About KCAI

Welcome to the Kansas City Art Institute, a four-year, independent, fully accredited college of art and design offering the bachelor of fine arts degree in a variety of disciplines. This great institution has a stellar history, dating back to its origins in 1885.

Whether you are visiting our website because you are thinking of applying for admission, or you want to contribute funds for student scholarships, or because you simply want to know more about our programs, I want to welcome you and encourage you to make an actual as well as virtual visit to our beautiful campus. I look forward to meeting you.

Tony Jones cbe
Interim President, Kansas City Art Institute
(Photo by James Prinz)


AICAD membership

The Kansas City Art Institute is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, a consortium of 35 leading art schools in the United States.


Higher Learning CommissionMark of Affiliation The Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. In fall 2007, the Higher Learning Commission awarded KCAI a 10-year reaccreditation.

Annual Report

The 2014 President's Report presents highlights of the 2012-2013 academic year and a list of donors. The President's Report for 2014-2015 will be published in November 2015.

Strategic plan

In January 2013, the KCAI board of trustees approved a new five-year strategic plan for the college. Download the KCAI strategic plan (PDF).


The mission of the Kansas City Art Institute is preparing gifted students to transform the world creatively through art and design.


The vision of the Kansas City Art Institute is to be an innovative leader in art and design education.

KCAI is an equal opportunity institution

It is the policy of the Kansas City Art Institute to provide equal employment and learning opportunities to all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, parental status, veteran status, disability or any other basis as required by federal, state or local law. 

Although certain facilities are not fully accessible to persons with disabilities, KCAI employs all means necessary to ensure that qualified students with disabilities will gain access to all resources necessary for a full education. KCAI may meet this standard by relocating classes and services, redesigning equipment, assigning aides, altering existing facilities and constructing new accessible facilities, among other options. KCAI is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are sufficient to comply with accessibility standards.

To ensure access to classes and housing, we ask that persons with disabilities accepted for admission identify themselves within one month of acceptance and indicate the type of accommodation needed.  

KCAI retention and graduation rates

First- to second-year retention rate:

Fall 2013 to Fall 2014 = 77%
Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 = 74% 

Graduation rate (First-time freshman who graduate within six years):



Graduation rates of full-time, first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates within 150% of normal time to program completion, by gender and race/ethnicity and transfer out-rate: 2007 cohort.

Overall graduation rates:
Total                                                                  58%
Men                                                                   67%
Women                                                              52%
American Indian or Alaska native                     100%
Asian                                                                  67%
Black or African American                                 0%
Hispanic or Latino                                              67%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
White                                                                 58%
Tow or more races
Race/ethnicity unkown                                      70%
Nonresident alien
Transfer out-rate                                               1%

Graduation rates are based on the student's completion status as of August 31, 2013.

Fall 2013 full-time undergraduate student demographics

64% Female

36% Male

44% PELL recipients
Self identified members of a major racial or ethnic group:
Nonresident alien: 0%
Unknown: 15%
Two or more races: 7%
White: 63% 
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0%
Hispanic: 7%
Black or African American: 5%
Asian: 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%

Entry into graduate school

On a survey given to all graduating seniors between 2013 - 2015, KCAI students report that they plan to attend the following graduate and professional programs:
Southern Illinois University –Painting
School of Visual Arts - New York City –Photography
Southern Methodist University –Animation and Art History
UMKC–Art History
School of Visual Art–Illustration
Arizona State University –Ceramics
Washington University - Fine Arts
Southwestern College - Art Therapy
University of Kansas - Art History
Kansas City Art Institute - Art Education

Assessment of Student Learning

KCAI is committed to demonstrating educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning. Each major, the freshman foundation program and certificate programs have clearly stated goals for student learning and effective processes for assessment of student learning. These processes are led by faculty in each major, and each spring, each senior’s performance on each learning outcome is assessed. Results are then analyzed to improve teaching and learning and to inform budget and planning processes. In addition to assessing student learning in the majors, our freshman foundation program and our certificate programs, the liberal arts faculty also assess a random representative sample of the graduating senior class on the general education student learning outcomes. 

The students’ level of mastery on the specific learning outcomes is assessed by their respective faculty on a four-point scale: 4=Excellent, 3=Good, 2=Fair, 1=Unsatisfactory. Bar charts for 2014 for each program are shown on the following pages. A chart comparing all of the academic programs’ assessments of their graduating seniors in reference to the six common student learning outcomes across all the disciplines is also attached. These six learning outcomes are assessed in each of the majors and provide a snapshot of what our graduating seniors know and are able to do upon leaving KCAI. 

Student Complaints and Grievances

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education Program Integrity Rule, 34 CFR 668.43(b), institutions of higher education are required to provide contact information for complaints. 

Our mission and vision

Mission: Preparing gifted students to transform the world creatively through art and design. Vision: To be an innovative leader in art and design education.

Virtual Advisor

Have questions about KCAI? Find the answers here.