The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (70)
I have read a lot of negative reviews of this school, so wanted to add my comments to help people decide. I have an AA from Art Institutes of Seattle and wanted to finish my BA but am a busy working designer and couldn't attend a physical campus. I had a great experience with the Art Institute online, but had to drop when my employer informed me that For-Profit schools are not covered by our company education reimbursement policy and I couldn't do full-time course load to qualify for full financial aid. The school finance people are indeed very pushy, but if you are sure of what you can afford and are willing to finance, you should be fine. Just tell them to stop calling and they will. The instructors were great and we had real online courses with instructor lectures and lots of valuable homework/projects. If I had a financial resource besides just being in debt for full price, I would reenroll. Note: In classes, I did encounter people who were not really qualified to be in class. They do over-accept students. So I could see how people are commenting about the lack of degree "status" from this school. But in the end, for all design jobs, it is your work that counts. A good portfolio, plus showing you put the work in by earning a degree, is all you really need.
The classes are average, but really the finacial deparment is the real joke. They do not give you information on anything they are doing, and have totally ruined me. My advisors did not keep me updated on information that I needed and now I owe for him not turning his side in on time? Why are these people in business? I know I am not the only with an experience like this.
I can't speak for the on-campus school, but I will say the online classes were sub-par, and you are essentially charged thousands of dollars to read. Alot. and then get 'peer reviewed' by other students who may or may not know what they are doing. While there were good teachers there, the online experience trumps any value they may have had as they usually take a forum moderators job and I've had the experience of working very hard to build a 3d model only for the critique to be 'watch those verts'. Speaking of which, most of the information you will learn will be fluff and nothing that can be of use in the industry. I can't tell you how many times I had to go over the same tired 'what's the difference between vector and raster' week in several classes. When I finally got to the areas of knowledge I wanted to learn, 3d modeling and animation, I ended up having to sign up to external courses like Digital Tutors (that at the time only charged 35 dollars per month) for superior quality video instruction. Oh..did I mention you learn everything via text tutorials? They even link to free tutorials on the web like the famous joan of arc on 3d total. I am now in lifelong debt to Sallie Mae (Who is in cahoots with A.i/EDMC/GOLDMAN SACHS!) and am still unemployed and not one step closer to my dream of being an animator aside from what I am still teaching myself. If you have a dream, stay away from the Art Institute. They are charlatains who will promise you a steak and lobster dinner, and when you sign on the dotted line, will throw you spam and ramen and convince you it's a gourmet dish.
I am from Kansas City, and we have a wonderful and well known Art Institute here (Kansas City Art Institute) I have friends who have attended this school and it was looked upon highly by them. I wished to attend this school as well, but due to health problems attending classes physically would have been impossible. I was very excited when I discovered the online school. I requested more information expecting a packet or something in the mail. What I got instead was a phone call the next day from a VERY pushy and overbearing 'academic advisor' although a better name for him would have been recruiter. He was unable to answer any questions I had about the program and school itself, when I informed him at this point I was only looking for information about the school, he continued to push and within an hour had me applying for financial aid, and grants over the phone. It seemed the only answers he had about my questions were about tuition, and had me give a list of people to him that could help me financially. It was going to cost $40,000 for a 2 year associates degree. I was then appalled when he had me sign up for the school online and I was instantly accepted. My friends who attended the Kansas City Art Institute spent months preparing their portfolios to get accepted. All AIO needed was money, no portfolio at all. I then found out my 'academic advisor' did not even live in Pittsburg, but in Arizona. He called me again the next day for another marathon phone call, in which he had me fax over several forms to him. I looked at one paper and saw that in fine print this school is actually in association with Brown Mackey. I called the Kansas City Art Institute, and asked about this program and the affiliation they had with AI Online, and they informed me this program was very much looked down upon by most of the Art Institutes, since they allowed anyone in, and the instructors were not in his words 'up to Ai standards'. I started my first class regardless of this. I noticed not only was the format extremely hard to understand and navigate, that my teacher actually held no degree in art, and incfact lived in southern Missouri working at another college. It sounded like he did this as a side job. He mentioned the college he worked at and when I stated that I knew what college that was and had friends attending it, he immediately deleted the post I had made responding to it. I was then I realized this school was a farce. I then dropped out--and swallowed the over $900 it took to do so. The wanted to charge me $4,000 for the whole semester, but I had a family member call and inform them that I felt I had been pushed into this by the overbearing 'academic advisor'. Since within the first phone call of wanting information, he had me enrolled and filling our financial aid. They did finally agree to only charge me for the one class I had started. I would never recommend this program to anyone. You are paying Art Institute prices for an education not even remotely close to the Art Institute quality.
Pay attention to those reviews that say it's all about money. They quoted me a price at the beginning. Sucked all of my government loans dry. Then as I approached my bachelors degree they suddenly needed an additional $30,000. Basically holding my bachelor's degree hostage. Your instructors are not always professors. Often you get a facilitator. A facilitator may or may not know how to operate the software you are learning. Good luck to you! Passive-aggressive instructors. If you miss an assignment or are late for an assignment a pissing match often ensues. My Major CHANGED right in the middle of the program. There was no effort to compensate me, or adjust my requirements. The additional charges were just tacked on. Classes I had taken at the Art Institute suddenly counted for nothing. Classes I had transferred in were counted against my unit count, but not added to my grades. Therefore I had 18 units with a grade of ZERO. So my GPA looked lower than it actually was for my entire time there. Surveys There is a mandatory survey at the end of each class, but you have to fill it out before the class is over. That's right. Your instructor/ facilitator/ professor gets to see your survey before they issue your final grade. You can imagine that they have a load of positive classroom surveys, but it doesn't prove a thing.
I wish I could have continued on the degree I originally enrolled for. The degree changed midstream.
Get a final number on the cost, in writing. I have had 6 different financial aid counsellors. They can lie to you, because they will be gone when you finally get to a point where you might quote them. There were times when the amount I owed was quoted as three different amounts. My home page had one dollar amount, the statement I got in the mail had another amount, and my financial aid adviser was quoting me another amount.
I signed up almost 2 years ago for an associates degree in web design, since then they have screwed up my classes by giving me advanced before the basics and did not make good for this was still charged 4600.00, they have started my last class before the student loan was finalized without telling me this and now am being billed for 10,000.00.
I am certain that something can be done to prevent this from happening to others and to get these debts squashed so our credit is not affected.
I am looking to find another school, but seems most have the same footsteps. Does anybody know how to complain to the Student loans provider, great lakes ?
THIS SCHOOL LEAVES YOU WITH DEBT! LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS AND DO NOT EVEN ONCE CONSIDER GOING HERE! THEIR ADMISSIONS DEPT. WILL HARASS YOU AND MAKE YOU COME BUT YOU HAVE TO THINK OF YOUR FUTURE!
THEY TAKE IN LOW INCOME FAMILIES AND STUDENTS AND THEN ACT LIKE THEY WILL GET YOU A JOB..YOU WONT FIND A JOB! I PROMISE!
I MADE A MISTAKE BY GOING IN AND GETTING THE DEBT NOW I STRESS OUT EVERY SINGLE DAY! DO NOT FALL FOR THEM! THEY ARE TERRIBLE! I PROMISE YOU, SAVE YOUR SELF FROM THESE MONEY HUNGRY FREAKS!
When I started at this school I was very excited and the first few classes I had we're great, but as time went on I was having more and more issues with classes. Many assignments were often vague in their details and I ended up spending more time trying to understand what the assignment wanted than I spent doing the assignment. It can also be diffucult to get ahold of instructors and receive a proper response.
For a while I was trying to get a hold of my academic adviser so I could start taking more classes, but even after the numerous messages I left for him and emails he refused to call me at the times I would be most available. I work third shift so I sleep during the day, I'm not going to be able to get to the phone in time. This completely screwed up my plans for my education and was partially the reason I decided to leave. The class content ranged from great to completely useless. I honestly don't feel that here is anything I couldn't have learned on my own, in fact most of my learning was done on my own by researching outside sources with much more usefull information.
I understand that part of this is about building a portfolio, but grinding through assignments and not learning anything about industry, with no efforts made to reinforce what your supposed to learn, honestly leaves me feeling totally unprepared for a career in the field.
My final class at the school was a video class using Premier. The program was easy to learn but the assignments didn't match up with the book and all the files were completely screwed up.
All this cost me 30 grand if I had stayed it probably would be looking at a $70,000 bill. I feel this is far to expensive considering the issues with this school.
First off, I agree with most of the other reviews I've read on this website regarding the low-quality of education offered by AiO. I had maybe 3-4 great instructors when I was there, and a larger majority of them appeared to have other more pressing matters to attend to besides the educational needs of their students. I've found more often that this degree program was an immense waste of my time and money, and that AiO had damaged my future more than it has helped.
I had rather high hopes for gaining an education when I began the degree program at Art Institute way back in 2004. However, by the time I completed the program in 2008 my hopes had diminished due to the economic collapse somewhat, but I was equipped with a diploma from my four years of 'self-paced' learning offered by AiO. Now, in 2012; after all of my efforts to match up this education with a job I am left with only a bill of sale and an unmanageable albatross of student debt attached around my neck and all hopes of a better life through education are tossed out the window. If you are considering pursuing a degree through this institution, please instead find another option because this is an utter waste of your time and effort. I learned nothing through this degree program that I couldn't have learned on my own.
The 'Advertising' program is set up to prepare the student for an 'entry-level' position at an advertising firm, but here's a thought for you: An entry-level position will not provide adequate income to repay the student debt incurred through this program. It's a trap, and you'll be better served by looking elsewhere for your education. Trust me on this, because I've tried to use the credentials offered by completing this program to find gainful employment, and none of the employers which I submitted to showed the least bit of interest in a degree from this institution. It's completely worthless and you'll be happier in the long-run by committing yourself to another program.
I decided to go to school to finally get my Bachelors. The first issue was when I had an advisor who didn't take the time to process my transcripts properly which left me with re-taking math. I am a graduate from ITT and my highest math was pre-calc. After takeing a math class and getting a c- I had to retake (no way). I requested a new advisor who had the same back ground in electronics and knew I had to have a math back ground. He requested a re cap of my transcripts and my math was added. I wasted 3 quaters in Math. Things were going on fine this was to be my third year; I was re-married a year ago and for some reason my financial aid kept gettting kicked back. I took a break in July and now I'm getting calls that I owe the school $10,000.00??????
Not to mention when I started this journey I inquired about my financial aid ending before I finished; I was told that I was could until my last 3 courses. Well 64 credits left until I complete and I have $11,000.00 left of financial aid!!!! I work at a University but I have very demanding hours, which prohibited me to going to class. Speaking to one of my colleagues she stated that I shouldn't have been allowed to go that long with owing them any money, and if I hadn't have taken a break in July I probably would owe them more money. Now I can't get anyone on the phone..to answer the question of the debt except the person trying to collect the debt for me. At this point "poor student services"!!!!!! I am now looking for scholarships, but when I find one and obtain it "I will not return to AIO"!!!