What’s the deal with the Corcoran?

Media Credit: File Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

GW will pay $25 million for the first phase of renovations to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, part of a merger that will bring about 550 Corcoran students to GW.

Media Credit: Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer
GW will pay $25 million for the first phase of renovations to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, part of a merger that will bring about 550 Corcoran students to GW.

You may not have heard the news, but 550 students from one of the oldest art institutions in the city will join the GW community this fall.

And next year, incoming freshmen from that school could attend Colonial Inauguration.

The details of GW’s merger with the Corcoran College of Art + Design have just started to come into focus. The University has guaranteed that full-time Corcoran faculty will keep their jobs for at least the next year, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s about 17,000 works will head to the National Gallery of Art, the third major player in the deal.

But the decisions that remain have left many students uneasy, said Miguel Perez, the undergraduate vice president of the Corcoran College of Art + Design Student Council. Administrators have yet to determine how they will structure classes, exactly how much art students’ tuition will increase over time and what will happen to Corcoran staff and part-time professors.

“It’s like we’ve been pushed out of an airplane with a parachute, and we’re not sure if it’s going to open or not,” Perez said.

More than 170 people have signed a petition that Corcoran students penned last week, which demands regular meetings with GW officials. Forrest Maltzman, senior associate vice provost for academic affairs, plans to meet with students Tuesday.

Administrators are weighing whether to make the Corcoran a separate arts conservatory or envelop it into the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. If the school merges with the University’s fine arts department, students might have to pay GW’s full $60,000 sticker price, making it the nation’s most expensive arts degree.

The financial aid office is still deciding how it will support Corcoran students. About 92 percent now receive need or merit-based aid, which is about five percentage points higher than GW students. And more Corcoran students – about 5 percent – default on their loans.

Colleen Murphy contributed reporting.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.