Both Sanguine in San Francisco and Naturally in New York ask my thoughts on the Sarah Lawrence Program. Okay...
What I don't like: The poor funding situation. No stipend or waivers, and it's an expensive private college.
What I do like: The faculty. A great bi-weekly conference between each student and a professor. The reputation of the program: It's very highly regarded. I know three students who attended SL, and they speak very highly of it.
I know I'm sounding like a broken record on some of these posts: If I were a prospective student, I'd go where the funding is. That's not to say that I wouldn't factor in many other elements. But funding would be one of my top priorities because I've never been rich and I like to avoid debt. I think most students are in that same boat.
By the way, Michelle writes in a comment on another post, offering good insight into programs in general:
I'm glad you've stressed the funding issue, Tom. Considering the job market post-MFA, funding is so important. To the reader who is concerned about school rankings, however, I'd say--don't be! What matters aside from funding is WHO you want to study with and WHERE you want to live, not how a program is ranked. My program (U of Miami) was brand new when I transferred there from U of Arkansas mid-MFA. No one knew anything about the program, but I admired the work of John Balaban (then director) and I knew I could get a lot of writing done down there, living on the beach with full funding--and I did finish my first book there, which was published a couple of years after I graduated. Really, what's important is the writing, not the name of the program.
Naturally in New York also asked about the New School, and I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with that program. Anyone who'd like to leave a comment about it, or anything from this post, please do so. Thanks.