PLEASE STOP SCROLLING AND READ THIS IF YOU ARE EVEN THINKING ABOUT CONSIDERING THE ART INSTITUTES.
The Art Institute that I attend in California’s Orange County has been featured on multiple news websites in regards to a recent event that has torn our campus to pieces.
Mike Tracy, a fantastic and passionate animation teacher, has been terminated for taking a stand against unnecessary digital textbooks. Despite a petition that rounded up 3,700 votes in 12 days asking AI to reconsider, they fired Tracy and remain stone-faced about the decision. They are now laying off more than 25 teachers and consolidating majors to protect their profits, further hindering the students as they struggle with the astronomical tuition the school demands.
Of course, this doesn’t even compare to the elephant in the room, which is the 11 BILLION dollar lawsuit against the school for fraud. The Art Institutes have very high-pressure enrollment techniques, sometimes even flat-out lying to students about the job market and how ‘now is the best time to enroll!’ The Art Institutes have constantly accepted and enrolled low-income students, and by the time they graduate they are neck-deep in debt with no possible way of paying for it.
I am one of these students. I was accepted, enrolled and taking classes in less than a month’s time, regardless of the fact that my family had little to no credit and that I had very low income. They guaranteed me that my tuition would be covered by this miracle drug called the Education Finance Loan. I was approved for this loan when all other lenders turned me down for my lack of credit, and I foolishly thought I would be able to finish school without a problem. I was wrong.
When the government sued AI for fraud, they pulled my only lifeline halfway through my education. I was fifty thousand dollars in debt without a single way to continue paying for school. The school cut my credit time in half in order for my classes to be covered by federal grants, making what would have been a 2 year course expand into 4+ years. However, since federal aid only goes so far, I now have to pay the school 850 dollars a month or I will be unable to register for classes. These payments continue for the next 38 months and will stack with my loan payments six months after I leave school.
I don’t know how I’m going to manage it. It’s very possible that I won’t be able to pay at all, leading to a default. This is not the kind of situation I want to see other people go through. I’m not the only person in this leaky boat and if I can somehow manage to prevent other people from going through the same, then I’m going to try my damnedest.
Please stay away from the Art Institutes. I know it’s tempting, and that it sounds too good to be true, and that’s because it is. AI doesn’t care about your education. It cares about your money. It doesn’t care if you even HAVE money. It will pretend to give you money, keep it, and then tell you to pay them for it. For your own sake, don’t enroll in a school that puts profits in front of your education.
Thank you for reading, and I hope for the best for all of you!
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