San Francisco Art Institute is dedicated to the intrinsic value of art and its vital role in shaping and enriching society and the individual. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, SFAI provides its students with a rigorous education in fine arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts curriculum, and critical engagement with the world
Adopted by San Francisco Art Institute Board of Trustees, March 2013.
SFAI is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
SFAI was first accredited on April 30, 1954. The first BFA degrees were awarded in 1955; the first MFA degrees were awarded in 1958.
In June 2015, following an extensive re-accreditation review, WASC reaffirmed SFAI’s accreditation for seven years, confirming that SFAI has satisfactorily addressed core commitments to student learning and success; quality and improvement; and institutional integrity, sustainability, and accountability. The complete Commission Action Letter is available on the WASC website.
The San Francisco Art Institute’s vision includes a commitment to promoting global perspectives, social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and critical understandings of art for different audiences. This is demonstrated through our dedication to:
We at SFAI believe that art-making and learning are community endeavors. For this reason, class attendance is a crucial component of your education. Being present and accountable to one another are the first steps in engaging your community, improving your work, and becoming artists and scholars. Therefore, attendance is mandatory for all classes. Review each syllabus for specific course policies. Students who are unable to attend class due to illness, injury, or other compelling reasons must contact their instructor immediately.
In accordance with federal regulations set forth by the Higher Education Act of 1965, schools are required to provide a list of consumer information to all students enrolled at SFAI.
Information regarding student outcomes is provided on this page, including retention and graduation rates, modeled after the institutional retention/graduation assessment by our regional accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), as well as alumni data from the Strategic National Alumni Arts Project (SNAAP).
Other, general institutional information for current and prospective students at SFAI, in accordance with the Student Right To Know and Campus Security Act of 1990—including financial aid, tuition, campus security policies and campus crime statistics—can be found via the following links on SFAI’s website (Student Handbook).
These Retention, Graduation, and Time-to-Degree Data Tables measure one-year retention rates, graduation rates, and average time-to-degree of the following cohorts:
As an institution within the AICAD consortium (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design), SFAI joined with other North American art schools to participate in the SNAAP (Strategic National Alumni Arts Project) survey, which will occur every two years. The survey provides SFAI with comparative data and enables staff to measure alumni successes against those of SFAI’s competitors.
Results from the 2015 SNAAP frequency report for graduate-level alumni were very promising, with SFAI graduate alumni comprising approximately 11% of all AICAD institution respondents (18 institutions for the Graduate Survey). Further, 90% of SFAI alumni who responded indicated that, upon matriculating in SFAI’s graduate program, they intended to work eventually as an artist, compared to 85% from all AICAD institutions. As reinforced by their responses, SFAI alumni are employed as artists or maintain an artistic practice at a much higher rate than other AICAD institution alumni. For example, 82% of SFAI alumni who completed the survey currently work or have worked as an artist, compared with 80% from AICAD schools and 78% from art, design, and media departments within universities and colleges. 53% of SFAI alumni identify as fine artists, compared to 33% from AICAD institutions and 37% from art, design, and media departments within universities and colleges. Additionally, 88% of SFAI alumni respondents to the survey make or perform art in their personal (not work-related) time, compared to 81% from AICAD institutions and 80% from art, design, and media departments within universities and colleges.
Results from the 2015 SNAAP frequency report for undergraduate-level alumni were equally promising. 94% of SFAI alumni who responded indicated that, upon matriculating in SFAI’s BFA and BA programs, they intended to work eventually as artists. 39% of SFAI undergraduate alumni identify as fine artists compared to 23% from AICAD institutions and 25% from art, design, and media departments within universities and colleges. Additionally, 86% of SFAI alumni respondents make or perform art in their personal (not work-related) time, compared to 80% from AICAD institutions and 80% from art, design, and media departments within universities and colleges.
The United States Department of Education requires higher education institutions to publish contact information for students to file complaints with its accreditor and with the relevant State agency for handling the complaint.
Student Grievance Procedure
San Francisco Art Institute values complaints and concerns by students regarding the institution. The grievance procedure is appropriate for unresolved violations of any SFAI policy and/or agreement with the student, or of any law regulating the student’s relationship with SFAI that has materially damaged the student. The grievance procedure should be initiated by the student and exhausted to completion.
A Student Grievance is not for a complaint that, on the part of another student or an employee of SFAI, has violated a policy against harassment or other behaviors noted in SFAI’s policy against harassment; the complaint procedure in that policy should be used. Please refer to the Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy + Equity Resolution Process of the Student Handbook.
In addition, the Student Grievance Process is not to adjudicate disputes regarding assertions that a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct; the procedure in the Code should be used.
For a complete list of grievance procedures for students, please reference the Student Conduct and Community Standards section of the SFAI Student Handbook.
Filing a complaint with the accrediting agency
Complaints associated with accreditation standards and policies that have persisted through exhaustion of all steps described in the above Grievance Procedure may be presented to the WASC Senior College and University Commission, the main accrediting agency for the San Francisco Art Institute.
Please refer to the Public Comments and Complaints section of the WASC Senior College and University Commission website.
Filing a complaint with the State
Complaints that have persisted through reviews by the institution and the accrediting agency may be addressed to the attorney general of the state of California. A complaint form may be filed with the Public Inquiry Unit of the California State Department of Justice:
Public Inquiry Unit
Voice: 916-322-3360 or
(Toll-free in California) 800-952-5225
The Attorney General's Office will review the process through which the campus attempted to resolve your complaint. If the process complies with the written outline, the Attorney General's Office will, for the purposes of state oversight, consider the matter closed. If the Attorney General determines that the process through which the campus attempted to resolve your complaint did not comply with its published process, the Attorney General may request reconsideration by the San Francisco Art Institute. The Attorney General's Office also has oversight of the San Francisco Art Institute as authorized through the "Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act" [Cal. Gov't Code § 12598], which provides public means to submit complaints regarding non-profit colleges and universities that abuse their status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (23 U.S.C. §501(c)(3). The California Attorney General is given broad powers to undertake law enforcement investigations and actions to protect the public interest under Cal. Gov't Code § 12598.
Most complaints made to media outlets or public figures, including members of the California legislature, Congress, the Governor, or individual Trustees of the San Francisco Art Institute are referred to the President's Office of the institute.
Nothing in this disclosure limits any right that the student may have to seek civil or criminal action to resolve the complaint.
The San Francisco Art Institute has provided this disclosure to you in compliance with the requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, as regulated in CFR 34, Sections 600.9 (b)(3) and 668.43(b). If anything in this disclosure is out of date, please notify Academic Affairs, 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; 415-749-4534, firstname.lastname@example.org.