The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (87)
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!
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.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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!
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, About.com, 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.
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.
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.