Jay Fabares confused to San Diego aback she was 18 to accompany a relationship. Fresh to a new city, she had her accomplished career advanced of her. Eventually, she took accustomed apprenticeship courses at a association academy because alike admitting she didn’t yet apperceive what she capital to do with her life, she already knew that she admired to draw.
“My accomplished life, I’ve been an artist. Afterwards my jobs, I would appear home and draw. I was actual abundant into art and cartoons and had an about accurate anamnesis of motion,” Fabares said. A co-worker’s bedmate adapted accessory The Art Institute of San Diego afterwards seeing her drawings, so she absitively to analysis out the accessible house.
“I was the aboriginal actuality in my ancestors to go to academy and they hadn’t helped me adapt for education, so I was basically on my own,” Fabares said.
The academy was expensive, but the academy said they could get her banking aid. They additionally told her that credits she’d already completed wouldn’t transfer. As a first-generation academy student, though, “I anticipation that this charge aloof be normal.”
But during her third analysis into the Media Arts and Action program, she accomplished that her accommodation to acquire was a mistake.
“I was never alike able to booty a Beam [animation] course, which in the industry was exceptional of,” she said. “I acquainted trapped –- afterwards spending this abundant time and money adjoin the affairs already.”
The debt striker movement spreads
The Art Institute of San Diego is endemic by the Apprenticeship Management Association (EDMC), and is a for-profit career academy that receives grants and subsidized apprentice loans from the federal government. But beforehand this year, the association appear it would gradually shut bottomward 15 of 52 of its Art Institutes campuses. So far, San Diego hasn’t fabricated that list, but the arduous cardinal of closures and the belief from added campuses is abundant to accomplish AI accepting concerned. Acceptance in the Art Institutes has alone in contempo years, from 66,440 accepting in 2013 to 61,070 in 2014. It’s a adverse assurance for the for-profit academy industry.
After all, accepting at Corinthian Colleges, addition for-profit career-oriented academy that went bankrupt, acquire alleged for debt abatement from the U.S. Administration of Education. And it looks like the administration is starting to apprehend their case. For the aboriginal time, accepting mired in crushing debt from ailing run for-profit colleges saw a blink of hope.*
They casualty on people’s insecurities about their self worth.
Seeing how able those accepting were at advertisement the abuses of Corinthian colleges, AI accepting began delivery their apropos about their own debt burdens and the affection of apprenticeship they received. Above AI accepting active a MoveOn.org address to bright the debt of parents and accepting for those who abounding the academy amid 2003 and 2011. The above accepting who created the address anticipation 2011 was an adapted absolute because that was the year that The U.S. Administration of Justice filed a allegation adjoin EDMC, authoritative the allegation that it fraudulently took $11 billion in government aid and targeted low-income accepting to aggregate their aid money.*
Ben Miller, chief administrator for postsecondary apprenticeship at the Center for American Progress, says that as a society, we’ve awash the accent of activity to academy so adamantine that it has become accessible to dispense accepting into cerebration every academy is “created equal” and argue them that every academy account the price. EDMC colleges tend to acquire academy charge than accessible colleges with the aforementioned programs but academy levels of apprentice accommodation default, suggesting they’re accepting a adamantine time accepting the kinds of jobs they were promised.
In October of aftermost year, EDMC appear that it accustomed apprehension from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it wasn’t in acquiescence with SEC rules afterwards it delayed filing its anniversary banking report. Soon after, it delisted its accustomed banal from the Nasdaq, which agency it is no best beneath the SEC’s filing obligations. The aggregation said the adjournment was due in allotment to the SEC’s analysis of association finance’s comments on its acquirement accepting and bad debt assets recorded on apprentice withdrawals from school.
“This is a aggregation that carefully went clandestine aftermost year so the accessible wouldn’t apperceive what was accident with it, and that says a fair bulk in itself,” Miller said.
“Beyond for-profits, we still accelerate kids to colleges that aren’t actual good, but for-profit colleges in particular, because of their chump account orientation, are added acceptable to booty advantage of [the abstraction that every academy is created equal], and appearance up and be affable and accomplish it absolutely accessible to apply,” he said. “Part of it is that there’s a actual adult business machine, so they angle that you can do it and you can’t allow not to do it. They casualty on people’s insecurities about their cocky worth.”
Quality of apprenticeship and admissions standards
Several AI accepting told ThinkProgress that they accomplished in the aboriginal year afterwards alpha academy that the Art Institutes didn’t accommodate the affection of apprenticeship they were advantageous for, by teaching age-old methods and not hiring abundant agents for courses assigned for ample and accustomed majors, as able-bodied as accouterment actual anemic career services.
Rebekah Hancock-Murphy, 23, capital to become an illustrator but opportunities were mostly far abroad from area she lived. Hancock-Murphy capital to booty affliction of her grandmother, however, so she didn’t feel adequate affective far away. Afresh she saw The Art Institute of Houston (AIH), which was afterpiece but accustomed her to acquire “the academy experience.”
As I was activity through classes, my agents would acquaint me the bulk I was accepting was worth nothing.
“Since my grandma was there, I had to accomplish abiding she was okay. They told me I’d get affluence of banking aid so I concluded up applying and it aloof wasn’t what I thought. The architecture was age-old and they were absolutely abaft on the technology. I was gobsmacked by what they were teaching me,” she said. But the bulk was high — she had to booty on a huge bulk of debt above the grants and federal loans she able for. Hancock-Murphy’s adviser recommended she booty clandestine loans on top of the federal loans she had already taken out, but she beneath to do so. Now, AI Houston is one of the 15 campuses that will be shut down.
“As I was activity through classes, my agents would acquaint me the bulk I was accepting was account nothing,” Hancock-Murphy said. “They would acquaint me that it was activity to get me nowhere, so I bigger acquire a abundant portfolio.”
Other accepting who abounding AI San Diego, which isn’t on the cease list, never appropriate them to appearance their portfolios to admissions staff, and that there appeared to be basal to no standards for chief acceptance. For those accepting who did struggle, they say they didn’t acquire actual abundant advice from adroitness and staff. One apprentice said he accustomed actual little abutment for his acquirements affliction from the academy afterwards his acceptance.
Hancock-Murphy was enrolled at AI Houston during the aeon covered by the address which is why she thinks her agents acquainted adequate cogent her that her bulk wouldn’t advice her defended a job.
She said the academy never offered discounts on software accepting ability charge or alike adapted accepting assertive software or laptops that would accommodated the demands of appliance assertive 3-D apprehension programs, the kinds of things generally offered to accepting at added schools. Accepting say they instead had to await on agents to go the added mile because the schools wouldn’t accommodate direction.
“We were acquirements 3-D apprehension programs that are rarely acclimated by bodies in the industry and we didn’t apprentice for example, that ZBrush is a big affair in the industry or Mudbox and things like that,” Hancock-Murphy said. “One time we got chargeless software was the Maya program, and that was because one of our teachers, who was still absolutely an artist, knew about it and he was the one who had told us how to use it.”
Since then, she absitively to appear Grossmont Academy to abstraction history and all-around studies. It was there that she accomplished how bargain academy could be, accepting fee waivers and banking aid for textbooks.
“I still do art as a amusement but activity to AI, I accomplished I wasn’t accessible to go to art academy and was accustomed on apocryphal grounds, so alike admitting I was appealing acceptable aback I larboard aerial academy and had all these recommendations from my art teachers, I wasn’t able and on top of that, I had no abstraction how to access subjects,” she said on why she switched her career focus.
All credits are not equal
For too abounding students, they wind up activity trapped already they’ve been in a affairs alone a few semesters, in allotment because it’s actual difficult to alteration credits to addition school.
Andrew Shufeldt, 29, who now works in an authoritative role at Paradise Valley Association Academy and attends academy there, said The Art Institute of San Diego’s d architecture affairs was at atomic bristles years abaft the ambit and told accepting that corpuscle buzz amateur would be low tech aback all trends in the industry showed that amateur would become added high-end and compact. He said that although some advisers were effective, the assets they had to assignment with were inadequate, which is why abounding of the agents he’s accepted acquire confused on.
Transfer credits are appealing abundant abortive to any added academy besides maybe some added tiny for-profit school.
“There were at atomic two acceptable instructors, but the assets they were accustomed and class they had to chase meant their calmly were tied, and abounding acquire confused on,” he said.
Shufeldt said it’s actual difficult to alteration credits from AI schools to added institutions. Afterwards enrolling in and alive at Paradise Valley Association College, he abstruse added about the adversity in appointment credits due to AI’s cachet as a three-year college. Instead of a academy algebra advance actuality three credits, it would be 2.3 credits, authoritative accepting balance accustomed apprenticeship courses.
“It was difficult ambidextrous with what they were account to added schools. Alteration credits are appealing abundant abortive to any added academy besides maybe some added tiny for-profit school. The credits activity to Arizona Accompaniment University or any added academy appear above as electives,” Shufeldt said. “They are ranked as analysis rather than semester, so it doesn’t technically calculation as a abounding course. Gen-eds from that academy can alone be acclimated to ample prerequisites and alike that is actuality acutely generous.”
In an acceptance acceding covered with accomplished print, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, for example, addendum that its credits aren’t calmly transferable: “The credits becoming are not advised as a dispatch bean for addition institution … If you are because appointment to either addition Art Institutes academy or an detached school, it is your albatross to actuate whether that academy will acquire your The Art Institute of Pittsburgh credits.”
After Hancock-Murphy’s grandmother anesthetized away, she confused to San Diego to alive with her ancestor and appear the Art Institute there, but she begin that she begin that she had to administer all over again.
“What bodies don’t acquaint you is that aback you alteration amid Art Institutes, is that the arrangement isn’t interconnected, so aback you transfer, you acquire to ample out a absolutely altered application. They can’t accelerate annihilation amid schools added than transcripts,” Hancock-Murphy said.
Miller said accepting generally acquire that because a academy is accredited, it should be aboveboard to alteration those credits to addition institution. But he warned accepting shouldn’t await on accreditation agencies, and to be accurate of non-U.S. News or Washington Monthly academy rankings sites that affection for-profit schools prominently, as abounding are created by marketers answerable with the assignment of award students, or as they alarm them, “leads.”
“The added above botheration you acquire is that best consumers acquire that if administration of apprenticeship is accommodating to accord you a admission to go here, that should beggarly there’s some bulk of due activity that went into allotment colleges that can participate. The botheration is that’s not absolutely true,” Miller said. The accreditation agencies that are one band of aegis are basically co-opted by the schools and do an bottomless job of customer protection.”
The aisle forward
Given the after-effects of Corinthian Colleges’ closures, AI accepting may be able to footfall into the aisle already artificial by those students. The U.S. Trustees Office gave above Corinthian accepting the OK to anatomy a board to represent accepting during the defalcation process. Accessible Counsel Law Center, Robins Kaplan LLP, and Strumwasser & Woocher LLP said they are apery the interests of about 500,000 Corinthian accepting afflicted by its collapse.
ThinkProgress requested a animadversion from the U.S. Administration of Apprenticeship on what above AI accepting could do to seek banking relief, as above Corinthian accepting acquire done.
“As EDMC phases out several campuses, the Administration will carefully adviser the bearings to ensure that their students’ interests and futures are protected,” said Denise Horn, abettor columnist secretary for communications and beat at U.S. The Administration of Education.
Unfortunately, it’s these accepting that had it bad, but there is achievement as the administration deals with the fallout, Miller argues.
“The accepting at Corinthian on the day it got shut bottomward and a little bit afore that too, they will acquire a aisle to get rid of loans afterwards accepting into murkier borrower aegis to repayment. This is a transitionary period. The area is accepting abundant afterpiece to rightsizing, and now the affliction amateur is gone, and the added and third affliction amateur may not be actuality this time aing year,” Miller said. “But the botheration is that you acquire bodies who acquire been ripped off for years, and so what do you do about it? I anticipate allotment of what they charge to do is get money from these schools while they still acquire it.”
AI is additionally on the U.S. Administration of Education’s acute banknote ecology list, which provides added blank over federal apprentice aid. Schools are put on the account due to issues such as backward or missing banking statements or audits, outstanding liabilities, accreditation issues and affair about the school’s banking responsibility, to name a few.
AI schools included on the list, as of March 2015, accommodate The Art Institute of Phoenix, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, The Art Institute of Atlanta, The Art Institutes International Minnesota, The Art Institute of Houston and The Art Institute of Seattle. Best of them are listed beneath either “CIO problems” or “financial responsibility” on the department’s list.
Life afterwards graduation
Shufeldt said the academy had appropriate access in the industry, but all of them were through professors, not necessarily admitting the academy administration’s efforts to ability out to employers.
“They were relying on educators’ accomplished access with altered companies and had annihilation absolutely activity on alfresco of that,” he said. “They had abounding jobs that were somehow angry to hiring quotas. Like jobs at Kinkos counted adjoin the animators’ hiring quota. Bold artists alive as a d tester counted, which, you apperceive a actuality who hasn’t alike accelerating aerial academy could get that job.”
That may complete archetypal to those who appear four-year colleges, but schools like the Art Institute are classified as career colleges, acceptation that they abide to accommodate accepting with an access into specialty fields that crave appropriate training. These job adjustment ante are generally allotment of the business accepting apprehend afore they assurance up.
They had abounding jobs that were somehow angry to hiring quotas. Like jobs at Kinkos counted adjoin the animators’ hiring quota.
According to a 2012 Health Education, Labor and Pensions board address on for-profit colleges, EDMC accepting attempt to acquisition jobs admitting the aerial bulk of accessory these schools. Alike admitting The Art Institute of Minnesota appear a job adjustment bulk of 89 percent for the 2012–13 bookish year, the academy counted any job, behindhand of whether it accompanying to their degree.
They’re additionally demography out a lot of clandestine loans. According to U.S. Administration of Apprenticeship abstracts provided in 2011, The Art Institute of Hollywood’s average clandestine loans for cinematography and film/video assembly came to $25,393, and at The Art Institute of San Diego, the average bulk accoutrement and accessories business operations accepting took out for clandestine loans was $27,780. At The Art Institute of Colorado, average clandestine loans for computer cartoon was $21,675.
Although Jay Fabares became balked with her academy of best at AI San Diego, it is additionally area she met her husband, Sanders Fabares. They met while accessory the academy from 2003 to 2006. Both Jay and Sanders had a difficult time award assignment afterwards college, demography aliment account jobs aloof to pay the bill, as able-bodied as their apprentice loans.
Fabares said that career casework didn’t bother to ability out to her post-graduation. “I graduated, it was fleeting — no acquaintance or extensive out from the school. I don’t anamnesis them anytime autograph or calling me on their own. I bethink emailing them about accessible leads aloof to be beatific a account of jobs that didn’t alike bout my accomplishment set,” she said.
When Fabares began applying for jobs, she anticipation that her portfolio would angle out, accustomed that she advised her assignment added developed and accomplished than abounding of her peers, but already she accomplished the affectionate of alertness accepting from added art colleges received, she acquainted ashamed.
“But already you get out there and apprehend what accepting acquire done at added schools, you realize, ‘Oh, my portfolio .’ Not alike that, but it aloof was subpar, and all these bodies from CalArts had access and relationships with abeyant employers. They had studios appear to their academy for portfolio views, and they knew what to accomplish for them. Their class was added targeted.”
Fabares formed at a Starbucks for a few years while she approved to acquisition assignment in her industry. She did defended an internship at Disney, but she didn’t get offered a position. Meanwhile, her bedmate formed at a auberge afterwards academy and eventually anchored altered positions aural gaming companies.
She eventually begin a full-time job at a gaming aggregation with his help. She now works as a chief beam artisan at Playtika Santa Monica, accomplishing animation. Sanders Fabares now who works as a website moderator.
I acquire never already benefited already from what I abstruse at [Art Institute San Diego].
The couple, now in their thirties, helped anniversary added defended jobs already they accelerating while they did their best to accumulate up with apprentice accommodation payments. His debt is currently $25,000 and chastening is $71,000. Best of the time, the brace confused wherever Jay begin work, aback her positions tended to pay more. That meant that Sanders couldn’t consistently accompany his passions for abstraction and film.
“I acquire a acceptable job that allows me to assignment from home for an across company, but this isn’t what I anytime saw myself accomplishing as a career,” Sanders Fabares said. “I acquire never already benefited already from what I abstruse at AI-SD.”
EDMC appear a account in acknowledgment to ThinkProgress’ inquiries about some of the issues above accepting mentioned:
It is black to us aback a apprentice has a bad acquaintance at our school. We go to abundant lengths to advice accepting acquire what they are signing up for aback they appear our schools, including costs of education.
Our banking aid aggregation works abundantly with anniversary apprentice from appliance to graduation and above apropos the banking aid action and alone banking aid plans. We do aggregate we can to advice accepting acquire accommodation obligations and commitments including IGrads, a banking aid articulacy resource, and a Apprentice Customer Advice website.
Like all accepted colleges, we acquire no ascendancy over which schools will acquire our credits.
With account to the affection and outcomes of programs at Art Institutes schools, our industry-experienced adroitness acquire formed with abounding organizations both civic and local, bringing that acquaintance and industry ability into the classroom. Our adroitness is committed to teaching industry-relevant trends and technologies, accouterment our accepting with the abilities they charge to accomplish in the artistic industries of the future.
Our curriculums are evaluated to ensure the competencies accomplished are industry accordant and we additionally acquire a affairs advising board of industry professionals that analysis the curriculum.
We are committed to allowance our accepting acquisition jobs from day one. Our campuses acquire internship programs and co‐op partnerships with bounded companies to advice accepting abound their portfolio and accretion admired assignment acquaintance while still in school.
We acquire a Career Casework aggregation that helps accepting cross the job bazaar both afore and afterwards graduation, by alms leads on job prospects, apprenticeship accepting on crafting resumes and advancing them for interviews with employers. We additionally accommodate abundant opportunities and contest for accepting to advertise their work, including Portfolio Shows area admission accepting present their assignment to abeyant employers.
We are committed to accouterment the befalling for an apprenticeship that … were it not for schools like ours … abounding of our accepting ability never achieve. We absolutely advice body careers.
The Fabares brace confused several times, to altered areas of California, until they could both acquisition work. “We ping-ponged all over the state, so wherever there was a job for her, we went there, because that was the academy advantageous job and we didn’t acquire accumulation to abatement aback on,” Sanders Fabares said.
He said their struggles award assignment afterwards AI acquire activated their relationship, but ultimately, it was a abundance to apperceive they were both in the aforementioned baiter and would face those challenges together. Afore Corinthian Colleges fabricated account for their inaccurate job adjustment rates, they didn’t apperceive added accepting at altered for-profit colleges faced the aforementioned problems.
“It absolutely put a ache on our relationship, but at the aforementioned time, alive addition actuality went through the aforementioned acquaintance fabricated it somewhat easier. We knew we were calm on that,” Sanders Fabares said. “Over the aftermost few months we acquire been afraid and affronted at how agnate added student’s belief are to our own.”
* Aback this allotment was aboriginal published, the 2011 U.S. Administration of Justice case adjoin EDMC was acclimatized for $95.5 actor and EDMC did not accept any wrongdoing. Although above advance has been fabricated in commendations to accouterment apprentice debt absolution to above accepting and graduates of institutions acceptance to Corinthian Colleges, the afresh Secretary of Apprenticeship Arne Duncan said the case did not acquisition “a bribery to students” that would advice accepting of EDMC colleges with debt forgiveness. However, the case did allege EDMC of giving accepting ambiguous information, such as apocryphal job adjustment rates.
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