UTSA word mark in white
UTSA word mark in white

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 11:25 AM



There is a deep historic connection between the two institutions and over the last year, the two schools engaged in an exploration phase to determine how best to formally collaborate. SSA and UTSA are jointly committed to expanding opportunities for current and prospective art students, and for broader community arts education—filling the societal need for creative problem solvers with multiple skills who readily adapt to the velocity of change in the 21st century.

This collaboration, realized through a strategic transition, will create an expanded, unique new school of art within UTSA via the acquisition by UTSA of all, or substantially all, of the assets, and all of the real estate, of SSA. It offers an exceptional opportunity to develop a broad portfolio of interdisciplinary programs in keeping with the global trends toward cross-disciplinary curricula that would strengthen the new school and expand the new school’s relationship with the San Antonio arts community. It will expand both the physical presence and the SSA mission, strengthen arts degree programs, bring UTSA’s art programs to Downtown San Antonio, and provide financial sustainability. Perhaps more importantly, it ensures the legacy of SSA's reputation in arts education. This collaboration will best accomplish the aims of both institutions to expand and ensure the long-term continuity of arts education in San Antonio.

The two schools, both with Downtown San Antonio footprints, are of similar ages—SSA is 56 and UTSA is 52; share core purposes to expand education, learning, and public engagement in our community; many SSA faculty members are UTSA MFA graduates; SSA graduates enroll in the UTSA MFA program; and SSA’s art galleries feature many UTSA faculty members’ work. More recently, the schools entered into a teach out agreement under THECB/SACSCOC. Both schools are also accredited institutional members of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The move allows for a collaborative creation of a new and expanded school focused on the arts at UTSA, under the UT System umbrella. The current BFA degree programs administered respectively by SSA and the UTSA Art and Art History department will be integrated under a new school in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts anchored at the SSA campus in Downtown San Antonio.

The continuity of the SSA’s brand and influence is extremely important to arts education, the San Antonio community, the region, and UTSA. The university is excited to continue offering community programs such as the Young Artist Programs, adult continuing education programs, exhibitions program, and its official Fiesta event. Upon the completion of due diligence, Board approval and the negotiation of transaction documents, UTSA will own and preserve SSA’s historic buildings and grounds; maintain relationships with Club Giraud, maintain named endowments for scholarships, the Debbie McMahon Fiber Arts Symposium, named spaces including galleries, studios and buildings, and its world-class studios. UTSA and SSA leadership will work together to smoothly transition named SSA scholarships, buildings, programs, and endowments to UTSA/UT System with vital student, faculty, staff, alumni, donor, and community input.

To honor the vision of the founders of SSA, UTSA hopes to utilize SSA’s name and brand with respect to its visual fine arts programs in a meaningful way and will initiate discussions with the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System ("Regents") so the legacy of SSA can continue for future generations.

The collaboration will provide benefit in many ways. It is intended to spur cultural and economic growth through the effective use of resources; increase community engagement; generate cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange; elevate creative literacy through an increase of teaching and studio space; align the schools’ educational missions; and attract a broad range of students. The collaboration will also allow the schools to capitalize on the growing use of technology in the arts and visual communication spaces, expand digital capabilities and offerings to appeal to prospective students, and advance creative innovation. UTSA’s shared vision is to become recognized as one of the best schools focused on arts writ large with a deep local impact and broad global reach.

The collaboration will expand resources available to all stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. UTSA’s trajectory is steeply positive as it makes progress toward becoming a top tier Carnegie Research 1 University. UTSA Enrollment growth continues to outpace others and enjoys a positive and exciting outlook for its Capital campaign. In the context of more than 34,000 students currently enrolled and nearly 1,400 faculty members, UTSA currently offers five degrees and two minors through its Department of Art and Art History, and 80+ degrees and certificates through its College of Liberal and Fine Arts.


The schools hope to begin the transition in the fall of 2021 and expect to complete the transition in time for the academic year beginning fall 2022. While this is an ambitious goal, it is one that has strong support of the SSA team, the UTSA team, and the UT System.


The addition of the SSA campus reinforces UTSA’s commitment to Downtown San Antonio and enables its growth as an urban-serving institution. For example, UTSA’s new School of Data Sciences and its explorations around charting a new future for the Institute of Texan Cultures speak to this intentionality. Given UTSA’s most recent land additions in the downtown core, we expect to develop a revised master plan that will be informed by existing plans by both institutions.

UTSA’s plans to continue SSA’s efforts to further the contribution of arts education to its students, the San Antonio community, the region, and the state. SSA’s initiatives align with many of UTSA’s strategic initiatives, including UTSA’s plan to expand its Downtown San Antonio presence.

Yes. UTSA will continue to honor, preserve, and protect the historic buildings and grounds while adhering to the strictures of the Texas Historical Commission and the San Antonio Conservation Society.
Considering today’s national competitive education landscape and the importance of sufficient resources to provide high-quality instruction through art school studios and labs, collaborative partnerships are an increasingly common occurrence for independent art schools. Other recent examples include collaborations between Pacific Northwest College of Art and Willamette University; Watkins College of Art and Belmont University; New Hampshire Institute of Art and New England College; and the School of the Museum and Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University.

For SSA Students

UTSA and SSA are excited to bring their curricular strengths together for the benefit of our students and community. After students complete their application for formal transfer of enrollment to continue in the BFA degree program, SSA students will become enrolled UTSA students. SSA and UTSA leadership, faculty, and staff will work to guide students through each step of the transfer process. SSA students who complete formal transfers to UTSA will be eligible for federal financial aid, and existing SSA scholarships will also remain available. UTSA disburses $300M in federal aid each year, as well as millions in Texas grant and institutional financial aid. Because of UTSA’s accreditation standings with its accrediting body, with their transfer, SSA students will be eligible for these sources of financial aid. The schools will encourage and do everything possible to assist current students in continuing in their BFA degree programs.
As the schools begin the transition process and determine details about the transfer process, the schools will communicate those details to all affected students and make them publicly available.
SSA’s and UTSA’s BFA programs are expected to be fully integrated in time for the academic year beginning fall 2022. Accordingly, prospective students should apply for admission through UTSA’s streamlined application process.

Yes, as UTSA students, all are eligible to apply for student housing.


While there are no formal agreements for discounts at Cadillac Lofts, they have discounted rental for SSA students in the past and have indicated plans to continue that practice. Students should contact the property management directly for rental information.


The University is currently reevaluating campus planning needs through an updated post-pandemic report and will identify and plan future opportunities based upon that study.


Yes, all UTSA students are eligible to apply for federal aid. Current SSA students should fill out a FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov using UTSA’s school code of 010115. The FAFSA is currently open and can be completed now.


Yes. Information on scholarships available can be found at  https://onestop.utsa.edu/scholarships/hub/.


No, the application fee will be waived for all current SSA students.


UTSA will evaluate each SSA student’s past transcripts to determine which credits will transfer. https://future.utsa.edu/admissions/transfer/.


UTSA is working with SSA to transfer student files with the future goal of issuing UTSA transcripts on behalf of SSA.

As current UTSA students, all students transferring from SSA have access to VIA U-Pass, which allows them free, unlimited bus service throughout the greater San Antonio area, including all UTSA campuses. This service will be available in August 2022 to students transferring from SSA.

UTSA is deeply committed to inclusion and accessibility for all students as part of its broader Student Success efforts. All students requiring academic accommodations can request support through Student Disability Services, which offers a wide range of services. Students can also find support through the Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice, which promotes an equitable and socially just campus for students through community building, campus advocacy, education and programming. Individual advocacy is available through Student Assistance Services, which assist students with navigating academic and non-academic matters related to their enrollment to help support their progress to degree completion and personal and professional development. Additionally, UTSA offers on-campus health care and wellbeing services, including advocacy, counseling and mental health services through Wellness 360 and Wellbeing Services.

For details on other student support services available at UTSA, visit the Student Support Gateway.


For Staff & Faculty


February - Talent Acquisition Meet & Greets: Meet one-on-one with our Talent Acquisition team to tell us more about your current position, your qualifications and experience and your career goals.

March-April - Create Positions: People Excellence will work with hiring managers to develop job descriptions in order to post positions for SSA staff. A benefits orientation will be offered for both faculty and staff.

March-April - Applying for positions: In order to apply for these positions, you must be a current SSA employee. These positions will not be open to outside applicants. In addition, SSA staff can choose to apply to any open positions at UTSA, including full-time or part-time positions at any location and under any work modality (on campus or remote) that meet their needs and qualifications.

April-May - Interviews: Hiring managers will schedule interviews with top candidates for each position.

June - Job Offers & Onboarding: Hiring managers will extend offers to final candidates. If the offer is accepted, reference and background checks are required before starting the position. At this time, UTSA does not require drug testing.

July – New Employee Orientation: Orientation for new UTSA employees joining the university from SSA will take place on July 1. This will be the first official day at UTSA.

This timeline is for planning purposes only. It is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances or unique situations.


In addition to meet and greets with our Talent Acquisition team, SSA staff will have the option to meet with one of our People Excellence team members, Sharon Martinez. Sharon will hold office hours Wednesday mornings at the SSA campus starting on February 23 and continuing through the transition process. She will be located on the 2nd floor in the Urschel building.

Until the anticipated transaction close date of July 1, your employment will still be under SSA.


UTSA Campus Services oversees parking operations for all UTSA campuses. At this time, we expect that SSA parking lots will eventually require a UTSA parking permit, possibly beginning in fall 2022. Options are currently being explored for employee, student and community parking permits.
As part of the agreement between SSA and UTSA, UTSA plans to offer employment opportunities to SSA employees. The Talent Acquisition team will work with each employee to provide support through the transition process. Resume and interview skills workshops will be offered to give each employee the best chance for success.

SSA employees are welcome to apply for as many positions at UTSA as they are interested in. Hiring managers will select the best candidate for each position based on qualifications and experience.


SSA employees have access to employee assistance through their current benefits. Visit mutualofomaha.com/eap or call (800) 316-2796 for a confidential consultation and resource services.


Please review the benefits and compensation information on the People Excellence website for more detail about these areas.

A benefits overview will be offered in April. For a brief summary of benefits, visit https://www.utsa.edu/hr/Benefits/BenefitsInBrief.pdf

As part of the agreement, UTSA will offer employment opportunities to SSA employees. Until an employment offer has been made and accepted at UTSA, employment remains with SSA through the end of June 2022. If an employee has questions about their employment at SSA, they should contact Bryan Edwards (bedwards@swschool.org) at SSA.

For SSA Alumni, Donors and Trustees


The school will maintain the current names of all transferred scholarships, endowments, buildings and assets. UTSA and SSA leadership will work together to smoothly transition named SSA scholarships, buildings, programs, and endowments which are transferred to UTSA/UT System with vital student, faculty, staff, alumni, donor, and community input. Donor intent and restrictions per the donor/gift agreement will continue to determine how and for what purpose the funds are used.

After UTSA assumes responsibilities for the facilities and classroom instruction for Fall 2022, UTSA will invite current SSA Board of Trustees members to honor the SSA’s legacy by remaining engaged through a formal campus Advisory Council to advance and support of the new art school and its programming.

UTSA looks forward to a long and robust partnership with Club Giraud, particularly in regard to the club’s historic charitable purpose of supporting SSA. Club Giraud will continue to support the three missions for which it was founded in 1981: to preserve the historic buildings which it occupies, to provide funds for the preservation of the Ursuline complex (recorded on the National Register for Historic Places and a Texas Landmark) and to help support a high-quality community school for the visual arts. Membership dues for Club Giraud will continue to be used to support those missions exclusively. UTSA values that support and will continue to build on it for the people and programs that will continue at the SSA campus, including those degree-seeking students enrolled in the newly merged school as well as students enrolled in community arts programs.

The lease between Club Giraud and SSA, which is in place through 2028, will transfer to UTSA on June 30, 2022, when the real estate transfer occurs. Club Giraud will always be a place for member families to enjoy special dinners, holiday events, weddings, bridal showers, Fiesta celebrations, private parties/events, birthday celebrations and more.


For Community Education Students and Instructors

Currently, there are no plans to reduce or discontinue any existing classes or fields/forms of art. We are committed to continuing to provide a breadth of high-quality program options.
Enrollments will be reliant upon community demand; we will seek to expand our course availability as learners show a desire to return to the classroom.
The registration process will merge with the existing UTSA registration processes following the Summer 2022 program catalog. The impact on the registration process should be minimal; community education students can expect to see a change in the registration software and the layout of the registration process.
We are striving to ensure that our programs continue to be affordable for all learners, and do not expect a substantive change in the price of our community classes. We are currently discussing the options for continuing and expanding the private financial support of these programs which could allow for reduced tuition or tuition assistance programs.
Because community instructors will be working on a contract basis, they will not be eligible for UTSA tuition benefits.
We are working with UTSA Security Services to finalize the details regarding campus access, and we aim to continue to provide access to campus resources for all program participants.
We would like to begin offering some classes at the UTSA Main Campus to serve additional community members in the San Antonio area; however, we are planning to continue offering the majority of classes at the present location.
We are finalizing the details regarding parking at the current campus and will release additional information as soon as it is available.
We are planning to continue offering all courses currently offered with the current instructors in place.
The pay rates for instructors have been transitioned to UTSA at the same levels as previously received.
Current community instructors will have preference in teaching classes as we transition. If a new instructor position is needed, then it will be filled through the existing UTSA hiring processes.
Community class assignments will continue to be made by the existing Program Directors, in consultation with Professional and Continuing Education leadership.
Yes. Artists interested in teaching a community class or workshop can find full guidelines for developing and submitting a proposal on SSA’s Employment Opportunities webpage.
For Young Adult Programs, contact Patricia Morales. For Adult Programs, contact Barbara Hill.  
Current Program Directors, Patricia Morales (Director of Young Artist Programs) and Barbara Hill (Director of Community Programs), will continue to be the primary points of contact for all programs.
Yes. All current opportunities are listed on SSA’s Employment Opportunities webpage.