Art Institute of Pittsburgh

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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Motto The College for Creative Minds
Established 1921
Type Private , For-Profit NASDAQEDMC)
President George Sebolt
Students 6,200
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Campus Urban
Affiliations Education Management Corporation

Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP) is a private, for-profit, higher education institute located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, that emphasizes design education and career preparation for the creative job market. It was founded in 1921.


The former Art Institute of Pittsburgh building at 420 Boulevard of the Allies, sold to a Chicago developer in April 2014
Art Institute of Pittsburgh poster - circa 1936

Founded in 1921, the school began as an independent school of art and illustration, producing a number of accomplished artists (including watercolorist Frank Webb, animation producer and director Rick Schneider-Calabash and the late science fiction illustrator Frank Kelly Freas), but now specializes primarily in design disciplines and Culinary arts. In 1968, Education Management Corporation (EDMC) acquired The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and it became the model for creating additional schools in the Art Institute System.

Since the 2009 public offering of EDMC, and the subsequent majority position by Goldman Sachs, emphasis throughout the EDMC system shifted increasingly toward shareholder profits with cost-cutting measures[1] resulting in larger classes, fewer student services, and a standardized curriculum throughout the system, obviating the need for resident experts and curriculum developers at the individual colleges.[2] In 2013, found that the Institute provided the worst return on tuition and the student's time of all institutes of higher learning surveyed.[3] According to disclosures the college is required to provide to the Department of Education, overall graduation rates as of 2012 fell to 39%, while graduation rates among Pell grant recipients were still lower at 27%.[4] The graduation rate fell substantially further in 2014 from 39% to 24%.[5] New owners took control of EDMC in 2015, as EDMC entered into a debt-for-equity swap with its current owners giving up the majority of their stock to creditors with whom they broke loan covenants.[6]


The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is located in a rented building in downtown Pittsburgh. During its growth phase, it relocated six times, expanding each time into larger facilities with a broader curriculum, and in 2008 became one of the largest arts colleges in the United States. However enrollment began to quickly drop beginning in 2010, in part because of federal lawsuits.[7] The historic landmark building at 420 Boulevard of the Allies the school had purchased in 2000 was sold in 2014 to a Chicago developer. The Art Institute now operates in the building under a two-year lease expiring in 2016, with an option to extend the lease into 2017, thus the school is expected to move at that time. The new building owner is quoted as saying "My purchase price was based on the assumption that after three years they’re leaving."[8]

Art Institute Online

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Online division is a semi-autonomous division of the Art Institutes offering degree programs and non-degree diploma courses in a variety of creative fields, and offers online classes for on-ground Art Institute students.

Practices at the online division have been called into question in recent years as whistleblower suits were brought forth by employees within the company, and joined by the United States Department of Justice.[9] Enrollment in the online division and EDMC's other online programs ballooned from 7900 in 2007 to 42,300 in 2012, due in large part to practices that devoted more per-student expenditures to marketing ($4158) than on education ($3460).[10] Dramatic drops in enrollment since that time however led to massive layoffs in the online division.[11]

Licensing, accreditation and memberships

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (since 2008) and The Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).[12]


  1. Deitch, Charlie. "EDMC layoffs hit Art Institutes nationwide". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 26 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Halperin, David. "EDMC Professors and Students Speak: How Lobbyists & Goldman Sachs Ruined For-Profit Education". Republic Report. Retrieved 26 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "The 25 Colleges With The Worst Return On Investment."
  4. "Graduation/completion rates - The Art Institute of Pittsburgh". The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 26 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Graduation Rates: The Art Institute of Pittsburgh" (PDF). EDMC Corporation. Retrieved 6 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Allen, Lisa. "Education Management Cuts Deal to Trim Over $1B in Debt". The Street. Retrieved 3 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Van Osdul, Paul. "Whistle-blower accuses EDMC of falsifying records to get taxpayer money". Retrieved 28 July 2014. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Schooley, Tim. "EDMC sells Art Institute building with much shorter lease-back term". Pittsburgh Business Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Hechinger, John. "U.S. Joins Whistleblower Suit Against Education Management". Bloomberg.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Deitch, Charlie. "EDMC reports revenues, enrollment down on heels of more layoffs". Retrieved 27 July 2014. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Deitch, Charlie. "EDMC insiders report layoffs underway". Retrieved 27 July 2014. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Middle States Commission on Higher Education