The Art Institute of California – Orange County

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The Art Institute of California - Orange County
Type For-Profit
President Gregory J. Marick
Dean Allan Price
Academic staff 85
Students 1,700
Undergraduates 1,700
Location United States Santa Ana, California, U.S.
33°41′46″N 117°55′06″W / 33.696204°N 117.918234°W / 33.696204; -117.918234Coordinates: 33°41′46″N 117°55′06″W / 33.696204°N 117.918234°W / 33.696204; -117.918234
Colors Red and Black          
Affiliations The Art Institutes
Website Design Schools, Fashion, Media Arts and Culinary - The Art Institute of California - Orange County in Santa Ana, California - The Art Institutes
AiOC Logo.png

The Art Institute of California, A College of Argosy University – Orange County[1] is a for-profit university owned by Education Management Corporation located in Santa Ana, California. Under Argosy University, it is affiliated with the The Art Institutes system of over 40 educational institutions. Argosy University's parent company is EDMC. The campus is composed of 13 art departments, two applied-art schools, The International Culinary School, the Fifty Forks restaurant, The AUSSI Art Gallery,[2] and one dormitory complex. EDMC was founded in 1962 and in 2006 sold 41% ownership to private equity investor Goldman Sachs.


The Art Institute of California - Orange County

The Art Institute of California – Orange County campus is made up of two schools, a restaurant and one housing establishment. The main building at 3601 W Sunflower Ave., located at the southeast corner of Harbor Blvd. and W Sunflower Ave. intersection, is where a majority of classes are taught, The International Culinary School and Fifty Forks restaurant, as well as an art gallery are situated there as well. The second building at 3501 W Sunflower Ave., houses the Administrative offices, the campus library and a number of classrooms. A third building, located at 3511 W Sunflower Ave., houses industrial design workshops, fashion design sewing rooms, the student affairs offices, human resources, and additional classrooms.

Areas of study[edit]

The school offers B.S., B.F.A., and A.S. degrees in several career-preparatory programs, including culinary programs.

Student restaurant[edit]

Fifty Forks restaurant, is the public campus restaurant, operated by the students and faculty of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Orange County, opened in August 2003. Guests awaiting their meals can watch their dishes be prepared, and ultimately served, by the staff in the kitchens surrounding the dining area.

Graduation Rate[edit]

According to the Student-Rights-to-Know Act, any school receiving Title IV funding from the US Government is required to calculate the number of actual students who graduate with a degree and disclose this information to current and prospective students. A sample of students followed from 2004 to 2010, revealed 320 out of 1021 students completed graduation. This gives The Art Institute of Orange County a graduation rate of 31 percent.

Top Employers[edit]

Students who have completed a full degree at Art Institute Schools have been hired by top employers including: The Home Depot Inc., Electronic Arts, Marriott International, Nordstrom Inc., Restaurant Associates, Macy's Inc., Sodexo, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Target, Whole Foods Market, Bose, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Sears, J. C. Penney, Best Buy, THQ, FedEx, Sony, The Walt Disney Company based on a chain wide sample of all 40 institutions nation wide, not campus specific. [citation needed]

Student activities[edit]

Notable events[edit]

  • The school's AIGA student chapter hosted a video conference lecture with designer Milton Glaser via Skype on May 12, 2010, the video conference followed a screening of the documentary chronicling Milton Glaser's career "To Inform And Delight".[3][4]
  • An annual fashion show titled "Rock The Runway" hosts fashion designer industry and media, as well as entertainment industry[5]
  • The school's AIGA student chapter hosted a premiere for the documentary feature film Art & Copy in November 2009, featuring a guest panel discussion by design industry professionals, including the film's producer, Jimmy Greenway.[6][7]

Clubs and organizations[edit]

The school hosts student managed clubs and organizations for many majors, the clubs are sponsored and supported by the school's department of student affairs, and operate cooperatively with the school, students, and outside organizations:[8]


The college has a variety of art groups for students to participate in or become members of in; most of which respectively involve students and their particular field of study.

  • Emerging Green Builders (EGB)
  • Frame-by-Frame
  • iNet
  • Student Fashion Association (SFA)
  • Game Developers Society (GDS)
  • The Food Conspiracy
  • The Bakers Dozen
  • Gay Straight Alliance
  • VEC Club
  • Ai+I International Club[9]


Honor Society[edit]

Bachelors and associates degree students who graduate with honors may enlist in the Association of College Honor Societies, Alpha Beta Gamma-Delta Phi society.


Student housing is available, and consists of furnished apartments in a complex located 1.5 miles from campus. The student housing complexes feature laundry facilities, pools and spas and are adjacent to one of the largest shopping malls in North America, the South Coast Plaza.

Accreditation and licensing[edit]

The Art Institute of Orange County is WASC accredited.

Institutional accreditation[edit]

The Art Institute of California – Orange County is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of the six major regional accreditation commissions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education[10] along with its seven sister Art Institute of California schools under Argosy University. Formally accredited as The Art Institute of California, a college of Argosy University[11] Degree programs offered by The Art Institute of California – Orange County, are also accredited nationally by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), recognized by the United States Department of Education, to award Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science degrees, as well as diplomas. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education. The Art Institute is also an institutional member of the Career College Association (CCA)[12] and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).[13] Courses are taught by industry professionals.

Programmatic accreditation[edit]

The Bachelor of Science degree program offered by the Art Institute in Interior Design is accredited as a Professional Level Program by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly "FIDER," the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research).[14]

State Licensing[edit]

The Art Institute of California – Orange County has been granted approval to operate by the California Bureau for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Education (California Department of Consumer Affairs)

Federal and State Lawsuits filed against The Art Institutes[edit]

The US Government Files 11 Billion Lawsuit Against The Art Institute[edit]

April 2011 The Art Institute and its parent company Education Management Corporation or EDMC was investigated and sued by the United States Department of Justice and four states including California for illegal and fraudulent practices of $11 billion in federal and state financial aid money. A Press Release was issued by the Department of Justice on August 8, 2011 describing the allegations of violating the False Claims Act. The case is pending.

California Files Lawsuit Against The Art Institute[edit]

The State of California filed a Notice of Intervention against The Art Institute's parent company EDMC and joined the federal lawsuit according to California Watch The Art Institute of Orange County along with all the Art Institute campuses were named in the joint complaint.

The lawsuit alleges The Art Institute illegally targeted low-income and foreign students who qualify for government loans which generates 2.2 Billion or 89.3 percent of The Art Institute's net revenue in 2010. Recruiters were allegedly paid $800 for each student that enrolled during their frequent sales pitch events called Open House. The Justice Dept. Lawsuit alleges illegal recruiting took place by instructing recruiters to use high-pressure sales techniques like playing on an applicant's psychological vulnerabilities and inflating claims of career placement opportunities to enroll students regardless of their qualifications.

Predatory Lending[edit]

A second pending whistle-blower lawsuit against EDMC has also been filed by The Government Accountability Office (GAO) alleging the school used every incentive to maximize enrollment by recruiting unqualified students who will not be able to repay their loans. The suit alleges recruiters were trained to mislead students about the types of jobs they could expect to get after graduation. The GAO released undercover video to build their case against EDMC and other for-profit colleges.

Alleged Exploitation of Veterans Benefits[edit]

The HELP Committee, led by Sen. Tom Harkin has been holding hearings with EDMC and other for-profit schools for targeting veterans returning from service with aggressive and sometimes fraudulent recruiting tactics. The GI Bill dose not count against the law prohibiting the school funding not to exceed 90 percent of its income from federal loans. As a result, military money going to for-profit schools spiked dramatically. At EDMC, funding from the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration climbed from $2.04 million in fiscal 2009 to $52.4 million in fiscal 2010 and noted in a Frontline Investigation

Complaints About The Art Institute Schools in California and Other States[edit]

For-Profit Art Institutes of California Accused of Swindle[edit]

On April 11, 2012, a class action lawsuit was filed against The Art Institutes of California. The Lead plaintiff who was seeking a bachelors in interior design alleges that admissions advisers as well as academic advisers mislead her into thinking that the full cost of her degree $89,000 would be covered by federal loans, grants and scholarships but failed to disclosing the maximum limit for her degree was approximately $57,500. She was not qualified for private loans to cover the difference and forced to drop out of school with a $52,162 debt. Six Art Institute of California campuses are named as defendants, including the Art Institute of California Orange County, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Sacramento, along with San Diego and San Francisco.

A lawsuit filed in Texas state court by 145 students of The Art Institute of Houston alleges they were misled about the accreditation status of their program, diminishing their degrees’ value and leaving them with debts they can’t repay. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.

A former graduate of The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale Carrianne Howard went public about her degree in a Bloomberg Article alleging it was worthless and turned to stripping just to pay off her student loan.

Instructors at The Art Institute of Seattle raised questions about EDMC when they tried to join the American Federation of Teachers. The attempt to unionize lost in a 48 to 64 vote. Instructors objected to high-pressure marketing to students to take out loans they couldn’t afford and felt like the quality of education was suffering, that because the emphasis on getting as many students as possible was the main goal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Name Change Information - About Page. (2012). The Art Institute of California, A College of Argosy University - Orange County About Page. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  2. ^ AUSSI Gallery at The Art Institute of California - Orange County.
  3. ^ Skype Conversation with Milton Glaser article (May 12, 2010)
  4. ^ Milton Glaser A Skype Interview article (May 12, 2010)
  5. ^ "The Orange County Register" article (April 20, 2010)
  6. ^ OC Art Tales article (November 6, 2009)
  7. ^ AIGA Los Angeles announcement
  8. ^ Art Institute of California - Orange County Student life-organizations and activities
  9. ^ a b Clubs and Activities.". Retrieved 04-23-2010.
  10. ^ The Art Institute of California, A College of Argosy University, Orange County About Us. The Art Institute of California. Retrieved May 18, 2012
  11. ^ Statement of Accreditation Status Argosy University. (2012). Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  12. ^ Database of member colleges of the Career College Association: Art Institute of California - Orange County. (2010). Career College Association. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
  13. ^ Database of institutions accredited by recognized U.S. accrediting organizations: Art Institute of California - Orange County. (2006). Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Council for Interior Design Accreditation: Art Institute of California - Orange County. Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Retrieved January 10, 2010.

External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]