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Submitted on
March 2, 2010


23,334 (6 today)
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The goal of this group is to raise awareness of the fact that the heavily advertised "Art Institutes" are not real art schools, but corporate owned diploma mills that exploit young people’s dreams to sell fake education for ungodly amounts of money. I went briefly and dropped out after realizing my $120,000 ‘education’ was not going to get me a job anywhere or allow me entrance to a Grad school. Their over 40 locations are owned by the Education Management Corporation(EDMC) which is possibly the main villain in today’s corporate education scam. They have been sued many times, but are still in operation and growing. Now they have several other chains of schools other than the Art Institutes (Brown Mackie College, Southern University, Western State University, and Argosy University). In order to destroy them we must make sure everyone knows about this awful scheme so that they lose business and shut down on their own.


As the majority of DeviantArt is people who are interested in art, and around the age of choosing a college, I feel this is a relevant issue to make a group about here. Especially since it is impossible not to see “ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH” flashing all over the site. If anyone has any bad AI experiences, please share! Spread the awareness and don’t let this money hungry corporation ruin anyone else’s life! I personally went to an AI school and can verify bad things about the school that are mentioned in the reviews posted below. It keeps me awake at night thinking of all the people who are in massive debt and can’t get an above-minimum-wage job because of EDMC.


Read for yourself how this company has affected student’s lives:…

And read employee accounts as well:…


A portal with lots of useful reading:

video on the subject:…

NOTE: Not all art schools with ‘Institute’ in the name are EDMC owned (like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago). Research which ones are legitimate before requesting information!

Another scam art school frequently advertised on this site is Full Sail University. THEY ARE JUST AS BAD:…
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Serinji Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, I fell for this, I was talked into doing the school online. I'm only $1500 in debt, not much, but still, I can't get into any school til that's paid off and I don't know what do either. I want to get into animation, but I'm also fine with just doing graphic design or ending up in the gaming industry, it sucks that this was all a scam cuz now I feel stupid for enrolling in the first place.
Pitfan99 Mar 13, 2014  Student General Artist
where the heck has this been happening? the most i got was small money issues and people complaining about the higher ups just messing around with firing and hiring professors when it wasn't necessary. i think its mostly because the professor helps us along against what the institute wants. (which is also probably why they keep getting rid of or receiving new tutors now that i think about it)

but yeah other than that, it's like what the midoryu's comment says. most of it, for me and him/her so far, is depending on the admissions and financial aid and stuff that isn't directly involved with teaching. the professors are cool beans, especially those that know how to get around the system.
midoryu Mar 4, 2014  Student General Artist

I went to AI Denver for four quarters. I maintained a 3.9 gpa, I had perfect attendance, I worked for EDMC in the mailroom and at the admissions desk. I also lived at the dorms, by myself due to health reasons.

The instructors there are of the highest caliber.

The financial aid, accounting, and admissions office are where the scam lies. The admissions people get paid by how many people they can get to enroll. They all have degrees in psychology and they use that knowledge to draw people in. There is a quota that they have to reach every 6 weeks or their paycheck is docked or even cuts are made. This would violate several laws if they were not a privately run corporate institute.

The financial services office is the true evil. In fact, what they did to me was so confusing that I don't understand fully what they did. I do know that I owe the school 3.5k,  I owe the government 37k, and was charged another 3k for breaking the lease on my dorm room after they told me that I had to get of the dorms. They did not pay my complete tuition every quarter in order to get money out of me early. They expected $100 each month from somebody that they knew full well could not afford it. They offered a merit scholarship for$650 a quarter, but then raised the tuition. This was the only scholarship that they offered.

Meanwhile, the accounting office expected $150 a month from me, even though financial services showed only $100. They could not account for payments that I had made and could prove with receipts, and were really good at applying payments to the wrong month.  

I came to the conclusion that they are a money laundering front for Goldman Sachs, exploiting students for entitlements as a student. They found a loophole where all students receive money, and they decided they wanted a piece of it.  

Ant76 Mar 3, 2014  Student General Artist
A lot of dumb anime ppl usually end up going to these school cause they don't have a portfolio for a real art school and let not forget real art school like mica said rise cooper union r any other won't accept anime -.-

I'm currently at the New England institute of Art in Brookline Boston. When I come on to this site I do see lots of Japanese anime drawings and people having awesome dreams of one day becoming an animator, but now that I've been going to Ai I see a trend that has been going on where lots of kids, who use and love this site, that go to the schools and are undoubtedly denied their dreams by attending the school. The bottom line is this:


Ai excepts everybody and anybody, even when they have no artistic ability.


I've been attending classes where a person who actually is in need of extra mental help has been attending classes to graduate and wants to, and was convinced by The New England institute of Art that he could get a job as being a 2D animator. He can barely draw, and when he passed in his work for 2D animation, the teacher would give his best criticism, when really the project is in the shape where it looks like it has been done by somebody with... well, mental issues... So the teacher will grade you on effort naturally, but now once reality sets in beyond the school walls, and beyond his effort, his ability will sadly not be considered in a professional field! Now he's in 3D modeling and rigging classes for game design and is dropping out. The school, in my eyes, plainly excepts anybody for money and take what it can get, even if it means taking advantage of people will mental disabilities.


I switched my major from Animation to Graphic Design because the school's animation program is undoubtedly geared toward Game Design. The classes for game design are there, but they will not tell you that you have to meet with specific terms where you learn game design more instead of what you came to learn from the school in the first place. The reason why they sneak up on you with Game design classes is because THAT is what's giving people the most jobs in the area where the school is. If your going to Ai because you want to create your own 2D animation show one day, then you aren't going to get what you are looking for. 3D animation is what is the more dominant art form, and also because Video game companies will most-likely be looking for more 3D animators.


ALL PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DRAW ANIME FOR A LIVEING: Ai will except you, and tell you you have false dreams and gear you toward 3D modeling after accepting you and making you pay heartless amounts of money. 


If you want to get into Game Design then that's perfect for NEIA! go for it! but everybody else in animation who isn't into 3D modeling/3D animating/3D rigging/3D lighting/Advanced 3D modeling and learning Spline modeling, then HEEED MY WARNING. I went through half of it and switch to graphic design because I learned that I just want to help people! I want to help people re-design things and help people become more successful by using artistic methods in graphic and general Design.

I have a friend who is in so much debt because of AI she is now homeless living on the streets of Philadelphia. All she wanted was to become a videographer and now she is homeless because she is from a low income home and was completely taken advantage of by The Art Institutes. Luckily, I got out, and now I'm getting my Masters in Behavioral Neuroscience, but I will do whatever it takes to help out those suffering because of those terrible institutions. 
I am so done with the school but I am so close to finishing. Going to Art Institute of Seattle. Has anyone been in the same issue as me? What did you do? I want to quit so badly but at the same time I am about a year from graduating and well horribly in debut to the school. 

I'm getting sick of how they keep telling me one thing and doing another. Like with my F.A. - told me I was all caught up in payments and everything was good and then I call about another issue only to find out I'm now two months behind! Not to mention the fact now to drop a class I've got to go to F.A. and the Dean to get that done! NEVER EVER had to and supposedly it's always been like this. 

Not only that I've had several classes where I was taught nothing because the teacher wasn't all there. Things I thought I would learn I haven't which are extremely important in my field. Or was forced to learn on my own because that's what I had to do to past the school. If that was the case I could have done it on my own!

I would highly avoid any Art Institute!! In fact STAY AWAY FROM ANY AI!!! It's not worth the pain and suffering you will get from this school!!!! It is a complete joke to someone who's actually serious about learning and succeeding. 
I just quit there I agree with this comments,a professor accused me of plagiarism twice and I even sent my work too their writing center and they wouldn`t even look at it to tell me what I did wrong and the staff wouldn`t even try too help thank god I left when I did butt still owe about 17,000 now.
staylo3224 Sep 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist

This is joke of an establishment and as someone who worked as an instructor on the inside I must warn all prospective students considering this school. STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS ESTABLISHMENTS. I recently resigned due to the fact (at least this campus) that the program director pulled me into a room and had asked me to compromise my course syllabus and fatten grades for certain students that where 'failing'. When that happened it only solidified that this place has no integrity. On top of that very few at this establishment have NO higher education teaching experience and do not give you the facts as to how hard and competitive the work force for the arts really is, their methods of recruitment only offer what I'll describe as 'false realities'. 

This place is extremely toxic and will only put you into massive debt. 
DCammarota Aug 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I've been working as a Graphic Designer for the past five years. I went to a two year technology institute and got a diploma. Recently I decided I wanted to get a real college degree and just get better at what I do, so I enrolled in Ai Fort Lauderdale. 

I'm currently in my first and last class/quarter. From being misled to how and when I'd have to start making monthly payments (surprise, I owe $2k, though they said I wouldn't owe until next quarter), to not learning a damn thing in 18 hours of classes. Or how about the $50 digital text book I was forced to buy that I could have purchased in paperback for $10 online. To add insult to injury the digital textbook expires, so I don't even get to keep it (though I did figure out a way to save it to pdf, and I do plan on distributing it to my classmates). They also took it upon themselves to add a $400 art kit to my bill even though I did not get one, and told them over and over that I did not need it. I have tons of art supplies, I do not need to buy their overpriced crap. Their reply was, "we figured you'd need it for next quarter." Really, is that what you figured? I mean, it's like they're actively working against me. I plan on dropping this class ASAP if it means I'll owe less money. 

I decided all this on my own, before I even started looking around online for what other people thought of this school. Needless to say horror stories are all over the web. My dinky little tech school is absolutely amazing compared to this. AVOID!
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