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Submitted on
March 2, 2010


32,324 (20 today)
24 (who?)
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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ghostanjo Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014  Student General Artist
so what would you recommend? Are university's safe? 
amozofart Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I do not even attend the school, however I was charge was a spontaneous fee of $150 with a 12% annual interest rate for going to an open house and filling out an application. I was not warned of these fees at all ahead of time. I am truly disappointed and will most likely not attend Ai of Chicago. BE CAREFUL GUYS!!
LGW1234159 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014
I was so so so close to attending the Art Institute, I came across them at a college fair at my local community college which is a much better school and wear I'm attending right now.  I expressed interest in their film program and the location in Philadelphia  seemed to fit me. I got info from the school and I got to talk to my advisor, he was like the nicest guy I ever met. He told me about the open house and me and my whole family drove the many hours there and got the tour. Being new to the college world I was really impressed with what I saw. I was then shown the dorms and honestly they sucked. I just thought that was how it was in college. So as time went on and with some suggestions from my teachers and counselor to attend the community college before going else to see what college life is like. I called them and told them that I will not be attending and too STOP calling me as they called me every single frickin day and it really annoyed my mother. I then saw the reception that the art institute had and I was relieved that I wouldn't be given a bad education and be in LARGE  amounts of debt with a degree that is worthless.

I also looked into Full Sail University since my counselor suggested it to me. I didn't get any calls or anything but from what I saw on their website and the brochure I was really impressed and wanted to go. I again came across the school's bad reputation and I immediately had no interest in any for profit school. This was the site that did


Do your research, you'll find a good school for your passion. Just don't go looking for it here      
StrandsOfMelody Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I thought "Finally, a school I could really see myself attending that will help me be successful AND happy in what I do." but.. now I feel... really really disappointed. 
blackkatzorlando Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014
Thanks for your candor....real schools in my area are giving me serious crap bc the last two semesters I had serious health problems....will steer clear of AI, thanks again ♡♥♡
xwolven Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  New member Hobbyist Digital Artist
School is a scam that preys on naive young people who even think they might want to be artists.  They will promise you things by your final year that they don't even have at the time but promise they will have by the time you get there.   

   Why don't more artists just find a good Junior College that specializes in the type of art/film/fashion/music/cooking they want to learn?  Jr College is cheap but they have reputations and you can find one that is great for the type of field you want to go into.  You'll be so happy you did.  Tech Schools are pipe dreams that pretend to be something much more than they really are.  And all their big profits just go back into Advertising.  Not the school or in hiring good teachers who are often in fact rejected teachers from real colleges
troymation Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014…

Here is a great video that sums up "for profit" colleges like the "Art Institutes". He talks about game schools in the video because he is a professor of game development at Digpen but You can easily fill in "game school" with any for profit college....hit's the nail on the head, in my opinion.
LifeKO Featured By Owner Edited Sep 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am in 12th grade and I applied for the Art institute and like what people suggest I draw a lot of anime because I want to be a anime artist. My GPA is 3.3-3.4. The guy who calls me [Rep from AI] keeps telling me that I should leave my medical dreams to go to my art interest, but I want to study abroad in Japan. 
Thank you guys for the comments and warnings.
CharlieHartford Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014
  Rage  Yeah I'm a newbie to college, I didn't think before I applied at The Art Institute and now I'm trapped. I am in the film program, granted they have all the equipment but it's pointless if they don't fully teach you how to use it.  I'm only 30 and I'm already in debt. I've been attending for a year and 8 months now and I regret everyday, at first everything was  fine I was excited, when I signed up I had no clue what they were telling me. Not good with numbers and the financial terms that were used is a load of crap. I was under the impression I would be getting Financial Aid help, but all I get is Loans.
      I already out over 14 thousand dollars. I can't work a full time job, so I'm not making enough to survive and go to school. I live on campus in which I absolutely hate, they don't monitor these places at all, and they just shack you up with anyone. I don't smoke or drink and the people they have me here with have friends over who smoke WEED, etc, I don't do drugs nor do I want to be around any of that or inhale that stuff.  I too just wanted to leave home and be on my own, but I WENT ABOUT IT THE WRONG WAY, NO MONEY, NO CAR JUST WENT ON IMPULSE. You file complaints and they don't do anything.
      This school is very shady all they care about is the money, I know this now.  The teachers tend to be rude and arrogant at times.  They teach way too fast and never teach the entire lesson because the classes are too short to learn so much. I learn more form YOUTUBE than I do in class.  I wanted to take a quarter off to work and save up money and come to find out even if I'm out of school I still have to pay these people, why am I paying if I'm not attending class? That doesn't make any sense, and I've heard if you leave they will try to make you pay in full, which for me means $80,000 up front. I stay broke, feel like I'm not learning anything, not happy with the dorms and just don't know what to do anymore. I had to apply for food stamps cause I never have money in my pocket. Can't pay the bills. Feel like an idiot, all I wanted to do was learn how to make film, not go into debt for the rest of my life.  I know all schools are expensive but this one takes the cake. They try so hard to make you stay all yo are to them is a paycheck, it's sad and it's wrong. Something needs to be done. Waaaah! 
mishihime Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Honestly, I wish I dropped out the moment I found out something was wrong. I didn't want to leave empty handed but it's better than going the whole way through. 
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