On June 30, 2021, Yale University’s Graduate School for Drama announced that starting in August 2021, tuition would be free for all full-time returning and new students in their masters, doctoral, and certificate programs.
The school had received an endowment of $150 million from business magnate and film producer David Geffen, and would subsequently be renamed the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University.
The school’s deans also said, “Our vision, made possible by Mr. Geffen’s generosity, is of world class graduate theater training that visibly eliminates financial barriers for all prospective students. We aim to reduce educational debt so that aspiring artists and managers may enter the field with both passion and prudence.”
Yale News reported that the endowment is the largest donation on record in the history of American theater. Before this donation, tuition at the school had been $32,800 per year, not including estimated living expenses. It will be the second program at the university to eliminate tuition entirely, after the Yale School of Music did so in 2005.
Geffen is worth around $10 billion, according to reports, and made a fortune in the music and film business.
More details about the gift and what it means for student can be found here.