Ringling College of Art and Design is thriving. Over the course of a two-year (and continuing) pandemic, and through a decade of Art school and college closures throughout the US, Ringling College is experiencing its strongest student enrollment ever.
In the 2021-22 academic year, Ringling College welcomed its highest enrollment of all time with a total student headcount of 1,663. This is a growth increase of 32% since 2015 when only 1,262 students were enrolled. Historically, the College has more than quadrupled its enrollment by 317% since 1985, when only 399 students were enrolled.
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?
Internationalization. Ringling College is currently educating its largest number of international students, who now make up 21% of the total enrollment from 54 countries around the world. The College is also a proud participant of the United World College Davis Scholars program, hosting 40 scholars on campus for the 2021-22 academic year.
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 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 had a banner year in 2021-22 with a 48% increase from Fall 2020, growing from 54 to 80 new incoming students in the program and setting the record for largest incoming class. 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. This year we have the highest six-year graduation rate on record. 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. You can read a selection of Ringling College of Art and Design Success Stories here.
“Ringling’s quality of work and the conceptual development behind it is at a very high level. The genuine passion for creativity here [Ringling College] is at a higher level than any other school that we recruit from.” – Ken Maruyama, Ret. Executive Director, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Rankings and Facilities. In the world of higher education, rankings matter. Ringling’s renown Computer Animation BFA program is currently ranked #1 in the world by The Rookies. Many other programs boast competitive rankings and awards, including being recognized as a Top 25 Film School in the US, #4 in the world for Motion Graphics, 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 is also set to open in Spring 2023.
And let’s not forget the opening of 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 which 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 stats 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 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.