The Art Institute is done, but you aren't

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (which includes the online division) shocked students recently with its sudden closure, but it's actually been a long time coming. Luckily... its not the end of the world, and i'll tell you why.

Grab some popcorn... because you may be here for a little while. Oh yeah... its going down!

So the news dropped of the closure, which was effective ASAP and... students staying in dorms couldn't just stay there and figure things out. They had to go. This includes students from out of state who didn't have the luxury of just going back home with the help of family in the area, some had to scramble to get a place to stay (whether they were able to afford it or not).

A local college has stepped in to try and help... but i'm sure the minds of many of the AIP students are still racing, just like some of the AIP graduates.

The bright side is that the loans should be washed away, but make sure you don't suffer the consequences of having that loan forgiveness taxed as income.

For some... the downside is not knowing what to do next, but... I've been there. Literally, I graduated from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (Online Division) in 2010. I'll get to why you should smile in a few minutes, but let me give you a little back story about this last domino (aka AIP) that actually kicked the whole thing off by way of my experience.

I was enrolled during the time when EDMC owned Art Institutes around the country and deceptive practices were in full swing (based on my experience).

Yes... I was one of those students who enrolled in 2005 based on deceptive practices by one of their recruiters. I was excited, but as time went on... I began to realize that the curriculum was just... horrible (and old). Feels like I fought from start to finish to get slightly better than the worst experience.

There were lots of "NOs" to all sorts of things... which included the use of a free whiteboard for better comprehension in a certain class. I totally didn't understand that (it was FREE), but I kept fighting because I was the one paying them.

I fought to try and get my team to the Game Developers Conference during a particular year, (I was appointed the project manager on the project) and the school wasn't willing to cover the trip. There were no opportunities... and it was just frustrating, regardless of what was advertised. I also found out before graduation that they weren't doing job placement (which was the reason why I enrolled).

So we get to graduation, and I'm just so annoyed by all of this crap and... I realized that online students can't even have our portfolio in the showcase if we don't travel to the school to be in attendance. There was no way in the world I was going to let that slide. I contacted certain faculty members to find out why that was, and my argument was sound. Why pay similar or more than on-grounds students if... we can't get a similar experience?

I believe they had to have a meeting about it. A meeting! It was approved. Anyway, my 2010 graduation had come and gone... and it was time to see what the school was actually going to do since they weren't going to honor what I was told. I was in contact with my designated career services adviser... which was actually a data collector so that they school could take credit for any gained employment to use with advertisement, and it was pointless.

It wasn't the fault of the "Adviser", but I didn't take on debt for that. So I told her how I felt about it all and how the school's big wigs should be ashamed of the deceptions they allowed recruiters to deploy for financial gain.

My "Adviser" was named, Kathleen Bittel. If you're familiar with her name, then you'll know that she's the woman who blew the whistle on EDMC with her damaging testimony. Did I push over the first domino? Maybe.

Anyway... the domino effect had begun as EDMC came under fire. It was sued by the government, and... school after school began to close. Granted... jobs were cut, but its the fault of those who promoted deceitful recruiting practices to increase their bottom line. I believe the recruiters had to bring in a certain amount of students at a particular time in order to remain employed.

I went from being excited about enrolling, to being anti-college for anything that didn't require it. I'm not the only one, because that experience left a bad taste in the mouth of many students... and what happened from there? Word got out and enrollment dropped. Unfortunately the current AIP students didn't see or didn't take heed to the protests, but... you should smile.

Why? You're off the hook for that debt, and... you don't need school for the things you enrolled for. Utilize the course requirements to find out what materials you need for certain classes and... learn from the text books, software, and the wealth of information at your fingertips via your phone & PC. You literally don't have to worry about that cloud of debt sitting over your head, you lucked out.

If you're still not convinced, look at the lives of some of the past students and graduates trying to get rid of college debt. Paying the interest alone won't get rid of it, and the balance will ultimately go up to a ridiculous degree.

Lenders will do little things like give you a low price for a certain time period, and after it passes they'll expect you to pay these crazy payments ranging in the thousands at times. So you go from a manageable payment (if you're lucky to have a job) to being under water.

If you go into default, it will affect your credit and they can garnish your wages and take your tax refund. Certain banks won't hesitate to take the money out of your account if you have a loan with them... whether you like it or not. Sound fun? It shouldn't.

Lastly, I strongly advise that you continue forth with your goals, but... improvise. The money you will save paying off a student loan can go into funding your dreams. If you like or at least appreciate this post... share it, subscribe and support through one of the links below.

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