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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Reviews

  • 0 Reviews
  • Pittsburgh (PA)
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Student & Graduate Reviews

  • Reviewed: 7/28/2013
  • Degree: Web Design
"Tell us about your college experience.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.Would you get the same degree if you could start over?I wish I could have continued on the degree I originally enrolled for. The degree changed midstream.What advice can you offer other students?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."
  • Reviewed: 5/7/2013
  • Degree: Web Design
"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 ?"
  • Reviewed: 4/18/2013
  • Degree: Engineering
  • Reviewed: 1/11/2013
  • Degree: Web Design
"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."
  • Reviewed: 11/29/2012
  • Degree: Advertising Design
"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."
  • Reviewed: 9/14/2012
  • Degree: Web Development
"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 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"!!!"
  • Reviewed: 9/7/2012
"Beware of the online division of this school. I am a highly educated person that opted to increase my web design knowledge via online education with the Art Institute. If you are an intelligent, warm-blooded human being more than likely you will have much more skill and experience, ethics and professionalism than the zombies AI chooses to employ and entitle "Professional Instructors".The school is a scam, the instructors are barely mediocre, and the staff doesn't care about the student experience with the instructors or the curriculum. I am still waiting for someone (AI staff) to show some concern regarding a crazed, stalkerly instructor (D Hill) harassing me, and displaying unethical, hurtful behaviors within the classroom environment. I expressed to program directors that I've experienced a great deal of mental anguish, anxiety, and stress due to being consistently harassed by this particular instructor. I paid $1400.00 for this class to experience a big pit of anxiety in my gut??? Seriously?? In addition, once I called out the instructor on her extremely unprofessional behavior she began to grade my projects in a biased and extremely critical way -- vengeance and spite were this instructor's only priorities. Teaching and professionally critiquing was not part of her M.O. I feel ripped off and screwed, on my dime!Trust me this is NOT a "Higher Education Institution" it's merely a for profit, slaughterhouse, and you're the herd of cattle.Reconsider your options and do more research before you decide on the scam artists at AI to give your money to. For more reviews check out too."
Sandy smith
  • Reviewed: 5/21/2012
"It took me 4 years to complete an associates degree in Interactive Media Design that is about as useless as the paper it's printed on. I made major sacrifices to finish this degree, working during family vacations holidays all goes of the night while holding a full time job. I ended up on the seans list blah blah but so what after spending all that time and money and busting my hump the job placement center told me that "most of our students are already working in their field of study" then was given nothing nada no help.I have used some of my skills to acquire my current ADMIN job, making less than 40,000 five years later. Teach yourself this stuff learning how to draw a self portrait is not going to make you the big bucks in web design I haven't done any of my own sites all the programs we used are basically useless more money down the drain...Do Not believe the recruiters sales pitch they took advantage of a woman with a young family barely scraping by and talked me into what I thought would be a dream job I am not doing anything that has to do with the web and haven't since I graduated. If you want to throw away $40,000 on a two year degree go for it, please don't waste your money and life on this bs school!!!!"
  • Reviewed: 4/10/2012
  • Degree: Multimedia Design
"Ok, This has got to be the worse place to go! I started in July only because I was "convinced" it was the "best" choice. Which it wasn't, this school hardly takes any breaks for holidays not to mention as soon as I got out of high school I started there. That's school overload for you! Also I become very skeptically of them after away. They never wrote me back over emails they always tried to call me. I guess they didn't want a paper trail, I WARN YOU! get a paper trail, they won't screw you over if you do! I told them my phone was broke when it wasn't and then they were forced to email me.I was in the Media arts and animation program and it sucked, the credits won't transfer and they were a waste of a class, I passed all my classes with A's or B's but the teaching sucked, I was often getting back handed compliments, while other students that you can clearly tell work was worse than mine and turned their assignments in late got praised. It's not fair at all. All this place wants is your money, all the people in the office have to meet a quota for how many students they need to get a year. That's wrong! How can you manipulate people like that just to earn some money.Well I told them two months before my last class ended, that I was going to transfer to a college near me because it's too much debt that I can take which was 9,900, for one year! and The financial aid lady asks me very rudely "Well you didn't have to pay for anything out of pocket, so what your problem?" Excuse me, that pure rudeness right there. Well anyways when my last class ended I get an email that says thank you for enrolling in another class! What! I already told them I was transferring after this class not to mention there already took out 5,500 for that class! So of course I got mad like any normal person would, So I wrote the financial aid lady and she wouldn't write me back, come to find out she was ignoring me because she didn't like the tone of my email. So I finally called her and she was rude and saying how dare I use that tone in an email and how rude was I, so of course I got mad again and yelled at her " You know what I have emails that you and the academic counselor acknowledged that I was transferring, so I don't understand why you signed me up for another class and charged me" she told me that everything was automatic there so it's not their fault and well I rebutted with "Well you knew two months in advance so why didn't you just cancel it when I told you too." and all I got from here where some umms.... and frantic breathing, so then I implied " well if that money doesn't get put back, you'll get a law suit on your hands."Then she got nice and made sure she'll take care of everything. After I hung up five minutes later the money was put back and everything was were it should be. YOU NEED A PAPER TRAIL FROM THEM or they will try to screw you over. That school is not worth your time or effort and the teachings are not good at all, so save yourself and go somewhere else!"
Pam Prussel
  • Reviewed: 2/16/2012
"My experience, like many former students of AIO is not good. In short I was promised a useful degree and the potential to get a good job if I would just sign on the dotted line. Everything was done quickly and decisions had to be made on the spot . I have assumed multiple student loans and put myself in debt for nothing.Classes are low quality at best and tuition is ridiculous for a useless educational experience. Art Institute takes advantage of people and has no remorse about abusing the student loan system of our federal government. I am ashamed that I fell prey to their sales pitch and now have student loan debt and no useful degree to show for it. It's all a sham!"
Steve Macintyre
  • Reviewed: 2/8/2012
"I took the Game Art Bachelors degree and was forced to take a whole other Graphic Design degree that I had absolutely no interest in, another 50+ of debt in order to take the Game Art degree in the hopes I could update my skills to a professional level. While there were some good classes and big name instructors from the industry, It pains me to say that in the end, the courses were sub-par.You are expected to learn from HTML text and books you can buy off the shelf (more on that later) and are expected to 'participate' in class with forum software which seems to be written in 1991. There are almost no video tutorials and the HTML "Online Lectures" actually linked to FREE TUTORIALS ON THE WEB (3d Total Joan of Arc) to "teach" their students.My experience is that (with one exception) there was hardly any actual real help from the instructors and students were left on their own to basically self-teach the subject while the school conveniently graded them for their exhorbitant fee. I ended up subscribing to other tutorial sites like Digital Tutors that offered vastly superior video instruction for a quantum fraction of the tuition paid at Ai in order to supplement and actually help me learn what was needed to successfully complete modeling assignments.Getting back to the books, I was actually able to save almost 90 percent of costs by buying used texts from places like Amazon, Half, & eBay. The school nipped this in the bud by making electronic texts mandatory and students are expected to pay 90 dollars PER BOOK with the excuse of saving money and the environment.In short, this school is a rip-off. Don't let the commercials or recruiters fool you. This is a for-profit school at its worst."
Fed up and ready to go
  • Reviewed: 1/4/2012
"I am now trying to transfer out of AI Minnesota for a cheaper, technical school. My family moved to Georgia, and I feel uncomfortable being so young and living by myself. Especially since if I get sick, there will be no one to help me or even know I'm sick. Why do I rate it so low? Well, it goes a little something like this:It's a trap.The credits hardly transfer to other AI schools, if at all. That is a waste of money, way too much money. And the classes? Many times, I was told to "Google" how to use a piece of software....for the WHOLE CLASS. THE WHOLE QUARTER. Each day. Everyday. I might as well paid Google to teach me. Now that I'm trying to move, they make it damn near impossible. AI is great if you don't plan to do any moving around or you like paying that amount of money.But really, in the end, it is "FOR PROFIT" not "FOR YOUR FUTURE.""
  • Reviewed: 12/30/2011
"Reading these reviews really breaks my heart. The Art Institute Online really set me up for success. Yes, it is a pricey but what school isn't? Its because they employ instructors who have actually worked in the field. Not just got a teaching degree. My instructors NEVER had an issue responding back to me, which says way more than my community college I attended.As far as job placement, NO SCHOOL CAN GUARANTEE THAT. YOU CANT EXPECT SOMEONE TO FIND A JOB FOR YOU!!!!! Get off your butt and do it yourself. There is online services to help with your resume and mock interviews. Thats what you should be doing anyways. The staff, have you ever been interviewed why you wanted to go to school? At my community college I was just a number. To speak to an Academic councelor took me a wait time of FIVE HOURS! Then she didnt even care what I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, or even know what she was talking about.I feel, people expect too much. Expectations are the root of all problems."
  • Reviewed: 12/14/2011
"I graduated from the Art Institute online in August of this year. I would NEVER recommend this school to anyone under any circumstance. This school is not only unprofessional and their student support is essentially non-existant, but entirely unorganized! You never have the same academic counselors and when you try to discuss classes, credits, etc. they seem to have no clue not only what you are talking about, but who you are. I was scheduled for classes and credits that I had taken at a previous college, but they never transferred, for an "unknown" reason. Fighting the non-transfer of credits was near impossible, and I can assure you that the "appeal process" and "appeal board" must not exist as they seem to never return calls or get ahold of you.They charge over $200 a semester for online bookstore fees, regardless. If you do not use the service and have not registered for the service, you still pay! They will randomly charge "student cash fees" that are apparently "normal". Financially the school is ridiculous and they will nickel and dome you.Like I said, I graduated in August, I have yet to receive my diploma in the mail. Having spent days calling my advisor and never having a call returned, this literally went on for week, I had no information as to why I had no degree by October. After two weeks I got a return call, stating I'd have my degree within 8 weeks. It's been 9 weeks and surprise, surprise, my phone calls are going unanswered.There is no help in regards to finding job placement after graduation either. Defeating the purpose of going to school and landing a job right away.Overall, the school is just impossible. It's not worth the hassle and the return is non-existant. You can't even get a piece of paper, let alone a return on your investment.Just purely ridiculous!"
Vanessa Plaster
  • Reviewed: 12/3/2011
"These people are MONEY HUNGRY people. They don't care you personally or educationally. Their goals are not your goals. They just want their money and could careless if you ever finished or if you receive a quality education. Both their financial aid and student services personnel aren't concerned about your financial or personal matters. Again, they are only interested in the money part of the deal and they you pay and pay big."
  • Reviewed: 11/29/2011
"I've read a ton of reviews on here and I really can not relate to anything except for the financial aspect. I have had some amazing instructors with incredible resumes including some who are names in the industry (Toby A. who works for the Food Network is one of my favorite instructors to date).I am not only learning but also building a portfolio, which is required for graduation. This said some instructors are lack luster but you will find that everywhere. I have also had great experiences getting help with student services. My only complaint is the cost. AIO is a very expensive school and I wish I would have done more research on cost before I decided on attending.I am only 18 months away from graduation so transferring would be silly, besides I enjoy my classes at AIO. The online classroom is very user friendly and I have not had difficulties getting in touch with any instructors so far. The only other complaint would be that my advisers change too often for my liking.That can be annoying and create confusion, but its not a big problem. So far so good! We'll see what happens when I graduate!"
  • Reviewed: 11/16/2011
"Let me start off by saying that I am a Graphic Designer both full-time and part-time. I have a degree from AI Online – Game Art and Design, an Associate’s in Art Studies from a comm. college, and I am a self-taught artist from a very young age. I am a huge proponent of putting in what you want out of college.I really wish I could recommend this school as it has so much potential but I can’t. AI was great as I can say I have a degree in the field, but beyond that, the only positive I really got out of the school is the fact that it allowed me to work full time and it gave me a great portfolio.I chose AI because many of the colleges at the time offered graphic design as a major based in “fine arts” - I wanted my degree to be based in computer. AI teaches computer graphics via Game Art and Design AND allowed me to maintain my fulltime job while attending classes without a scheduling conflict.I have several personal complaints about the school but I’ll keep it to the main issues. Note that these key points I’m citing are concurrent with other students as well.1) THEY MAKE IT VERY DIFFICULT TO TRANSFER IN COURSES: I have my Associate’s and several other courses, but I only had enough transfer over so that I only had to attend for just under the 4 years of the 5 year circuit. They don’t mention that you can use work experience to substitute for class experience, and if you do you have 30 days to apply for it upon entering the SCHOOL not just the semester (unless the rules have change sense). Though that part is in writing, it’s buried somewhere among the FinAid paperwork under the fine print.2) THEY CHARGE INTEREST: Yes, they charge interest on their tuition payment plan. Even if you have a student loan which is guaranteed moneys, if that money is releasable after a particular time from they’ve designated but don’t discern, then they charge you interest for your out-of-pocket expenses.3) YOU SPEND MUCH OF THE TIME TEACHING YOURSELF: You don’t actually have to study for these classes or purchase the books in order to pass. It would have been nice if the courses at least offered video tutorials on what to expect if you truly don’t understand a subject, but they don’t.4) STAYING IN CONTACT W/ PROFESSORS IS DIFFICULT: Professors are rarely available at their office number provided. Some do supply you with a cell phone, but usually they’re hard to track down as they’re never there - most teaching at other universities.5) 90%+ GRADUTES GETTING A JOB IN THE FIELD: Umm, no. That little factoid isn’t contingent on anything. If you already have a job in the field prior to attendance or just after attendance (i.e. haven’t really started taking any courses), you’re counted too. There’s no way to tell who actually gets a jobs based on the skills they’ve received from AI.6) WAAAAY OVER PRICED: College is expensive enough, but the school is on-line. You’re paying for your own books, your own computer, your own programs, you’re not using their facilities or materials save for wherever they have a server farm to host the classes, you don’t live on campus, you’re professors are only there long enough to read the materials you’ve posted so they don’t have to actually be present anywhere, sooooo why does it ONLY cost about a grand or two less than a traditional college? On top of that, the cost of the degree way out paces the cost of the job in the job market. Designers traditionally are only paid $25K-$45K a year. The degree cost near $100K, so compound that with interest on loans, you’ll be paying that off for quite some time, if at all depending on where you live.Bottom line is that they are a “for-profit” school. Honestly, because of the simple fact that you can teach yourself there AND that the professors teach at other schools, should tell you that you’re paying way too much for a degree from AI. If you want the convenience and pay for it, be my guest, but know you’re field. Take the time and buy a book - there’s plenty of FREE material out there with a simple search on Google,, YouTube, Wiki, or any of the thousands of free tutorials out there. Employers honestly don’t care where the degree comes from they just want to know that you have a degree in the field and that you can show what you know. That’s it. Just make sure you research your school and find a curriculum that fits what you are trying to do, and put a little extra effort in on the side."
  • Reviewed: 11/9/2011
"I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division beginning in December 2009. For the past year and a half I have experienced nothing but problems, unqualified teachers, inadequate financial aid advisors, poorly trained academic counselors, and overall a terribly run school.I've been dropped from classes for FAA's inability to do their job, I've had over 23 AC's who refuse to return your calls or emails. The best part though is the unqualified teachers, who, if you have a question or need clarification, do not respond to your request for about a week (6 days after the assignment is due), and then tell you to GOOGLE the answer!!!My financial agreement stated I would be "investing" approx. $19,000 per year...yet, in the year and a half I've attended, I've paid well over that...over $67,000. My "investment" has been in a school whose credits will not transfer to a state university and who's accredition was falsely stated.I have contacted the Dean of Academic Affrairs, who forwarded me to the Academic Affairs President at EDMC (parent company). While he was nice enough, he made many "promises" to prevent my withdrawal, of which he failed to keep a single one or even fix the problem[s] in the first place.ter shot at getting a job after you graduate) go to a state school or university. Believe it or not, but after speaking with multiple professionals in the Design industry, each and every one stated they would rather not hire at all if their choices were only The Art Institute of Pittsburgh graduates.To anyone who reads this, all I can suggest is that you do your homework. College is such an important investment in your future, and while the majority of negative reviews I have read about AIP are true, do your own homework first. Speak to professionals in the field you want to study and follow their suggestions. Those are the people who have been successful, not the academic counselors at AIP trying to recruit you! Best of luck."
  • Reviewed: 6/13/2011
"No matter how many negative posts are put up here, the bottom line to all of them is the price. All of the other issues talked about is hot air. I am enrolled at AIO and I have had no issues with anything other than the thought of having a large dept after I am done. The best advise I could give is when you get those big stipend checks in the mail, pay a portion, half, or all of it back to your loans. Do not spend it on clothes, crappy CD's, or that new car you wanted to lease. If you really look at it they give you the money to pay them back. If you are some sort of single parent that depends on the stipend check each three months to pay for everything other than school, than you probably should not be in college in the first place.If you have been in the same field that you are going to school for (telling yourself "it's a refresher") 20 some odd years, go to a CC or take a weekend course; why would you even think about going to a college that teaches you things you already know? It's like a fish trying to teach a Dolphin how to swim."
  • Reviewed: 3/16/2011
"I had to take an online class from AI due to the lack of classes within my major at the actual campus I was attending. I ended up taking a Creative writing class, which was anything but creative, and dropped it before the first week was over. Why, good question, after several attempts to get the instructor to provide examples or url links to their work after several attempts to track them down via google had failed.If your paying $1800 a class it's not unreasonable to expect to find something, anything online out side of the AI online site to back up the competency of the instructors. After a few days in the class I became suspect that the instructor hadn't even written the material for the class as the sentence structure was completely different from their comments or replies.Sadly, this doesn't stop with the online classes, but is also true for the actual class room instructors aswell. AI hires instructors (in most cases) who's only prerequisite is a Masters Degree and a pulse. Most have never actually worked in the field they are teaching and I found myself constantly having to correct them when it came to basic fundamentals in art, design and Adobe software.Out of the 10 classes I had at AI, only 2 teacher actually seemed to be full time professionals and part time teacher, the other 7 were full time teacher with little or no experience in what they were teaching, and zero web presence. I google all instructors for a class I'm paying for at any school and have found some schools actually provide you with website urls for their instructors so there is no question of their credentials. My advice to anyone attending an AI campus or Online classes anywhere is to get out and research schools via google and include the word "scam" afterwords to and see what other people are saying. Then research the instructors at these online schools. Professional artist have web presents, they have a website, you can see their work and know if they have the actual skills to be teaching or are just posers."