Black Arts: The $800 Million Family Selling Art Degrees and False Hopes

Academy of Art University expose:

“…Stephens has plenty to celebrate. Since taking over as president of the family-owned Academy of Art University more than two decades ago, she’s transformed the 86-year-old for-profit institution from a regional operation into America’s largest private art university. Under her watch enrollment has skyrocketed from 2,200 to 16,000, generating an estimated $300 million in annual revenues, heavily subsidized by federal student loans. The Stephens family has turned that pile of art-school tuition into one of the largest real estate empires in San Francisco, with more than 40 properties in prime areas, including a historic former cannery on Fisherman’s Wharf and a 138,000-square-foot office building steps from City Hall. In all, the real estate is worth an estimated $420 million, net of debt, and the family pulls in tens of millions of dollars each year leasing these buildings back to the Academy of Art for classrooms and dorms….”

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