Students walk on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
Yale announced on Wednesday that it is dropping tuition for students in the school of drama starting this August following a $150 million donation from the David Geffen Foundation.
Yale said that all current and future full-time students in degree and certificate programs at the drama school are eligible for the tuition cancellation beginning in the 2021-22 academic year.
The university said the gift will remove financial barriers to the school’s storied program, which includes Academy Award winners Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand and Lupita Nyong’o among its graduates.
“Yale already provides some of the best professional training available to actors, writers, directors, designers, and theater managers from diverse backgrounds. Removing the tuition barrier will allow an even greater diversity of talented people to develop and hone their skills in front of, on, and behind Yale’s stages,” Geffen said in a statement.
Geffen’s donation is “the largest on record in the history of American theater,” according to Yale. In recognition of the donation, the university renamed the school the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.
The school offers training in acting, design, directing, dramaturgy and dramatic criticism, playwriting, stage management, technical design and production, and theater management. It enrolls about 200 students across 10 degree and certificate programs.
Geffen is a billionaire entertainment mogul, founder of Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and Geffen Pictures. He is also one of the co-founders of DreamWorks Animation SKG. Forbes estimates that Geffen’s net worth is $10.2 billion.
Geffen made in 2002 a $200 million donation to UCLA’s medical school, which was also renamed after him.
Geffen taught a course called “The Music Industry and Arts Management” at Yale in the 1978-1979 academic year, the university said in a release.
Yale’s school of music canceled tuition for its students in 2005 after receiving a $100 million donation.