The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (86)
I did not graduate. In fact I spent 4 years at this school and they ran through my financial aid money like it was water. At first I did not notice and was busy working on the online classes. Then at one point we was required to purchase digital online books. I could not find cheaper books or borrow books for my classes to save me a few dollars. Some of the classes I questioned because we did not hear from the instructors much. And looking at my work and the work of others I could clearly see that my work was not up to par for a good professional portfolio. In the end I took notice of how high my bill was getting and inquired to how many more classes I had to take yet. It took me awhile to get a straight answer from my advisors. When they finally informed me I ran through all my grants, and loan money that I only had 10 classes to take to graduate. But I could not move forward because I could not pay for the classes, also I had to drop out and they charge you to drop out of school! 3000! Worth of some kind of fees. So here I sit with over 60,000 in loans, climbing interest rates and nothing to show for it. Sadly I thought that the Pittsburgh Art Institute was a good school in good standing. Only I found out too late and assumed too much and got talked into this school only to find out it's a scam. I did not get my degree, can not get my transcripts until I pay off that 3000.00. And if I had gotten that degree it would be useless. Go to a real university or Community college forget this one. Online is not worth the trouble in the end.
This school started out well. The first few semesters I fairly breezed along, never mind the fact I had to take a ton of math courses which costed me more. Math classes I simply did not want or need. Suddenly there were things that they needed. More equipment that wasn't on the student required lists. Expensive things that were suddenly needed right before the classes started. For example when I started a particular class there was no need for a back drop or an extra lighting kit. one week before the class is due to start, we're informed via email that the equipment is REQUIRED in order to even take the class let alone pass. I suppose if you have money falling out of your nethers, that wouldn't be an issue. However, nobody has that sort of cash (At this point it was almost $300+ for the equipment) and coming up with that amount of money would either take a leprechaun falling out of the sky or one suddenly winning the lottery. This went on for the entire time I was there. I'm a stubborn bint and I wanted to see this through. I slogged through teachers who didn't care. Grading whatever they felt like and leaving copy/pasted feedback in their critiques, then docking grades on those who did not leave "enough substantial feedback". It was very hypocritical. Certain people were graded one way, while others were graded another. Images that were clearly not good enough passed with good grades while others who had stellar work were docked for little things. It seemed arbitrary. When questioned suddenly your grade would change. I was a part time student, so it took me roughly five years to complete (With a four month break due to my mother passing away). Get to 2015. I get calls weekly from various people who are suddenly my academic adviser. I think in the five years I was there, I went through no less than nine counselors in my five year career. I get closer to my graduation and I am in my final class. My professor clears most of my images for printing. I get told they're not the best but they'll have to do. I start getting weekly calls from my adviser saying I was graduating, I was going to do fine and they looked forward to giving me my diploma. I'm excited, of course I'm excited. I've never had a diploma like this before. I go through my class and then get told I didn't graduate that all the stuff I handed in was not acceptable. Never mind that the professor and the counselors had five and a half weeks to tell me otherwise. I was basically lied to. Told I had to repeat the class or not graduate. When i questioned all of this I get told I have to appeal I send in the appeal papers and get told I didn't hand them in on time. Despite them being handed in under the 30 days I had to do it. Do not attend this school. Please. I'm asking you, pleading you to reconsider your options. No matter how promising it looks, it is genuinely too good to be true.
I'M GREATLY DISSAPOINTED WITH MYSELF FOR EVER ENROLLING IN AIPOD FOR MANY REASONS! -Teachers and other students offer minimal inspiration. -I’ve had teachers with no sympathy, that would rather fail a student who puts lots of hours and effort into their projects and hands them in late, than allow the work to speak for it’s self. -All students need to do to get a degree at AIPOD is pay the tuition and submit assignments that meet the minimum requirements. -I'd be cheating myself out of time, money, and education if I continued at AIPOD. -I'm better off educating myself as I was before I enrolled, for free, online. -The school has a Bad Reputation for enrolling ANYONE who qualifies for grants and loans, whether or not they’re academically eligible or artistically inclined. -High tuition rate does not reflect the poor education and resources offered. -Horrible graduation rate and dropout rate -I feel as though I’ve foolishly put myself in debt for a degree that isn’t worth more than my portfolio. -Having a degree from AIPOD is a joke to many companies. -Credits are nontransferrable -I was drawn to AIPOD by a commercial, I called for information, Spoke to a recruiter who "took care of me" told me everything I was eligible for. She built me up and made me feel as though I was doing a "good thing" by pursuing my degree. I was just naive and vulnerable. The wool was pulled way over my eyes. Had I done research on the school, I would've never made this HUGE Financial mistake.
This school is the worst. None of the staff knows what the hell is going on. They are constantly "checking in" but as soon as you tell them truth, that are scam artists and being really inadequate they won't respond or they switch your advisers. I have also received several billing statements, for other students. Or once I got a course withdrawal email for someone else. I emailed back to clarify with my "team" and again, the snotty woman never even responded. This school is far too expensive. I could teach myself the things I learn here. The instructors are basically there to mediate the courses. They are no help. They just sit back and enforce strange rubrics, change the rules then grade you poorly based on some stuff they made up. I have had more crappy instructors than not. I had one who was posting one rubric then claiming I had misread, misunderstood or ignored the rules so I copy & pasted the assignment requirements and sent them to her, she STILL insisted that's not what was posted. I had to remove my phone number from my profile because they call non-stop. The few times I have talked to them they expect to get 4 or 5 hours of your time. I'm a parent and full-time employee. I can't do that, nor would I if I had no other requirements. I also had my work number listed for possible emergency contact... they called me daily for a few days at work. Problem is they couldn't reach me because I worked shifts, in a 911 dispatch facility. Once they got me on the line and I simply told the man he needed to stop calling my job and tying up 911 lines and hung up on him. They still demand contact info for me at times and I ignore them. They have my email and that is all. I am looking to change schools or simply give up design school. I haven't taken a single course in the last 3 years that applies to Interior Design... I was under the impression this was like a vocational school, I'd be studying for my degree. But no, I'm paying over $4,000 each semester for fillers and gen eds at this fake school. I was advised after years that my aide will run out before I can even complete my degree. My financial adviser is some young girl who is nasty and stated the information about my aide as though I was the dumbest person on Earth. The info also was ONLY told to me after I threatened to leave the school, and after I demanded (after asking many times) to change my aide disbursement so that I can get the money instead of giving the remainder aide to them. This place is all about your money, not you. They will contact you relentlessly if you owe them but they refuse to answer you if you contact them with a problem. Reading these reviews I saw that there is no Dean or President. . How is that even possible? Explains a lot. I am so fed up and it's time I put my negative experience out there too if it will help save someone else a few thousand dollars on this useless place.
I am going to start from the beginning of why I am so frustrated with The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online and the horrible financial system that is set up that makes this school a scam for military and their family. I know I am not the only VA student who has been treated this way and deal with this garbage. For the first two years I attended this school I called EVERY time I got a bill and was told over and over again that it was just because the school had not received the VA check yet and that I didn’t need to worry. Obvious lies and the sad thing is that I was told this by a few different financial counselors because I was assigned a new one almost every quarter! Your system is set up so that once a certain amount of money is owed the student is locked out of their classes. This happened towards the end of my first year or beginning of the second year. When I called to see why I was not able to access my classes my then counselor said she didn’t know why and did whatever she needed to do to get me unlocked from my classes. Again there was no mention of money owed. It wasn’t until my third year that I was informed of the amount that I owed that wasn’t covered by the VA because no one bothered to inform me that the VA only paid for their calendar year. So even though I had been asking for two years no one on the schools end was willing or educated enough in their job to inform me of what was going on. Of course I am sure none of this (if documented) is even remotely similar to what I am sharing here since after yesterday’s conversation it is obvious that there is an issue with honesty there. My third year I did get locked out of my classes after only knowing about the amount owed (nearly $10,000) for a few days. After discussing with the financial counselor my options of either coming up with all the money or getting student loans I was forced to get student loans. Then, the counselor knowing that I didn’t want to be attending classes outside of the VA calendar year still enrolled me in a set of classes that were not covered by the VA and when I found out about a week and a half into the classes I was told I couldn’t pull out of the classes and that it was too late! Then October/November of this year I was informed that there was a $2000.00 amount on my account. When I started asking questions it was found out that I had been enrolled in my first session of classes BEFORE the start of the VA year. I was enrolled and started August and should have started six weeks later in September! The counselor knew what was going on and still enrolled me! In regards to the stipend that we discussed yesterday I asked the counselor more than three times how I needed to get that money back to the school…I even asked if it would be easier to mail it to the school because I didn’t want to screw it up. She said no that I needed to contact the lender and they would tell me how to apply the money which they didn’t either obviously because it didn’t get applied to what it was supposed to apparently. For you to tell me that I haven’t been responsible in this, please tell me what else I could have done. Two months ago you and I got my account to finally show a zero balance. Then you tell me last night, one week before I graduate, that I have an $845.79 balance from two years ago and that I have received bills for this, which I haven’t or you would have obviously heard from me earlier. Then to tell me that I have had access to this online?! Well If I have had access to it then you had access to it and it wasn’t there two months ago when you yourself told me I had a zero balance. It is very obvious that this school sees VA students as “easy money” not only did you score money from the VA but I was scammed into also having to pay out of pocket when the whole plan was to attend school and graduating with no money owed. When I talked to Jorge before I was even fully enrolled into this school he even re assured me that I would be fully covered and wouldn’t need student loans. However everyone employed at this school amazingly neglected to add in the part of “Only if I attend school for whatever portion the VA covers”. This school has been nothing but heartache, frustration and disappointment for an average education.
24 months for a Certification in Residential Planning. I love interior design, had already been in the field as a Custom Home Interior Fabricator at least 10 years when I started school. So, my personal experience was very good. HOWEVER!!!! The associate who registered me said the classes are designed for the working adult. 25 hours at the week tops. So, I assume it will be 35 hours. In the next breath he says they are crunch courses however, to get your diploma quickly. This should have been a red flag. But after the end of 2008, my business had just fell off the map. Every designer I worked with vanished - only 3 lol... ANYWAY!!! I was not computer savvy when I started online school.. First class was CP101. Took 55 hours/week. AutoCAD 60 hours a week and my only C, brought my GPA to 3.25. Most of the classes took 55 hours a week. There are four of us at home, my husband has been disabled, so his income is not what he wants it to be, not like when he worked, of course.., our kids were 7 & 11. It was hell. For 2 years. But luckily he was home to manage as best he can, I didn't watch a single movie, only 4 weeks off? Maybe 6.. Still worked 30 hours/week.
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.