Ringling College continues upward trajectory towards pre-eminence

The Ringling College Fall Open House on Oct. 8 brought an estimated 850 people to campus following Hurricane Ian.
The Ringling College Fall Open House on Oct. 8 brought an estimated 850 people to campus
following Hurricane Ian.

Ringling College continues upward trajectory towards pre-eminence

The Ringling College Fall Open House on Oct. 8 brought an estimated 850 people to campus following Hurricane Ian.
The Ringling College Fall Open House on Oct. 8 brought an estimated 850 people to campus
following Hurricane Ian.

Ringling College of Art and Design is thriving. Even throughout the pandemic, and through a decade of art school and college closures throughout the US, Ringling College continues to experience its strongest student enrollment ever.

In the 2022-23 academic year, Ringling College welcomed its highest enrollment of all time with a total student headcount of 1,705. This is a growth increase of 40% since 2014 when 1,219 students were enrolled. Historically, the College has more than quadrupled its enrollment since 1985, when only 399 students were enrolled. This enrollment also represents the most racially and ethnically diverse student population in the College’s history. 

So yes, the College is growing substantially, but what are some of the driving factors to which we can attribute this growth? And what active steps are we taking to accommodate such growth?


Ringling College is currently educating its largest number of international students, who now make up 21% of the total enrollment from 57 countries around the world. The College is also a proud participant of the United World College Davis Scholars program, hosting 41 scholars on campus for the 2022-23 academic year. This integration of different cultures, along with students from nearly every US state and Puerto Rico, helps create a richly diverse and culturally vibrant learning and living environment on campus. 

Cutting-Edge and Forward-Thinking Degree Programs 

Ringling College prides itself as always being at the forefront of the creative industries. Recent program introductions to reflect industry demand have included the ‘build-your-own’ Visual Studies BA program, a Virtual Reality Development BFA program which is the first of its kind in the world at any art and design school and saw its first graduating class in spring 2022, and the Entertainment Design BFA, which focuses on themed built environments. 

Existing majors have also been growing and updating per industry standards. Ringling’s Game Art BFA program is a great example showing alignment and adaptation in the marketplace. The Game Art program is at its highest enrollment of all time with more than 200 students, a 43% increase in the past 10 years.

Other majors, including the world-renowned Computer Animation BFA and Illustration BFA programs also experienced their strongest enrollment of all time for the 2022-23 school year.

The College is also home to the Ringling Rollers, Ringling’s inaugural varsity esports team.

Student Success

Ringling College has always been committed to its students and providing them with the highest level of professional support, both as current students and as alumni.  The College has seen its third consecutive year of an increase in our retention rate, which is also above the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design’s (AICAD) average. In preparation for graduation, the Center for Career Services routinely brings over 100 of the industries’ top recruiters to campus (or virtually when needed). Recruiters provide valuable critiques to students’ work and interview for internships and employment. Many of our graduates are securing competitive, full-time positions before they even graduate. Ringling College is dedicated to helping students turn their passion into a solid, lucrative profession. Read a selection of Ringling College of Art and Design success stories here.

Rankings and Facilities

In the world of higher education, rankings matter. Ringling’s renowned Computer Animation BFA program is currently ranked #1 in the world by The Rookies for the second year running. 

Ringling College is ranked #2 in the World for Motion Graphics and #3 in the World for Game Design and Development – Production Excellence also by The Rookies

Illustration is ranked #3 in the US and #1 in the South and Florida by Animation Career Review

Many other programs boast competitive rankings and awards, including being recognized as a Top 25 Film School in the US and a Top Graphic Design School in Florida.

As enrollment numbers continue to steadily grow, so must the campus facilities to support such growth. In the past five years alone, the Ringling College campus has evolved substantially. 2017 saw the opening of the Alfred R. Goldstein Library, Ringling’s ‘library of the future’ complete with collaborative project spaces, Cintiq stations, special collections, and more. 

In 2018, the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center opened, containing state-of-the-art makerspaces for printmaking, glassblowing, woodworking, letterpress, and photography. Ringling College Studio Labs were also completed in 2018, providing two 8,400 sq. ft. soundstages and a post-production facility for student and professional use. 

New residence halls have also been in demand, with Bridge Apartments opening in 2018 for upperclassmen and Greensboro Hall opening in 2020 for first-year students, amongst full renovations of existing campus housing. A new dining facility and market, Cunniffe Commons will open in January 2023.

And let’s not forget the opening of the Sarasota Art Museum–Sarasota’s first museum dedicated to contemporary exhibitions and showcasing the ‘art of our time.’ Located in the repurposed historic Sarasota High School building, the Museum opened its doors in December 2019. An extension of Ringling College, Sarasota Art Museum serves as the College’s and community’s living laboratory for the exploration of contemporary art and continuing education.

In addition to the statistics and accolades above, much of Ringling College’s success can also be attributed to our technology, teachers, and tenacity.

The College is made flexible and nimble thanks in large part to its high-end technology resources and dedicated IT department. During the height of the pandemic, students were able to access Ringling’s high-powered software and computers remotely, from anywhere in the world.

Ringling College faculty also play a big role in student success. As practicing professionals, they are experts in their fields and are wholeheartedly committed to each and every student. And finally, Ringling College is tenacious. We are clever, forward-thinking, creative, and determined, and we look forward to what the future holds and how our students will go on to shape it.

To learn more about Ringling’s award-winning students, alumni, and faculty, visit the online newsroom.

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