegie Mellon, the school also landed the #9 rank in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States ranking.

Our most recent data shows that 107 of the 14,029 students enrolled at Carnegie Mellon were GI Bill® students, of which 80 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $19,066. On top of their other funding sources, 40 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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#25

Otis College of Art and Design

Los Angeles, CA

The #25 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Otis College of Art and Design. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, Otis Art Institute is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, Otis Art Institute is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts in the United States list.

Our most recent data shows that 33 of the 1,144 students enrolled at Otis Art Institute were GI Bill® students, of which 23 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $22,275. To help with additional expenses, 15 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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Rest of the Top 50 Schools for Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans in the United States

#26

Belmont University

Nashville, TN
#31

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA
#33

California College of the Arts

San Francisco, CA
#35

New York University

New York, NY
#37

Kansas City Art Institute

Kansas City, MO
#38

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#39

Purchase College

Purchase, NY
#40

Emerson College

Boston, MA
#41

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA
#44

Full Sail University

Winter Park, FL
#45

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA
#46

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#49

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans in the United States badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 508 different United States visual and performing arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, TN
52 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
53 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
54 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
55 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
56 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce, TX
57 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
58 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
59 University of North Texas Denton, TX
60 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
61 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
62 Laguna College of Art and Design Laguna Beach, CA
63 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
64 School of Visual Arts New York, NY
65 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
66 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
67 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
68 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
69 Ball State University Muncie, IN
70 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
71 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
72 Minneapolis College of Art and Design Minneapolis, MN
73 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
74 Columbia College Hollywood Tarzana, CA
75 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
76 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for United States vets studying Visual & Performing Arts that almost earned our Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans in the United States award.

Rank College Location
77 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
78 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
79 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
80 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
81 Montclair State University Montclair, NJ
82 Towson University Towson, MD
83 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
84 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
85 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
86 Wayne State University Detroit, MI
87 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
88 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
89 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
90 DePaul University Chicago, IL
91 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
92 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
93 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
94 Los Angeles Film School Hollywood, CA
95 Pratt Institute - Main Brooklyn, NY
96 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
97 American University Washington, DC
98 Columbus College of Art and Design Columbus, OH
99 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
100 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
101 University of Memphis Memphis, TN

Visual & Performing Arts by Region

View the best for vets Visual & Performing Arts schools in a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Visual & Performing Arts Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 25,815
Design & Applied Arts 19,137
Music 15,747
Drama & Theater Arts 12,791
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 11,308

View All Visual & Performing Arts Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 45,514
English Language & Literature 42,686
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 24,008
Philosophy & Religious Studies 12,372
Theology & Religious Vocations 10,962

View All Visual & Performing Arts Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

**GI Bill® student total includes all chapters of the GI Bill® program (e.g., Post-9/11, Montgomery GI Bill, Reserve Education Assistance Program, and Veteran Readiness and Employment)

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Bonnielou2013.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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