Girl standing against a mural


Perpich Arts High School opened its doors in 1989 and graduated its first class in 1991. It is a tuition-free, public, residential high school for students in 11th and 12th grades.

The school is part of Perpich Center for Arts Education, a state agency created in 1985 to promote access to and opportunities in arts education for all Minnesota students, teachers and schools.

Want to attend Perpich? Applicants go through a competitive application and review process. Perpich wants students with three things: passion for their art, potential, and curiosity! Arts and academics are equally important and are both taught through creative and analytical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making.

The school has:

  • a block schedule system with 90-minute periods
  • half-credit academic/arts electives in 50-minutes blocks four days a week each semester
  • arts courses of three hours a day every afternoon
  • a teaching staff of both teachers and artists
  • accreditation by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools
  • membership in the National Association for College Admissions Counseling

Perpich is a college preparatory program. That means an academic program with English, mathematics, science, social studies, and world languages. Arts courses also are college preparatory and require college-level reading and written work in addition to technical work in the particular art area.

Quick facts

Enrollment maxes out at 310 Junior and Senior students from all over Minnesota.

The average class size is 18 students.

The residence hall can accommodate approximately 140 students.

Faculty includes 16 full-time and 10 part-time instructors.

The school day is 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Your quick reference guide to learn all about Perpich.

What is Perpich Arts High School?

Perpich Arts High School is a statewide, comprehensive public school for grades 11 and 12 offering a rigorous academic program with intensive coursework focused in six arts areas: dance, literary arts, media arts (photography/video), music, theater (including a musical theater track), and visual arts. The school’s enrollment is limited to 310 students.

The arts high school is one component of Perpich Center for Arts Education, a state agency that also provides professional development, outreach services, and library resources in arts education to all K-12 students, teachers, schools, and districts in Minnesota.

Is Perpich a public school?

Yes. There is no tuition, although, there are school fees just as at other public schools.

Where can I find the high school calendar?

Our agency calendar is located at There you can see all of the high school events plus events related to our Library and our Professional Development and Resources Program.

Click here for the Perpich Arts High School 2021-2022 Printable Year-At-A-Glance Calendar

How is the Arts High School funded?

Funding comes from the Minnesota State Legislature. In addition to that funding, students who live in the dormitory may have to pay a residence fee, currently $3,600. This is based on their permanent home address. Cafeteria meals are available to students at a cost per meal that is currently $2.50 for breakfast, $3.50 for lunch, and $3.50 for dinner. All students currently pay a $400 activity fee that covers field trips, speakers, visiting artists, and other curriculum-related costs. Students who drive to campus currently pay an annual $200 parking fee. All students accepted to Perpich who decide to attend must pay a non-refundable acceptance fee, currently $100. Families receive invoices for all fees paid.

Is the high school accredited?

Yes, it is accredited through the North Central Association of Secondary Schools.

Where do the students come from?

Arts high school students come from around the entire state of Minnesota – 70% are from the metro area and 30% are from greater Minnesota. Students have the option of staying in the residence hall on campus.

What arts areas are offered at Perpich?
  • Dance
  • Literary Arts
  • Media Arts
  • Music
  • Theater (including a Musical Theater track)
  • Visual Arts
May students study several or all six arts areas?

Students focus on only one arts area. The arts are infused throughout our academic classes and lessons are structured to engage students in hands-on experiential learning that offers many avenues to success for students with varied learning styles. Some electives are available to give students access to other art areas. In addition, there are sometime collaborative projects among art areas.

How is the school day structured?

Students attend academic classes in the morning and their specific arts areas in the afternoon. The school day is 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Perpich uses block scheduling, meaning classes last for 90 minutes and a semester class equals a year-long class in other schools.

May students open-enroll?

No. The Arts High School is not covered under the school district law that dictates the open enrollment process. By law, the Perpich Board of Directors is authorized to devise distinct rules for admission to Perpich Arts High School.

Who is eligible to apply?

Only students whose parents/guardians are Minnesota residents may apply and attend the arts high school. Applicants must also be currently enrolled in grade 10 or 11 to be eligible to apply.

Do applicants have to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA)?

Admitted students have average or higher grades. Seniors applying must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale (2.0 is equivalent to a “C” grade). All applicants must be on track to graduate under Minnesota state guidelines and have appropriate credits completed in core courses.

How are students admitted?

Students must submit an application during their sophomore or junior year for the following school year. Applicants are then scheduled for an admission review approximately one month later.

What is an admission review?

The admission review consists of an academic/arts evaluation, which includes performing or bringing example(s) of the applicant’s work; completing an arts assignment mailed two weeks prior to the review; participating in a spontaneous activity related to the arts area; and an academic/arts interview.

What traits and abilities does the Arts High School administration look for in prospective students?

Students who attend the arts high school are willing to take risks, work hard, and are open to discovery. They are interested in making connections between their artistic vision and their academic life. The faculty evaluate a student’s artistic talent or potential for growth, creativity and imagination, attitude, and academic history.

Is it hard to get accepted?

About 2/3 of applicants applying for the two-year program, and about 1/4 of applicants applying for senior-year-only, are accepted. Some art areas have more space than others.

What is the cost for enrollment?

Like all public schools, the arts high school is tuition-free. However, as is the case in most public schools, there is a student fee. Ours is currently $400. Also, students who live on campus in the residence hall may have to pay a residence fee, currently $3,600. This is based on their permanent home address. They also will maintain a balance in the meal plan. Students who are accepted and decide to attend Perpich must pay a non-refundable acceptance fee of $100. That fee is not applied to any other fees.

Is there a cafeteria?

The school cafeteria provides meals and a la carte choices paid for through individual student accounts in to which parents deposit funds (currently $2.50 per breakfast, $3.50 per lunch, $3.50 for dinner). The school does not participate in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program but those families that would normally qualify for free and reduced meal fees may apply and the school will honor those that qualify. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered Monday through Thursday; breakfast and lunch are available on Fridays.

Who is on the Board of Directors?

Board members are appointed by the governor of Minnesota. Board members represent each of the eight congressional districts in the state. To see the current members of the board, visit the staff directory.

How many students live in the residence hall and who may live there?

The residence hall can hold up to 140 students. Residency is determined by distance from the campus. This mileage limit is reviewed annually based on space availability with priority given to applicants who live the farthest from campus.

Is there a cost to live in the residence hall?

At their December 20, 2018 meeting, the Board of Directors for Perpich Center for Arts Education voted unanimously to eliminate the residential dormitory fees, starting in the 2019-2020 school year, for all students whose residence is 20 miles or more from campus. Residents of Hennepin and Ramsey counties are not eligible. For those Perpich Arts High School students impacted, this is a savings of $3,600 annually.

The residential dormitory fee will apply for students living within the 20 mile radius and for any student living in Hennepin or Ramsey county. However, families may apply for reduced fees and make arrangements for payment schedules that best fit their finances.

The current residential cost for the school year is $3,600. This cost is reviewed annually. This fee does not include meals in the cafeteria.

Does Perpich offer transportation for commuter students?

Perpich does not provide bus transportation. Commuter students may form car pools, use mass transit, or are transported by family members or other trusted adults. Bus passes are available for purchase. Students who qualify for the federal free/reduced fee lunch program are eligible for reduced-fee bus passes.

Is there parking available on campus?

Yes. Students who wish to drive to school must register their cars with the school security office and pay an annual parking fee, currently $200.

What is the policy for student alcohol or drug use?

Perpich Arts High School has a zero tolerance approach to drug and alcohol use and/or possession or supply. Possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia and selling or supplying drugs (including prescription drugs) to others are a violation of criminal statute. Therefore, since chemical use is a serious legal and health issue, the possession, use and/or supplying of alcohol, other drugs and/or drug paraphernalia on campus or when returning to campus is prohibited under any circumstances.

How is Perpich different from my regular high school?

Perpich Arts High School is a place of education where each student has the right to learn and grow in a supportive environment among people who are caring and cooperative. Perpich is committed to working with our students to create a system of accountability that sets clear limits and supports a respectful, school-wide learning community. Our students often say that they appreciate the respect and acceptance they get from their teachers and other students. Cliques are rare if not nonexistent and we have a zero-tolerance bullying/harassment policy that is strictly enforced.

Where do Perpich students go after they graduate?

On average 65% of Perpich graduates go on to post-secondary education. About 30% choose to continue their studies in the arts; others choose different fields of study or career paths.

Does Perpich offer academically-challenging courses?

Many opportunities exist for enrolling in academically-challenging classes: honors classes, AP courses, College in the Schools classes, and PSEO options, schedule allowing.

How can I get an application?

Follow the link to download the paperwork needed to apply.

May I visit the school?

Yes! Please feel welcome to attend a scheduled Information Session during the coming school year. When dates for Information Sessions are determined, they will be posted on the school calendar.

You can also shadow a current student for the day to get an authentic Perpich experience to help you with your decision to attend!

Does Perpich have sports?

Perpich partners with Groves Academy to provide opportunities for students to participate in sports. Currently, Perpich offers (through Groves): Soccer, Cross Country, and Basketball. Parks and athletic facilities are also available in the area. Students may enroll in yoga class, an elective that provides a .5 physical education credit.

Students involved in high school sports at their previous school may also petition the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) to continue with those activities, either at their previous school, when possible, or a school near Perpich. Both Perpich and the cooperating school must sign an agreement to allow this. The MSHSL may or may not be able to make such an arrangement, depending on factors within the cooperating school.


Our 2020 class is one among many that have gone far and wide since graduation. See below for the institutions our students attended.

Overview Stats

  • 98.1% graduated
  • 64% are planning post-secondary education
  • $3.15 million in scholarships and grants offered
  • One student named National Merit Finalist
  • 22% of class graduated with honors (3.6 GPA or better)
  • 3.15 average GPA of 2020-2021 applicants
  • 30% of graduates continue to pursue their art


2020 ACT average scores of Perpich students

  • Composite: 22.7
  • English: 22.6
  • Mathematics: 20.5
  • Reading: 25.6
  • Science: 21.9

Colleges, Universities, and Conservatories of the Classes of 2019 and 2020

  • AMDA College & Conservatory of the Performing Arts, CA
  • Anoka-Ramsey Community College, MN
  • Augsburg University, MN
  • Bard College, NY
  • Berklee College of Music, MA
  • Central Lakes College, MN
  • College of Saint Benedict, MN
  • Columbia College Chicago, IL
  • Columbus College of Art & Design, OH
  • Concordia University, MN
  • Cornell College, IA
  • Cornish College of the Arts, WA
  • Dunwoody College of Technology, MN
  • Eastern Gateway Community College, OH
  • Goucher College, MD
  • Inver Hills Community College, MN
  • Laguna College of Art and Design, CA
  • Leeds College of Music, United Kingdom
  • Long Island University, NY
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Metropolitan State University, MN
  • Minneapolis College of Art & Design, MN
  • Minneapolis College (MCTC), MN
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato
  • Model College of Hair Design, MN
  • Normandale Community College, MN
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northeastern University, MA
  • Nova Scotia College of Art and Design
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art, OR
  • Parsons School of Design, NY
  • Portland State University, OR
  • Pratt Institute, NY
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
  • Southwestern Oregon Community College
  • St. Catherine University, MN
  • St. Cloud State University, MN
  • St. Cloud Technical & Community College, MN
  • St. Olaf College, MN
  • Smith College, MA
  • Teacher Bilingual School, Cofradia, Honduras
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • University of Minnesota, Morris
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln International, NE
  • University of Oregon, OR
  • University of St. Thomas, MN
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Volunteer/GAP Year Program
  • Winona State University, MN