Visual & Performing Arts

2021 Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans

508 Colleges
96,991 Bachelor's Degrees
$39,263 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools for Vets

Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for VeteransIn 2019-2020, 96,991 visual and performing arts students received their bachelor's degrees, making the major the #8 most popular in the country.

For this year's Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans ranking, we looked at 508 colleges that offer a bachelor's in visual and performing arts. Not only do the schools that top this list have excellent visual and performing arts programs, but they also offer a lot of support to 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. For more information, check out our ranking methodology.

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.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. 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

Check out the visual and performing arts programs at these schools if you want to see which ones are the best for vets.

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. UNCSA also made our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list, coming in at #1.

Our most recent data shows that 32 of the 1,070 students enrolled at UNCSA were GI Bill® students, of which 25 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients 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 suburb of Valencia. CalArts not only placed well in our veterans rankings. It is also #2 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Among the 1,166 students enrolled at CalArts, 19 are GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 9 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $20,341. On top of their other funding sources, 6 students qualified for 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 city of Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. School of the Art Institute of Chicago also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts rankings.

Among the 3,132 students enrolled at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 44 are GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 21 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $20,375. To help with additional expenses, 14 students received funds through 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 medium-sized student population. Berklee College of Music also made our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list, coming in at #7.

According to our most recent data, Berklee College of Music supports 6,631 students, and 346 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 278 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $8,724. In addition to receiving other benefits, 29 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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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 large city of New York, New School University is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, New School University is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

According to our most recent data, New School University supports 9,047 students, and 118 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 95 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $21,291. To help with additional expenses, 58 students received funds through 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 fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Beverly. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Montserrat College of Art also is in the top 5% of our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts ranking.

Our most recent data shows that 4 of the 362 students enrolled at Montserrat College of Art were GI Bill® students. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $16,124. Montserrat College of Art does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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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 large city of Baltimore. MICA did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #4 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Our most recent data shows that 47 of the 1,892 students enrolled at MICA were GI Bill® students, of which 36 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school 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 very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. On top of its placing in our veterans rankings, USC also did well on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

Our most recent data shows that 1,323 of the 46,287 students enrolled at USC were GI Bill® students, of which 908 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $21,271. In addition to receiving other benefits, 415 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. USC does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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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 small city of New Brunswick. Rutgers New Brunswick 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 list.

Our most recent data shows that 442 of the 50,411 students enrolled at Rutgers New Brunswick were GI Bill® students, of which 256 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $12,136. To help with additional expenses, 4 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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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 did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #8 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Our most recent data shows that 23 of the 1,894 students enrolled at Massachusetts College of Art and Design were GI Bill® students, of which 14 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $10,163. Massachusetts College of Art and Design does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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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 large city of Portland. Pacific Northwest College of Art also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

Of the 569 students enrolled at Pacific Northwest College of Art, 28 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 17 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $18,321. During this same period, 8 students received scholarships through 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. CCS did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #6 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Our most recent data shows that 41 of the 1,512 students enrolled at CCS were GI Bill® students, of which 20 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $22,191. In addition to receiving other benefits, 12 students qualified for 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. Florida State 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 list.

According to our most recent data, Florida State supports 43,569 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. To help with additional expenses, 20 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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#14

Maine College of Art

Portland, ME

Maine College of Art comes in at #14 in this year's ranking. Located in the city of Portland, Maine College of Art is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population. Maine College of Art also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

Among the 435 students enrolled at Maine College of Art, 14 are GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 8 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $18,265. To help with additional expenses, 2 students received funds through 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.

According to our most recent data, Academy of Art University supports 8,928 students, and 1,254 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 1,123 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $16,746. During this same period, 215 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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Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design comes in at #16 in this year's ranking. Located in the city of Milwaukee, MIAD is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly 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 list.

According to our most recent data, MIAD supports 925 students, and 14 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 9 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school 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 fairly large public school located in the medium-sized 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 list.

According to our most recent data, U of U supports 33,081 students, and 988 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 723 are 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. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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University of Nevada - Las Vegas comes in at #18 in this year's ranking. Located in the midsize city of Las Vegas, UNLV is a public college with a fairly large student population. On top of its placing in our veterans rankings, UNLV also did well on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

Of the 31,142 students enrolled at UNLV, 1,576 were GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 1,048 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $6,443. On top of their other funding sources, 1 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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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 fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Seattle. Cornish College of the Arts not only placed well in our veterans rankings. It is also #5 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Our most recent data shows that 27 of the 482 students enrolled at Cornish College of the Arts were GI Bill® students, of which 19 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $19,150. On top of their other funding sources, 13 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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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 college with a moderately-sized student population. Columbia excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Among the 6,769 students enrolled at Columbia, 154 are GI Bill® students, according to our most recent data. Out of that number, 109 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $19,064. To help with additional expenses, 52 students received funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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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. UH is a very large public school located in the city of Houston. UH 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 list.

Our most recent data shows that 1,380 of the 47,090 students enrolled at UH were GI Bill® students, of which 935 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $9,578. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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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. In addition to being on our bet for vets list, Columbia is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

Of the 30,135 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 GI Bill® award for tuition and fees at the school was $20,878. During this same period, 361 students received scholarships 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. UArts 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 list.

Our most recent data shows that 47 of the 1,530 students enrolled at UArts were GI Bill® students, of which 26 were Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients 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 fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #9 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

According to our most recent data, Carnegie Mellon supports 13,519 students, and 107 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 80 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $19,066. In addition to receiving other benefits, 40 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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

According to our most recent data, Otis College of Art and Design supports 1,073 students, and 33 of those are GI Bill® students, of which 23 are Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. The average tuition and fees award for these recipients was $22,275. On top of their other funding sources, 15 students qualified for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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

#26

Belmont University

Nashville, TN

#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 section represents the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans 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 vets studying Visual & Performing Arts that almost earned our Best Visual & Performing Arts Colleges for Veterans 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 25,775
Design & Applied Arts 19,683
Music 15,839
Drama & Theater Arts 13,307
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 11,965

View All Visual & Performing Arts Related Majors >

Majors Similar to Visual & Performing Arts

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 44,236
English Language & Literature 41,537
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 23,783
Philosophy & Religious Studies 14,549
Theology & Religious Vocations 8,184

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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