Full Sail University

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Full Sail University
Full sail university sign.JPG
TypeFor-profit university
Established1979
PresidentGarry Jones
Undergraduates8900
Postgraduates170
LocationWinter Park, Florida, U.S.
28°35′41″N 81°18′11″W / 28.59472°N 81.30306°W / 28.59472; -81.30306Coordinates: 28°35′41″N 81°18′11″W / 28.59472°N 81.30306°W / 28.59472; -81.30306
MascotDC-3 airplane
Websitefullsail.edu
Full Sail University.svg

Full Sail University is a private, for-profit university in Winter Park, Florida.[1][2] It was formerly a recording studio in Ohio named Full Sail Productions[3] and Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts.[4] Full Sail moved to Florida in 1980,[5] running video and film production courses. It began offering online degrees in 2007.[6] The school is partly owned by TA Associates, a private equity firm.[7][8]

Full Sail is not regionally accredited, but is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges to award associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in audio, design, computer animation and business.[9][10] In 2018 it had approximately 8900 undergraduate[11] and 170 postgraduate students.[12] In 2012, the tuition fee for a twenty-one-month course of study was approximately US$80,000.[7]

History[edit]

Full Sail University was founded by Jon Phelps in Dayton, Ohio, in 1979.[13] Its curriculum was centered on recording arts and offered courses in audio engineering.[14] The school relocated to Orlando, Florida, in 1980 and added new courses to its core recording arts program. In 1989, Full Sail moved to its current location at Winter Park, Florida;[14] the following year, it was accredited to grant specialized associate degrees.[15]

Enrollment doubled between 1989 and 1991 at a time of increased interest in film and media studies.[16] The university underwent financial difficulties in 1992 and its growth slowed.[17] Between 1995 and 1999, it began offering specialized associate degrees and associate degrees in computer animation, digital media, game design and development, and show production and touring; these courses were later expanded into full bachelor's degree programs.[15]

In 2005, the school offered its first bachelor's degree program, a Bachelor of Science degree in entertainment business.[18] In 2007, the first master's degree program—also in the entertainment industry—was offered.[19] Online degree programs began in 2007, the first of which was an online adaptation of the existing Entertainment Business Master of Science.[19]

The additions of the master's degree programs, among other factors, led to the school being recognized as a university by the state of Florida. In 2008 it changed its name from Full Sail Real World Education to Full Sail University after attaining university status from the Florida Department of Education's Commission for Independent Education.[20] The campus expanded with the addition of a 1,780-foot (540 m)-long backlot with 18 city facades designed to replicate the sets used in production of Hollywood films and television shows, which later expanded to 2,078 feet (633 m).[20]

As the university grew between 2006 and 2011, the curriculum and degree programs were broadened,[21] adding programs such as a bachelor of science in sports marketing and media,[22] and a master of science degree in game design.[23]

On April 20, 2009, Full Sail marked its 30th anniversary with the opening of the Full Sail University Hall of Fame.[24]

In 2012, presidential candidate Mitt Romney cited Full Sail as an example of the way rising costs of education could be solved. Romney did not mention that its chief executive Bill Heavener was a major campaign donor and fundraiser.[7]

In 2012 WWE began filming episodes of its internet television show WWE NXT at Full Sail University.[25] In June 2015, Full Sail began hosting the WWE Tough Enough series.[26] As part of the partnership between Full Sail and WWE, students have the opportunity to produce WWE NXT tapings, during which merchandise and tickets sales contribute to a scholarship fund for students enrolled at the university.[27][28] As of January 2018, the partnership had resulted in $385,000 in scholarships.[29][30]

Campus[edit]

Full Sail University's approximately 200-acre (81 ha) campus is located 8.6 miles (13.8 km) northeast of downtown Orlando. The campus contains the administrative offices, library and academic buildings, including classrooms, an auditorium, a film backlot, and 110 studios.[31] The university moved to Winter Park in 1989. Renovation and expansion into surrounding buildings began in 1995, adding three additional buildings by 2004. In 2009, the university expanded into a 49,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) space near campus to accommodate its teaching staff for the online degree program.[32]

A 2.2 acre (0.89 ha) facility named Full Sail Studios consisting of a 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) multi-purpose venue and a two-story 10,600-square-foot (980 m2) recording studio and game production studio named Blackmoor after the late Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and instructor from 1999 to 2009, opened in 2010. This addition completed the film backlot covering 2,078 feet (633 m) and 19 outdoor scenic environments.[33][34]

In November 2010, a facility for research and development of new studio and remote technologies called Sports Lab Powered by ESPN was built. The lab worked in association with the ESPN Innovation Lab located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World and was the only sports technology lab at a Florida college or university.[35] Two months later, approximately 200 Full Sail Online employees moved into the Gateway Center in Downtown Orlando.[36][37] Also in 2011, the university announced plans to construct an 86,000-square-foot (8,000 m2) educational building to house 475 faculty and staff, additional film and television soundstages and classrooms; it was scheduled for completion in early 2012.[38] In July 2011, Full Sail acquired Lakeview Office Park in Orlando, with 225,550 square feet of office space across nine buildings.[39]

Academics[edit]

Full Sail's academic degree programs are primarily focused on audio, film and media production,[40] video game design,[41] animation[42] and other studies related to the media and entertainment industries.[43]

Full Sail custom-built a learning management system for use with their online courses; the LMS is Macintosh-based, and utilizes content created by an in-house curriculum development team in conjunction with campus-based instructors.[6][44]

Full Sail has a 55% overall graduation rate and a 21.1% student loan default rate,[45] higher than the national student loan default rate of 11.3%.[46] It is also listed on the Century Foundation's website as a university which includes restrictive clauses in the enrollment contracts, which are intended to minimize the legal recourse available to students in the event of disputes.[47]

Full Sail University's Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting was established in 2017, with a new sportscasting degree program and instruction provided by sportscaster, radio personality, and actor Dan Patrick, among other industry leaders.[48]

According to The New York Times, Full Sail has many of the same problems as other institutions in the for-profit college industry.[7] They reported that some of the university's academic programs have high loan burdens and low graduation rates. The $81,000 video game art program graduated 38 percent of its students, who carried a median debt load of nearly $59,000 in federal and private loans in 2008.[7] The New York Times cited other Full Sail degree programs as having higher graduation rates, noting that the masters in entertainment business, "a yearlong program with a $36,245 tuition, graduated 80 percent of its students, nearly 63 percent of them on time".[7] According to Inside Higher Ed, "a closer look at the numbers reveals that graduation rates are not a major problem at Full Sail: the overall graduation rate is a fairly high 78 percent, according to federal data".[9] In the same article, however, The New York Times noted that Full Sail's students have posted criticisms of the school, including some that call Full Sail a "scam" because of its high costs, low placement, and difficulties with credit transfer.[7]

The university is not regionally accredited, though it is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).[9][49] The college has been subject to criticism regarding transferability of credits, as credits from nationally accredited schools often do not transfer to regionally accredited schools.[50][51][52]

Awards[edit]

In 1989, 1990, and 1991, the Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts won the Mix magazine's outstanding institutional achievement award for recording schools.[53]

In 2005 Rolling Stone called Full Sail “one of the five best music programs in the country”.[54]

The college was named FAPSC School/College of the Year (an award for which only career colleges in Florida were eligible) by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) in 2008 and 2011,[55] 21st-century best practices in distance learning by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) in 2011,[56] and was the recipient of a 2011 New Media Consortium Center for Excellence award.[57]

Notable people[edit]

Instructors at Full Sail have included Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson, who taught game design,[58] and Stedman Graham.[59][60]

The school created the Full Sail University Hall of Fame to recognize accomplished alumni in 2009.[61]

Notable alumni include:

References[edit]

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