Academy of Art University Reviews

2.16 out of 5 stars
(88 Reviews)
  • San Francisco (CA)
  • Annual Tuition: $22,308
31% of 88 students said this degree improved their career prospects
26% of 88 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
Margaret Williams - 1/13/2012
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"Worst experience, ever!!! they guaranteed that all of my tuition was covered by my loans and grant funds, only to learn that was a lie. Now they have forwarded my case to collections and refuse to transfer my credits to my new school! Money-hungry!!! Not concerned with student needs only their bottom line!"
1.0 out of 5 stars
Mariko Sampson - 6/25/2011
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Graduation Year: 2012
"AI online- Pittsburgh was the worst investment I could have ever made. The education is a JOKE! The teacher dont seem to be real they all use the same programs and follow the same path. There is no support system you will change counselors about 7 times within a two quarter time period. Please dont waste your time and money on a poor education with no ending in sight!"
out of 5 stars
johnny - 1/11/2011
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"The other reviewers are right in that it is expensive, about 17k a year. It is notable that if you take classes online that you do not have access to the computers, software and hardware that traditional students do, so that can add thousands of dollars to your bill.As for the hand-holding and "they didn't tell me about fees" comments, well, it's college. I don't think you should be expected to not have to work and figure out how to run your own life and the way to get the most bang for your buck. The negative reviewers couldn't spell or form sentences either, so I don't expect them to do well.Most of the teachers are top in their field and all are practicing artists as well as teachers. Some are good, some bad as with any school. I noticed that an overwhelming number view the online portion of their class load as an add-on and don't spend much time with the class or like to answer questions. There are, of course, really great teachers too.The delivery of the content is a proprietary system that is astonishingly good and well thought out. It is nothing like other online classes I've seen, it is completely interactive. The best thing I can say about AAU is that it is a real university where classes can be taken online. That's opposed to what most people think of when they think of online schools, usually a way for a lesser school to just push something out there to make money, like Phoenix and the like. This is a real university, with somewhere around 9,000 students on their campus in San Francisco and the online version is the same top notch school just delivered in a different format. It's not for people looking to just get a degree like one might at schools like Devry, AIU, or Kaplan; this is for people who want to become artists for real, taught by real artists. I'd be embarrassed to tell someone I was in an online school if I went to most, but not this one. It's not an online school, but a school that happens to teach online as well."
out of 5 stars
Mike Esparza - 11/5/2010
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"Yes, I love the school, being an online student with their online tools and tuition was the best solution out there for me... but sadly I'm force to quit and not only quit it also my credit will be screw thanks to collections services.But how this happened? well if you are not in top of financial and the cost of your classes, you will be in the same situation as I am right now! When I register for the first time my financial advisor told me that everything is cover, then my academic advisor told me to register for 4 classes, well it result that the 4 classes cost more of what my financial aid can cover around $980 more!! But the system wont say it! it actual allows you to register and doesn't give you any message at all that you are out of balance. Then 2 months after you register (now when is impossible to withdraw any class in order to be on balance) they charge you the balance and not only that give me 5 days to pay at least $300 (that I dont have) so they will not close my classes... so now I have to pay them for the full tuition of classes that I never finish or got the credit for it! Thanks $8,8000 drawn the toilet. Thanks a lot AAU, and what is more sad is that their president Dr. Elisa Stephens (AAU President) wrote in a blog a few weeks ago: The Heart and Soul of Our Nation's Economic Recovery... very inspiring but she really mean it? and as you see am not the only one! And sad part is that i did great in the school, but Im force to leave it, because is impossible to come up with that amount of money in such short time."
out of 5 stars
Muumuu - 9/10/2010
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"I am taking online classes at AAU and I plan on dropping out of AAU by the end of the semester not because I dislike the classes and teachers but because they are disorganized and expensive. I am mostly frustrated with my advisor and the financial aid office. I currently took out loans and I am receiving pell grant but this semester I feel the numbers don't add up and they are overcharging me compared to last semester and they told me today I owe them more money because my loans and financial aid wouldn't cover everything it just feels like a scam."
out of 5 stars
Amy - 7/3/2010
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"Ok...here's the skinny with AAU. They're not going to hold you hand...period. If that's what you're looking for then may I suggest your local community college. I think that they have done a great job with hiring competent instructors. Some will make you question them whether they're here on earth with you. I've only had one space cadet for an instructor. We went back and forth for a time, then he stop after he realized there was no doormats over here.I've never been known to bite my tongue and I will not deprive you of it here. I certainly don't deprive anyone in the AAU community either. I'm not nasty with it, but my points are clear and direct. No use of sugar here. I'm an online student in the undergraduate Interior Architecture and Design program. I love it. I love it because I have a genuine interest in the field. And...as an online student you must go above and beyond to get your education. Real pennies are adding up to quickly not to have that type of attitude. With all of that said, here's where I fall completely out with the school. The money. I'm so up and arms with them that I'm transferring and enrolling in my State university's architecture program. Their accounting practice are very suspect. Even though you get federal aid, they really want you to come out your pocket, so they'll say you can use only your grant money and not your Stafford loan money if you take only one class during the summer. You should be able to use your awards to your discretion, not theirs. They have no problem restricting you from the installment plans either. That makes it easier for them to force you to pay out your pocket until you get fed up and drop-out or transfer like me. If you attend this school, you must take control of your educational tract. The student advisers are not there to advise you. They're soul purpose is to help build a portfolio. And I'm not knocking making money, but it's a problem when you are blatantly robbing your student body. Compare you degree program with other universities and colleges offering the same program. Get in touch with their pre-transfer department to find out, if you do decide to transfer, which classes will transfer and which ones will not. Take those classes that will benefit you first and then if your interested in the other courses, take them later on down the road. Get your principal classes done first. Just in case you do decide to transfer. The good part is AAU is accredited. I had a personal conversation with the Department of Education, verified it on their site, called the school I'm transferring to and they concurred,and done some other research with the organizations AAU said they were registered with. Not all AAU classes will carry, which is why it's important you do your homework. And that's what the student advisers are particularly good at; trying to convince you that all classes are necessary and getting you take inadequate classes. Now I have the sweetest student adviser, but I'm my own adviser regarding this. And have been since I realize that some of my classes were a waste of time. Another tidbit for you, every course offered at AAU is only worth 3 credit hours. Don't think that mean much? Check you State and other private universities (check your local community collage's) course breakdown and look at their credit hour structure. In any program. And in there lies the problem...the robbery...and the rape. Again, if you still going to go to this school, which isn't all that bad, take charge of your own affairs. Note that supplies and books are always found somewhere else cheaper. You just have to be willing to sit down and put the time in to research it. Not everything on those supply list is even necessary for you to get you work done. I would try to get every book if your interested in building a personal reference library. I keep all of my books. And until Congress really put their foot on the necks of these for-profit schools; know what you're getting yourself into. I am truly learning at the Academy (in an online environment at that) and do hate to be leaving, but financially it's a deal breaker. Their decisions are far to arbitrary and are in contrast to the accounting processes of other well known national private and State universities. You're going to get bad financial practices at those places too, at times, but they are a little more fair to the students. Don't be surprise if you hear that AAU is making an IPO. I'm sure the thought has been entertained. Be smart with it. It's not cheap. Speak up. Hold them accountable. You are paying their salaries; they do work for you. If you feel like you're bugging them...good. Then you're doing what you're supposed to do. You're there to get an education and you can't learn without asking questions and requesting the time you paid for from them. But, be smart about it. There is a way to do it. I'm sure they'll be glad when I'm gone too. And if it don't work out for you at AAU, don't let your dreams, your education, suffer because of it. Good luck to everyone considering this school."
out of 5 stars
Crystal - Photography Major - 3/11/2010
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"This is school is amazing, the teachers are great, some can be a little hard but it's better for the challenge. The online environment is better than anything else I have found, especially blackboard or e-college which are horrible and not interactive at all. The instructors post their lecture as a voice recording with slide show as if you were in their classroom. The school tries to make the online experience as visual as possible with many media clips and voice recordings with feedback on some assignments. They have tons of resources, the advisers are great and are always there to help, and the financial aid office is great as well. Every one you speak with is always nice and will help you with anything you need help with. If you are an art student and need to obtain your degree online, this is absolutely the best place to get it."
out of 5 stars
Gayle - 2/27/2009
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"I just love this school. I haven't had a single problem yet. The coursework is both interesting and challenging. I suggest a minimum of 15 hours a week of study time."