Art Institute’s Parent Company, EDMC, Sued by Government

EDMC, which is the parent company of The Art Ainstitutes, is being being sued due to an investigation that began in 2008 of their unlawful recruiting practices. Here’s what The Huffington Post is reporting:

“The U.S. Justice Department and four states sued the nation’s second-largest for-profit college corporation on Monday, alleging in a wide-ranging complaint that Education Management Corp. violated federal laws by giving bonuses and raises to college recruiters based entirely on the number of students they enrolled.”

If you have seen any of the 100+ comments on the article about the Pros and Cons of The Art Institute Online, then this probably comes as no surprise.

Numerous students have commented about the “predatory” tactics of recruiters from The Art Institute that have coerced them into getting financial aid and signed up for classes quickly. This investigation reveals why that was the case.

If The Art Institutes do successfully get sued by the government, does that mean that the government and lawyers will benefit from it financially and not the students who were the ones directly affected? How do you feel about all of this?

Click here to view the full article on the Huffington Post website

43 Responses to “Art Institute’s Parent Company, EDMC, Sued by Government”

  • I’d have to say the Art Institute has screwed many people over, including my friends and I. I attended the Art Institute for four years so, I should have a four year degree, but I only have an Associates degree. I was going for the Bachelors, however, I decided to switch to the Associates so I could have some type of degree and get out in the field already. With only a few more quarters left, I was offered to switch over to the “‘new program” witch made more sense to do from what I was told. They said “if you switch over, you will be saving money because you will only have to take one more class rather than four”. After I switched from the “old” program to the “new” program, I started comparing the two and found that I had now wasted thousands of dollars and time on classes that don’t apply to the “new” program. With almost 200 credits, I graduated with an Associate of Science and will be in debt for the rest of my life…I have yet to receive my diploma.

  • I forgot to mention…I had one week left from a quarter and had to leave due to a life or death medical emergency. Rather than finishing that one weeks worth of assignments, I had to re-take those entire classes over.

  • Wow. So, I guess I can say I got scammed as well. This adds more to how much I hate how I chose to leave high school with enough credits and no plans for my life after high school. I live in the Pacific and was told that the school would pay my way to attend the graduation ceremony if I wanted. A couple weeks into my 2nd class, I decided to check into that. Then I found out there was no printed (in .pdf) or posted (on website) information about such a thing. I decided to write my FinAidAdvisor to ask about it and…well you can guess what response I got and you’d most likely be correct. Anyway, I’m pretty motivated to make this work. I don’t want to have my partner’s ego touch the moon and say “I told you so! I TOLD YOU THAT WAS A BAD IDEA.” Anyway, this is a great website I can recommend to friends looking into AIO. 🙂

  • I have been screwed over with the debt that I am left. Approx. $60,000 that I cannot afford. They promised to find me a job before I graduate and never found a job and they stopped trying after 3 months. Wtf? I started as a low income student and still no job. I wish they can pay my debt for all the BS they put me thru, not to mention the sexist teachers I had before. I will never recommend the Ai to anyone!

  • I got a two year degree from an Ai. My recruiter said that a 2 year degree from Ai was on the same level as a 4 year degree from a university! NOT TRUE! He also said I would be guaranteed a job after graduation (not sure why I believe this lie!) When I tried to get help finding a job after graduation they sent me links to jobs that were hiring…for $7.25/hr! Minimum wage and in debt 50k wasn’t my plan! I think the students that have the loans and can’t find jobs should be given the money back from the government, or at least some! Ai is a joke! I was one of THREE people who graduated with honors with my degree, that says a lot! The students that went to this school didn’t care and their homework proved it…but the teachers passed them so they wouldn’t have to deal with them another quarter. I feel very cheated and would like all my money back and my 2 years back so that I could go to a different school. I truly hope the government gets that money and dispurses it amongst the students that have the loans and can’t pay because they can’t find jobs now! Ai SUCKS!

  • Hi Shane,
    I think it sucks! I have been at ai a year and a half, and am finishing up a class right now, after which I will be withdrawing. I am at a cross roads and have no idea what to do next. I am in debt 21,000. I just found out that NONE of the credits will transfer to my local college. If I decide to go there, I will have to start all over from the beginning. I have busted my butt to get a 3.97 average. The teachers are lousy (not all, but too many). I was rushed and pressured into signing up to ai. I was forced to buy virtual books which I can’t keep. I was told to sign a Payment Option Agreement, which states that if my financial aid runs out, that I will pay out-of-pocket, or get a private loan. I told the “advisor” that I have nothing and didn’t want to agree to that. That’s when she said, and I quote, “YOU HAVE TO.”
    The last straw for me was when they added another 5.5 week session per year, and said that this was done “to help the students.” Of course, the reason it was done was for them (EDMC) to make more money.

    So, check it out…they are getting sued for fraud right now, and what do they do? They make it harder for the current students while they continue to lure newbies into their trap. This is just sickening. I hope there is some sort of leniency by the gov’t toward the students like us who have found ourselves entangled in their web of deceit. The gov’t will get its money back, but what about us?


  • It’s not just The Art Institutes!

    Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California is much worse, with higher costs that put students in debt for $200,000 after graduating. And of course there’s no guarantee that you’ll land a job that relates with anything you went to school for. I know, because unfortunately I went there and have since defaulted.

    Stop ripping on The Art Institutes – they are way less expensive, and they have several student success stories. Just like any other money sucking college.

    You can’t tell me that ‘non-profit’ colleges are any better than ‘for profit’ colleges, all of them put people in tremendous student loan debt upon graduating. It’s the American way!

  • Not to sound unsympathetic, but did any of you do independent research on the school before you enrolled? Did you look at other options? Did you look for other financial aid options? Did you ask for specific details on the placement help provided after graduation (how long will they provide assistance, what type of jobs do they focus on, etc)? It’s unfortunate that you feel cheated and have buyer’s remorse, but the bottom line is you chose to sign the promisopry note for your student loans, you owe the money. I don’t go skipping to the mnailbox every month to pay my federal and Sallie Mae loans, but its my obligation because I borrowed the money.

  • Sarah. What you have said in no way an argument against the Art Institute.

    You say you attended for “four years, so I should have a Bachelor’s degree, but I only have an associates.”

    However, you also state that:
    – you personally decided to go back down to the associate’s degree program yourself, to “get out in the field already.”
    – you voluntarily switched to a new program and assumed all of the credits would transfer – something you never obviously researched yourself
    – you failed to complete coursework and complain that you have to retake the course? Welcome to the real world. Just because its an alternative form of school does not mean they can allow you to fail to meet the requirements the other students had to meet.

    So stop complaining about debt you voluntarily occurred and the associates degree you chose to earn in four years.

    It can hardly be called a “scam” when supposedly “college-potential” students can voluntarily get duped every time. No wonder you guys never went to a proper university.

  • WELL! josh u can f*ck off….because ur probably not even attending Ai for one. ive been going here for 3 months and i already HATE it! im 18 and was going in for my bachelors degree, they told me up front it would be 100k to go here but then they said “financial aid will cover most of it so ur cool”. Ai is being sued for 11BILLION lie, look it up! seniors here and other people have been telling me that if they could go back in time and choose another school they would MOST DEF! then im already paying $100 out of pocket cuz its not included in my tuition and if i wanted to stay on campus it would be n additional $423 making it $523 A MONTH! im majoring in art and animation and there not even teaching me how to do that, im a hands-on kinda guy, i need to be working on ART but instead im in this class taking pictures..WTF!!!…im NOT a photography major! even my older brother said this was a bad school but i didnt listen! my brother went to Miami Jacobs and they ended up srewing him over too!…my take on it is if the so called “college” looks like a damn office building its NOT a legit place (for you and your education!). but yeah im about to withdraw from here before i get in to deep!

  • Hey. Linda, A lot of us do research the schools we attend, it wouldn’t make sense if we did not. I do agree with you; There are some students who think that just because a school has the title of ‘Art’ in it, then they are artists and that’s their fault. However, for those of us that did research, at the time there was no evidence of a school being sued for fraud or having any fraudulent attributes, so I do believe we were scammed. I don’t care what decisions were made by the student whether they be dumb or not, if there is a Professional institution with professional employees, that are required to handle recruiting students in a professional manner and they are not living up to that, then the fault is on the school. You don’t hear about any other school going through things like this and if you do, it is very seldom. The argument is about the school being fraudulent and the last time I checked, attending school was not considered a crime, FRAUD was. So don’t down the ones who do feel like they were taken advantage of and don’t say what should have happened because we cannot go in the past. And this goes for you too Josh. Don’t come on here casting judgment on people and tell them what they should have done. We feel bad as it is, so you can just chill the hell out….POINT…BLANK…PERIOD.

  • It’s unfortunate. I enrolled back in 2007. I am still attending Ai Online now and I’m actually a year away from graduation. It’s to bad that I just found out today that I do not have a enough funds left to finish my degree. Even though the Admissions associate told me I would not have to pay a dime until after I receive my degree, it does not matter. I was led to believe that my loans and grants covered my college degree from the beginning to the end. I was preyed upon and lied to and now I have to pay the consequences while Ai continues to generate millions. Now I am stuck with over $50,000 in debt and no college degree almost 5 years later. This should not be tolerated in this country. We should be able to trust these institutions. I certainly did, and now I’m am suffering for it. Education should not be an expense but unfortunately it is.

  • when i was a senior in high school i was approached by an AI recruiter after they did a presentation in my art class. Before i continue i should mention that i was attending a continuation school. the recruiter chose this place to pray on naive teenagers whom have had tough luck and/or made poor choices in the past which caused them to get kicked-out of traditional high school. the perfect place to take advantage of young ill informed lesser educated gullible kids whom are more likely to buy into the idea that the AI is the answer to all their problems. the recruiter must have known before hand that i was the most gifted artist in the class because she clearly focused on my attention the entire presentation. afterwards they passed out a form about the school and asked me for my personal information so she can contact me. at the time i thought “wow, they are taking a real interest in me, i must be a great artist worthy of all this praise” unbeknownst to myself, she was only interested in getting me started, whether or not i was a good fit for the school or the school for i, the only thing that mattered was i must start and start immediately or else id “miss my opportunity to utilize my natural artistic abilities” and “waste my talent and life”. But the real truth is they wanted me to start immediately so i would not have time to think and back-out. My original plan was to attend AI in San Francisco because it was a dream of mine to live and go to school there. i decided i would wait a semester so i can go checkout the school and the living arrangements before i make a decision. They called me everyday 20x a day pushing me into applying and saying “you NEED to take several online classes before you attend on campus because i needed the prerequisites in order to be eligible for classes available the following semester” taking online classes was not at all what i wanted to do but they manipulated me with their high pressure sales tactics. not to mention they straight up lied about the online credits being transferable. they never discussed how much it was going to cost for the two online classes and before i finished them they kept pressuring me into taking more online courses. after only two 6 weeks online courses i stopped and realized they were scamming me. they didn’t try to contact me and help me in any way they just stopped calling me after i caught on to their scam. they succeeded in that they electronically processed two government student loans without my full-understanding nor permission, as soon as i foundout how much the two online classes were costing i dropped out and now im stuck with 3,700 dollars in defaulted student loan for only TWO 6 week courses that are non-transferable to my local community college. They made me believe that i was “turning my life around, and taking control of my future” they manipulated me every step of the way saying things like “imagine once you finish school you can live your dream of becoming a renown artist making animation that your children will watch” I work for 9.25 an hour at petsmart and the government is threatening to garnish my wages. I just recently moved back into my parents house and my wife and four month old son live with her parents now because we barely make enough to get by. NCO financial is threatening to take my tax return but that is money we rely on to offset the cost of living. im just grateful that i only got taken for 3,700 rather than the 100k that some owe. luckily in my situation i got scammed and figured it out before they took out more loans and forged my signature.

  • At the time the investigation began, EDMC was owned by Goldman Sachs. This should tell you everything. Occupy Education too!

  • NEIA hires people who barely have degrees themselves. They cancel programs without notice. Amazing professors get fired for the most trivial reasons. They replace wonderful staff and faculty with those who require less wages. Students are numbers. Faculty terrified of losing their job for challenging EDMC’s ethics. I have no advisor, chair, or director for my program but they still have the tuition I pay. A lot of companies know there are no requirements to attend the NEIA and have no respect for graduates holding a degree from them.

  • When I first started at the AI I was getting A’s B’s C’s and two D’s in my classes Staying up at 2:00 am getting my homework done. From that time frame my grades have dropped because i’m struggling with a handicap son with ADHD. Helping my mother because she just had surgery on her left hand. Then right before that I had surgery and I was on bed rest they terminated me for no reason at all spent 40k and then some I know what you guys are feeling because i feel cheated.

  • I was thinking about going to AI but im in the millitary and have money for it but I also dont want to be tookn advantage of I want an oppurtunity I wanted to go here to start working directly on my major ive heard some good but alot of bad, I beleive any situation is what u make it but being a recruiting assisstant I also know an understand how misleading to acheive a ceartain goal is, I already know it would be expensive Im already taking steps to prevent the money issue from leading me in debt but lets say im there already How could u help me in the school. Give me helpfull advice.

  • I went to the Art Institute of Tampa for digital photography. I started in January of 2009. The academic advisor told me that if I took 4 classes a quarter, I could get my bach. degree in 3 years instead of 4. I was told the cost of the bach. degree was going to be around $84,000. I knew that was extremely expensive for a fine arts degree, but I figured that any university was going to be right around there as well. Plus, I really thought that photography was something I genuinely wanted to pursue. The first year went fine. I was getting financial aid and my mother also got approved for a $12,000 parent plus loan. I didn’t have to pay any money out of pocket. Then came the 2010 year and I had to reapply for financial aid. My mom did not get approved this time for another parent plus loan and neither did my dad. Come February or March of 2010, the school started billing me for $500 that they wanted me to pay out of my own pocket. Each month after that I kept getting these bills for $500 a month. Finally, I made an appointment with a financial advisor. They laid out my tuition plan in front of me. Come to find out, the tuition went from $84-$86,00o to $104,000 in one year!!! They never notified me of this increase in tuition and told me that tuition was going to keep rising every year. Needless to say, because I was still only approved for so much financial aid and grants, the help I was getting from the gov. was not enough to cover the quarterly tuition anymore. They told me that I was going to have to pay $500 every month until I graduated. At that time I was 19 years old and was barely able to afford $200 a month in rent to give to my mom. Then they proceeded to tell me that my expected graduation date wasn’t until 2014 which was 2 years longer than what I was told when I started. That made me going there for 5 years, not 3. You can only guess, I withdrew immediately from there. I dropped out in August of 2010.
    Also, when I enrolled there, they told me that AI was a nationally accredited school and that the credits would transfer to any other nationally accredited school. However, AI will not give me my transcripts until the $8,000 I owe them is paid in full. (That $8,000 is money that I owe them out of my own pocket, not from financial aid, from the beginning of 2010 til the day I withdrew). BUT, the school I’m trying to go to now (which is a community college that is a nationally accredited school), will not accept their credits, but they still need to see my transcripts from AI to let me register for classes with them. But until I can give AI 8K, I won’t be getting my transcripts and just keep having to put off school.
    AI has put me so far behind in my education and it is a complete rip-off. I wish I had never ever gone there and let them suck me into their school. They are aweful. They do not care about the students. All they care about is getting their money and extorting the people that go there. I wish I had known better when they told me that their graduation rate was only 40%. Everything I learned at AI, I could have learned from tutorials online, or from books about photography.

  • To Jared:
    I was in the Air Force was discharged last April receiving full benefits. When i came in i was under the G.I. Bill but opted to take the 9/11 because i figured out it would get me a lot more money for AI. If this is the case for you talk to an adviser about your options. With the 9/11 and yellow ribbon program my school was paid in full, i also get a housing allowance while in school. So you should be good as far as cost, but make sure to do your research about the area you will be going back to. You should have a class all about that stuff before you get out. You are right about life is what you make of it. i do have a few problems with the school but they are minor. I want to be able to take some photography classes while in culinary. Other than some small stuff i like the school. I’m learning a lot and my instructors are great, just don’t be afraid to ask questions, military will do that to you. I wouldn’t plan on working if I were you and missing class isn’t an option because the courses cover a lot of material in a smaller amount of time. (11 weeks)
    Bottom line: Do your research, make sure you have the time and dedication for school, and even if the 9/11 pays for all or some of your school, that was your money you just paid it in military time.
    Good Luck!

  • Jared,

    I am a veteran of the military and I would like to share some helpful hints about how to find a military friendly school.

    Check out the local community colleges (in your area) and the programs that they offer. Tuition at community colleges tends to be less expensive than tuition at private, for-profit schools.

    Research the colleges’ and/or universities’ background. Find out if they are an accredited facility and if their credits will transfer to other colleges and universities.

    Research the number of students enrolled at the school, as well as, the student turnover rate and graduation rate.

    Also, check to see if the school offers a military discount.

    Hope this information helped.

  • Please, please, please, stay away from this school, unless you want to pay $90k for a worthless degree. Their hiring statistics are fraudulent, their graduation rate is pathetic, and they honestly don’t care about their students once they are enrolled….I know, i worked there and would not want to see anymore people hurt by this terrible school.

  • @william when are we going to organize the “Occupy Eduction”??

  • I am one of many who attended the Art Institute of Seattle and ended up stuck in a no win situation. Upon entry I was promised valid job placement, well educated teachers and help getting the funding for school. Valid job placement turned out to be gesturing vaguely to minimum wage jobs on a website that had nothing to do with animation or art for that matter. Most of my teachers spent their time pulling up you tube videos of actual professionals and going out for a smoke and all that help they were said to have offered amounted to pressuring me and others into pulling out more loans than we could ever possibly handle.

    I entered in 2008-2009 and stuck it out trying to get some sort of degree. I too switched to the associates program when it became clear that I was only sinking further and further into debt and with the schools reputation circling the drain, I simply wanted to cut my loses and try to move on. The school said it would only take another quarter to graduate, however after I completed the paper work, suddenly imposed more classes into the program. Some of those classes were actually ones I had already taken, that had been renamed and repackaged to seem new. The underhanded, shady tactics of many of the department there still baffle me. Often times when students got government aide, myself included, that mandated part of the funds come back to the individual as a refund to help with books and living expenses, AIS would send the check, followed swiftly by a letter saying that I owed the exact same amount as the check they had just given me and would need to pay it back by writing one of my own and giving it to the school. I refused, seeing as I didn’t see how that could possibly be legal and the school refused to provide a breakdown of how I had come to owe this money. When I left, they were still saying I owed them and have since been holding my official transcript hostage and sending me letters as well as phone calls trying to get me to give them the money. I informed them that if it was legally their money they were welcome to take me to collections for it. Never happened and in fact, I have a letter they sent saying they would excuse half my debt and give me my transcript if I was willing to give them half the money in return.

    100’000 in debt with no education and no way to get the credits I have earned and paid for since the school is holding the transcript. Those of us who have been lured in by this and numerous connected branches are now facing a serious problem. Though I am relieved that the schools are being cast in an accurate light they are still getting away with it. AIS itself has remodeled and reorganized its way of operating in order to continue tricking students into thinking they are getting an education worth paying for. This lawsuit doesn’t seem to be helping those who are actually the victims at all. Lawyers, shareholders, the government, etc but not the students who are now unspeakably in debt with nothing to show for it. I find that to be a rather sickening prospect.

  • I have attended both Art Institute of Houston and its North sister campus. I was lored in with false promises and false statistcs. I was told AiH has a graduate success rate of 97%. After researching I found it less than 30%. I was told I would immediately find job because AiH partnerships with 200 companies, in which they place AiH graduates. This is a complete lie. I am $70,000 in debt and this degree has yet to help me with emplyoment. I have been graduated for over a year now. I have also BEEN BANNED from all Ai campuses and events for speaking out this topic. PLEASE if you live in houston and would like to start an OCCUPY AI MOVEMENT and start a lawsuit please contact me at : In 1999 over 25 students suied AiH for this exact reason and won their case. Ai settled reimbursing them their education cost. TOGETHER we can stop this company from ruining the live of students trying to come up in the world. Again my email is SAUNDERSTOMMY@HOTMAIL.COM

  • I go to AI minnesota. I am a veteran who activated his GI bill to go there. I have just completed my first year. I have a $6,000 bill from AI because the financial aid department did not do their math right and the administration did not make it clear that a year of school there is only three quarters! and the fourth quarter would not be covered by the GI BIll and yellow ribbon because it was more than the yearly allowance. I also asked when enrolling what students in the film program had gone on to do. they gave me a laundry list of movies and tv shows. what they failed to mention is that all of the work student had done on movies and tv shows were the work of their animation graduates and their New York and LA schools.

    A previous poster said there is not a “Big” difference between non-profit and for profit schools and they are mis informed. almost all non profit schools are tied to there local government (state and county) and must adhere to very strict guidelines. also there credits transfer fairly easy because there are set standards for the state schools. there are also guidelines for who can teach at a state tied school.
    for profit schools such as AI have no standards placed on them. none of my AI credits will transfer out not even to another AI. (there is no standard from AI to AI they are all different) they also can hire joe off of the street to teach weather or not he is qualified. I had a retired actor teaching my english class at AI he never taught any thing and let the class out 40 min into a 2 hour class thats roughly $1700to take. I went to a community college before AI and I used my texted books to learn and teachers used them to guess what teach. all teachers at AI ask you to buy books which 90% or more of them never will teach out of or will even be related to class work or assignments. and some of the books are just force charged to your account. they dont make fees clear even when you try to do your due diligence it just gives a range of what it “could” be each quarter.

    For what ever field your looking into find a reputable university or trade school that is tied to a state or community. it maybe just as expensive but your degree will actually have some respect.

    To prove how worthless AI degrees are a buddy of mine just graduated with a Media and communications degree and wanted to become an officer in the Army. the US Army would not recognize his degree which means he could not enlist as an officer.

    With all of that being said I still tell you to make your own choice. if you believe the AI is still a better choice then all other options available to you then thats your right. I fought hard to give you that right and I will never be little or try to take it away from you.

  • Art Center College of Design is not the same as The Art Institute. In fact, they are not even in the same ballpark.

    Art Center is the most respected number one college in America for design. Most of the top designers in the world who make products, cars and movies have come from Art Center. Its always in the top 3 best design schools in the country. Its small, non profit private college. They only have about 2000 students which means they only accept a few hundred out of thousands that apply. They not only require a portfolio to get in, but they actually look for talent, and turn away 80 percent of their applicants. It’s an honor just to be accepted there.

    The Art Institute on the other had is a billion dollar for-profit corporation known for pandering to the lowest common denominator taking in students who can barely read. As long as you qualify for that student loan, your in.

    Actions speak louder then words. The Art Institute is so much a bottom tier school in terms of it’s reputation of quality, they even brag about an instructor at their school having gone to Art Center.

    No one brags about hiring someone from The Art Institute, I am just saying.

  • These people DO NOT CARE about their students. They are only looking for your money being transferred to them.

    I went through several classes and got A’s in all these classes, one after another. I became literally homeless after some difficult circumstances in life that sometimes happen with no control of the outcome. I failed some classes during this time, appealed twice and was just denied my second appeal. I will appeal again and I will die campaigning against this school if need be.

    30k dollars in the hole, two appeals, two denials, NO second chance for me so far… So, they are willing to take 30k dollars of my money but yet they aren’t willing to give me a second chance even after my initial grades prove my intentions and my capabilities, and I’ve provided evidence of a situation I had completely no control over. F’king heartless.

  • Well, I am a parent of two AI students, one who just recently graduated and another who decided to take a “break” because on day one of one of her last classes, the instructor said “oh you won’t make it out of this class”. Mind you this instructor gave her excellent grades in another class in a prior year. Now, her experience has been that some students don’t care, don’t turn in assignments or even report to class but pass with flying colors while others who do try get a hard time. My other child just finally graduated with an Associate’s degree when he should have had a bachelor’s by now and we were FORCED, yes forced into signing additional loans because if he did not obtain the funding, after grants and his loans, he would lose all that he put into this school (mind you that’s what the financial counselor stressed not only to him but also myself). Now, two loans later, on my behalf, these were to be delayed but before he reached his last three months in this place, the loan company began calling demanding more money than I was originally quoted but was more than willing to add the amount to the “back of the loan” charging me more than the monthly amount in interest…go figure….I think it’s all a scam and would NEVER recommend this school to any other parent or prospective student. From some of the instructors who curse and ridicule students to the shady financial dealings – ALL OF MY EXPERIENCE….NEVER AGAIN!!!!

  • I attended AI in San Diego, CA. I got a Bachelor’s of Science degree in graphic design in 2007. 5 years have passed and I haven’t found a job. They only helped me for 6 months after graduation. They found me a “job” just a few days before the 6 months of help. I worked for that small company for only 2 weeks, the lady paid me cash and said adios… BIG mistake when I decided to attend AI, the recruiter promised me a secure job before I graduate and it never happened. Now I have this debt for the rest of my life…

  • I’m publishing this anonymously because I’m still in the process of trying to get out of this god forsaken scam of a school. I graduated in May with a 4.0 gpa and an AS in Web Design & Interactive Media, or should I say I was finished classes. A few weeks before I actually entered graduate state I noticed a balance on my account that was supposed to be covered by loans, I called & emailed my adviser repeatedly about this but got no replies until after I entered graduate state, at which time it was too late to correct her error: she hadn’t posted some of the loans to my account. Now, 2 months later and a million unanswered phone calls and emails from her I finally hear that my appeal to the charge was denied and I am forced to pay the school in full before getting my degree or transcripts (as I found a school that actually will accept some of their credits!). I am a single mother to 4 due to divorce with no support from the children’s father, this degree was supposed to help me build a better life for my children, instead this scam of an institution, who having admitted their error, refuse to accept any responsibility for it & are placing me in an even more difficult situation. One thing i can say, is RUN!! DON’T waste your time or money there, it’s just not worth it!!

  • Steve Vorderstrasse

    I was enrolled in Art Institute of Pittsburg on-line. They promised me a great education, a caring staff, and a wonderful and compassionate disabilities that would help me out greatly. Well I found out that most of the staff doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the students. The disabilities staff was a laughable excuse for help and they charged more than any other school saying they were the best. My disabilities required that I have someone contact me for verbal instruction on assignments since I’m disabled. Only a few helped me. The disabilities department wouldn’t back me and the staff complained to the dean and nearly got me expelled for problems they, the school and staff, had started. They took money from my loans for classes I didn’t take, included in my grade classes I withdrew from because I didn’t need them, which affected my GPA in the worst way possible. They never apologized for anything and basically said it was my fault that it had happened. Needless to say I’m in debt, didn’t graduate because of their treatment, and have nothing to show for my time put in. Don’t go to the Art Institute of anything, they will con you into anything just to make their school look good!

  • I am currently attending the Art Institute of Houston. Yesterday we received news that 34 of the faculty and staff were going to be laid off at the end of this session. Layoffs include Department Chairmen, student advisers, and instructors. In the midst of the $11 billion lawsuit that EDMC (Ai’s parent company) is battling with the federal government, I’m not surprised at the mass layoffs. However, I am wondering what will happen to the schools if that lawsuit is lost? Will the Ai school system go bankrupt?

  • I too am posting anonymously due to an easily recognizable name. I just graduated last quarter with a bachelor of science degree in interior design . I finished in just under four years since I had transferred some classes in from a prior associates degree in business. When I started in 2008, there were no lawsuits to be seen and no reason not to attend that I found. There are plenty of success stories from the AI in the past. Throughout my time, I noticed many things… Classes started out large and then the farther I got into the program, the smaller they got. Students dropped like flies and enrollment went down as a simple product of a bad economy. I know MANY business, psychology, accounting majors among others who graduated and are out of work. That was the first problem. I think to combat this issue, the teachers felt forced to pass students along in the program who clearly were not doing the work or even putting in any effort. I have never seen so many lazy so called college students who complained more in my life. The bachelor program is actually VERY demanding, so I believe the diploma and associates programs give many an easy way out and keeps them at least in the school for a little bit longer. This in the end lowered the standards of the school giving the college a bad name in the community due to the low quality of work being produced by these uneducated students who are still passed through. The teachers who remain firm in their standards, were complained about incessantly to the dean who would then reprimand them and force them to cater to the complainers. I had several VERY Good and highly qualified teachers who truly cared about the students, who have ALL recently been let go. In order to remain in business, they can now only afford the bottom of the barrel in educators. It is a truly sad situation for all of the very hard working students who have not graduated yet, but have been working extremely hard for years, just to be slapped in the end with this result, and fear that the school will not be around long enough for them to finish. This lawsuit is really punishing the remaining students who are too far indebted to quit. What a shame. Lucky for me, I graduated in the nick of time, but feel happy with the knowledge I gained, because I worked my a@@ off. My career advisor emails me jobs constantly and I have started one. The pay is not so high, but again, that is the current state of the economy.

  • Hi , I attended the AI in Los Angeles, Ca I studied the animation program. The first couple of years I attended I thought this is a waste of time we had to learn the color wheel and drawing 101. I felt like I was in elementary school or something. Then It got harder with the 3d classes and the teachers and faculty were really not as helpful like they really didn’t care . They didn’t care if you were learning the program or not all they cared about is , the money $$$ . I really felt taken advantage of and now I owe close to 60,000 worth of student debt to salle Mai . I hope edmc really files bankcroupt . I haven’t paid any of my student debt , I don’t have a job in the field that they “said will help you find one” BS . All the Ai schools just want your money , my advice is stay away from these schools . Get into a legit school. A junior college is good it’s not too expensive and you can transfer your credits. We have to stand up and fight for our rights this is America we shouldn’t be scared , we need a strong lawyer and we have to fight to get out of this misarable debt. EDMC needs to know what kind of damage they have done and pay for it. My email is

  • I just entered into my last year of acquiring a Bachelor’s of Science Degree and have just found out that they have already used every bit of my federal aid and I now have no way to pay my last year of college. I was lied to and when confronted with all the evidence I’m still being lied to. I can’t even transfer to a real school and fix my problem because none of the credits transfer. I’ve wasted over 4 years of my life. Even when my dad passed away MY DAD PASSED AWAY I called my adviser the next day and I wasn’t allowed my bereavement period to grieve for my own father!! Not one day!! After that it just got worse and worse. I now owe over $55,000 in federal loans and no Bachelor’s Degree in hand because I have no more aid to help me finish and I don’t have over $10,000 to pay them within the required time to get my degree.
    I really hope EDMC gets shut down, the government gets their money back from them and the debt on our heads erased so we can go to a real school and pay back the loans like we should be able to. This isn’t helping people better their lives, its destroying them for money how is this ok?
    All in all STAY AWAY FROM THE ART INSTITUTE their greed will ruin any chance you have at wanting a good life.

  • Does anyone know the status of the government
    Suit? I am choosing not to complain because
    My story is just as all above! Much time invested, many promises implied,
    High student debt and no degree achieved because of
    Shortage of money.
    I want to follow the lawsuit and come up with
    A force to recover from our loses!

  • I think the bottom line here is that an organization that promotes education continues to prey upon those who are trying to better their lives by getting an education to pursue a career that they are passionate about. I went to Miami University, a well respected but expensive public school in southern Ohio. I left after 2 years because I was fooling around becuase my heart wasn’t in it.

    I thought classes per credit hour there were expensive, and they are.

    Having said that, AI is highway robbery. My parents are willing to pay for my education, I am very lucky. Having said that I would never allow my parents to pay $80,000 to take courses online. Half of an education is the human and social interaction you recieve. If you take that away your tuition should reflect that a core part of the education is missing, and reduce the price. Even if the school reduced the price in half it would still be highway robbery.

    From what I have gathered from the schools website the school promotes itself as being extremely accredited and respected and turns out oodles of promising professionals at affordable prices that can easily be paid back by the amazing jobs waiting to embrace graduates.

    If you look anywhere else online and in the news the TRUTH is clear. This school doesn’t give a shit about Art or the people who love it. They love money. Period.

  • They let anyone in who wants to enroll and gets loans approved…I was able to get into the Comp animation program with stick figure drawings… they didn’t care about any portfolio, 3 months out and they stopped any assistance with job finding, as an adult I know I was grossly unqualified but they got me in at 17 with the dreams to work for dreams works when I graduate.. blaa blaa etc… I don’t care that they don’t teach the subjects the best and truly depends on if they got lucky with a professor but don’t throw the false promises to hopeful artists/wannabee’s… also my sophmore year sat down with an adviser who told me when i graduate I should be around 50k in debt… graduated at 133k… =x

  • My son has attended for over four years and at the end of each year is told, you still have a few more classes to take. He took them and just before he was to graduate told you are not good enough to be here and his final project is unsatisfactory. So another two semesters in and is told again that he really isn’t good enough and why is he at AI? Four and a half years and almost $80K.. and NOW they tell him he shouldn’t be there.. and he leaves with NO DIPLOMA. This is now in the hands of our attorneys.. Pathetic. Beware.. this school is a joke and a scam.

  • First off, f— the little b—— on here talking crap on the people who have been scammed by AI. I too was scammed by these ass holes and yes, I did my research and even went there and talked to several students which were all happy with no complaints at the time… I went there for about a year and a half (san bernadino california location) going for my bachelor’s in audio production. From the start, the recruiter pressured me to sign up and get me the max amount in pell grants and student loans. I will say they are extremely persuasive and the recording studio they showed off to me (which they claimed cost 5 million) was very nice and brand new, not to mention all the new imac computers in almost every lab. From a glance, everything looked great! It all seemed very lagit, but once I started attending, I slowly started to see all the b.s. and that most of it was all smoke and mirrors. Another thing that got me was the “starter kit” we “HAD” to buy for 1000$ which consisted of a zoom h4n hand-held recorder 250$, a cheap 25$ xlr cable, some 75$ head phones, two books (about 25-35$ each) and a shure sm-58 microphone about 100$.
    all in all, about 500$ retail and they are buying these items in bulk so its probably only costing them about 275$ roughly and thats just the tip of the ice berg! The real turning point for me was when I had a production sound class with a female teacher that was about our age( and a complete b—-!) And for our final exam which we all had to study our a—- off reading an overwhelming amount of information in 12 super long chapters of our book, she shows up AN HOUR LATE! and then has us watch 15 mins of “sin city” and write a one page essay about the sound of the movie.
    prettt lame right? Ohh, but if us students show up late even 30 seconds to class, we get points deducted off our grade! But hold on, it gets even better! In a ” field recording” class where we had to run all over campus and record ” ambient sounds” and then upload them to sound cloud( really?) The teacher for that class would show up reeking of whiskey and slurring his words and I swear I am not even making this up! This is just a few of the phony b.s that goes on at the art institutes. Im just glad I got out before racking up a lot of debt like some of the other horror stories ive read. My advice? RUN DONT WALK, RUN AWAY FROM THE ART INSTITUTES! THEY ARE SCAMMING YOU!!!!!!!!

  • If everyone of us and anyone else finding themselves coming to this site wrote of our experience and the facts with regard to AIO something could be done. It will take all of us writing about the lies. The promise to transfer credits both to the college, and the lie about credits accepted from the college. The lie about degree in demand and job placement. The lie about engaged instructors who are experts in their field-don’t know about you all, but my instructors didn’t respond 80% of the time. The instructors seemed to pass anyone putting out anything to include awful illustrations, misspelled words, and poor grammar. I used to wonder how could anyone possibly get a job when they couldn’t write. After reading a few fellow employee post on another website it became clear. The instructors quit and an administrative employee took over the job. Then I had instructors that would apologize profusely because their other job, their family, or their health prevented any meaningful feedback in a timely manner. Then there were the instructors that would criticize the work but could not explain their rationale behind their criticism. Now add to that the fact that most graphic design firms are more interested in web design and Adobe skills that are virtually so strong you can close your eyes and do it. The fact AIO does not concentrate on these core skills leaving it up to the student to try to grasp on their own in-between BS courses that fail to meet industry standard is what leads to the failure of the school to provide the skills and education necessary to get the job. No firm is looking at us because they know the problems. There are even students out there that are saying AIO got them a job in their field and they are working in fast food or any other job they can get to get by. This is not acceptable, it is fraud!

    It is time to stand as one and send a standing copy of your letter of complaint to the following email address and demand the government go after the money they gave to fund this farce of an institution, and demand they shutter the doors to this school and all of their campuses throughout the United States and abroad.

    Call or email the Consumer Finance Committee and let your voice be heard.
    Consumer Response team at (855) 411-2372 or

  • We had a great experience with Art Institute of Seattle. My daughter got her AA degree there, and used her education to be come very successful in marketing. Now she is on her own, using what they taught her about business financing and management. I paid for her education, just completed the student loan, and was quite pleased with the results.

    If you understand the art world, if you understand the role of art in today’s world, you can get the kind of education there that will allow you to enter related fields. No state school can offer more than that. AIS offered superior career counseling and job support to what we experienced with the state schools where my other daughter attended. I thought they delivered on their commitments, provided a quality education at a fair market cost, and kept their agreements.

    My daughter attended class full time. She was not in the online program. That may be the difference here. All I can speak to are their full time resident programs; however, we found them to be worth their cost in every way.

  • I have been attending the AI online for about 5 or 6 months now. Prior service I was not coerced into getting financial aid and they also did not push for me to use one of my benefits even after finding out I had served. I was the one that brought it up. After all the calculations and being enrolled the school realized that with my Post 9/11 I would have more then enough to cover everything plus more. They actually just sent me a check in the mail. I will say if you do plan on doing the Online route be prepared with a lot of class changes depending on your situation. Overall the Art Institute Online has not once done me wrong and is continuing to help me. Since the start I actually placed in classes that pertain to my major and I also never was promised a job just they will try to assist me when it come to that time as well as internship if Applicable. If you have been screwed over sorry but not sorry. You can research everything and also I will guarantee if you read all the things they have you sign when enrolling it will detail out all the things they offer. Best of luck but a profit school is to make profit.

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