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University of San Francisco will acquire the San Francisco Art Institute

Feb. 4, 2022
Amid financial struggles and low enrollment, the University of San Francisco will acquire all of the art institute's assets and campus.

The University of San Francisco has announced plans to acquire the San Francisco Art Institute  amid the institute's financial struggles. 

University officials announced that the plan will integrate each institution’s academic art programs and operations as part of a new program, reports The San Francisco Chronicle

The new program would be called San Francisco Art Institute at the University of San Francisco, or SFAI@USF.

The institutes have been discussing the merger for several years.

The art institute has been experiencing financial issues and decreasing enrollment. The institute announced that it would not be enrolling new students for the fall 2020 semester and began encouraging students who could not complete their degrees before May to transfer elsewhere. The school also began preparing their staff and faculty for mass layoffs, reports KQED news

The enrollment at the institute is about 56 students. 

In October 2020, the University of California Regents saved SFAI from foreclosure by buying SFAI’s $19.7 million debt from a private bank. Per that agreement, the UC Regents are the landlords for the art school’s campus.

As part of the acquisition, USF would acquire the institute’s buildings, art and film collections, and assets, including the Anne Bremer Memorial Library, the Diego Rivera Gallery, exhibition space, studios, photo and film labs, and a rooftop amphitheater.

The financial review is expected to be completed before summer, university officials said, which would allow “integrated operations” to start this fall.

Current art institute students who complete their degrees at the University of San Francisco would “receive the same academic and co-curricular services, opportunities, and support that USF students traditionally receive,” university officials said.

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