When people ask where I’ve applied to get my MFA Playwriting degree, they are often surprised to hear that I didn’t apply to NYU or Columbia, two big powerhouses of dramatic writing. And the answer is simple. The funding sucks.
I think the truth is, that if you’re going to “study” dramatic writing – paying for it doesn’t make much sense. It’s not like law school or medical school, where you’ve got job prospects after college.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many people graduate with their MFA’s and end up temping and writing in their off hours. It’s just the lay of the land I think.
Anyhow, I was re-reading an article in The Atlantic published awhile ago, that was about the value of Creative Writing MFA’s and if writing really can be taught. It was a fascinating article, and I highly recommend checking it out.
The reason I bring it up, is that one quote resonated deeply with me. It’s from Brian Evanson, the director of Brown University’s Literary Arts program,
“With the struggle it already is to start one’s career as a writer, we feel it’s unethical of us to give the students a large debt to carry around with them. We admit only people to whom we can give financial support, which is why our program is so small.”
I love that. Unethical. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what it is.