Cleveland Institute of Music’s plan to go tuition-free


Courtesy of Cleveland Institute of Music

Mixon Hall, built as an expansion of CIM’s main building in 2007, seats over 250 audience members and is home to over 100 performances each year.

Darcy Chew, Contributing Writer

On Sept. 15, Paul W. Hogle, the president and CEO of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) wrote a “Personal View” segment for Crain’s Cleveland Business about his goal to make CIM tuition-free.

Calling it a “moonshot,” Hogle acknowledges that the goal is ambitious, yet he remains optimistic and firm in this decision.

“At CIM, we think it’s mandatory,” he said.

Hogle explains that this decision is needed as “research suggests that, soon, no student pursuing a highly specialized education will pay for that degree. In CIM’s case, a tuition-based model intensifies the competition over a declining number of students, some of whom are not prepared for conservatory training and not likely to become professional musicians.”

He also elaborates that the purpose of making CIM tuition-free is to also ensure that CIM is a place for all and not only children of the wealthy. 

“We must beckon the best young musicians in the world, no matter where those musicians happen to fall on the socioeconomic spectrum,” Hogle said. “[W]e want our students focused on music. We feel strongly that to achieve at the highest level, to take their place as the future of classical music, our students can’t be distracted, working extra jobs to pay off loans.”

But for CIM to be tuition-free, it requires significant support from the community and Hogle is thus appealing to Cleveland and Northern Ohio community members for philanthropic support. 

“As we seek to attract the world’s most talented classical music students to Cleveland over the next 100 years, we’ll need to invite all of Northeast Ohio to consider playing a part.”

At the moment, there are still uncertainties about when this change will take place and how much support is needed, but at least currently, CIM is committed to ensuring its tuition will not increase. The 2022-23 academic year is their fifth year in which tuition has not increased from their base tuition fee of $40,000 set in 2018-19.