PROVIDENCE: Brown University is providing scholarships to cover the tuition for all master's degree students studying acting and directing.
The Ivy League university in Rhode Island announced the change Friday.
It says it wants to ease student debt, diversify the pool of actors and directors in training, encourage innovation in the arts and ultimately redefine whose stories are told on stage.
The university will begin providing the funds in the 2018-2019 academic year for students in the Brown/Trinity Rep master of fine arts programs in acting and directing.
The university anticipates 40 to 50 students will receive the scholarships, which also will be extended to future students.
Patricia Ybarra chairs Brown's theatre arts and performance studies department. She says even successful artists often can't repay debt, which deters students from low-income and middle-income families from applying to MFA programs.