SAE Expression College

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Coordinates: 37°50′50.83″N 122°17′42.17″W / 37.8474528°N 122.2950472°W / 37.8474528; -122.2950472

SAE Expression College
Former names
  • Ex'pression Center for New Media (1998–2004)
  • Ex'pression College for Digital Arts (2004–2012)
  • Ex'pression College (2012–2016)
MottoMake Your Passion Your Profession
Typefor-profit college
Location, ,
United States

SAE Expression College is a private for-profit college specializing in programs in the entertainment industry and located in Emeryville, California. It offers an around-the-clock schedule and eight week terms. It awards Bachelor's degrees after 36 months (two and a half years) of accelerated education.


SAE Expression College, originally known as Ex'pression College, was founded by Gary Platt, a sound recording engineer and educator, and Eckart Wintzen, a Dutch venture capitalist and media arts enthusiast. A 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) building was acquired in Emeryville, California to house a new school to be called Ex’pression Center for New Media. SAE Expression hired architect John Storyk, to help design the facility which houses the school. Building began in November 1998.

On September 9, 1998, SAE Expression College received temporary approval from the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) to operate, and to offer course instruction in digital visual media and sound comprehensive programs. The BPPVE granted SAE Expression College temporary approvals to operate and offer diploma, associates and bachelor's degree programs in September 1998. In January 2001, SAE Expression College was granted approval to operate, and renewed the approval to operate in October 2005.

On January 11, 1999, 48 students began classes in Sound Arts and Digital Visual Media, the first two programs offered by the school.

In 2004, the school had more than 500 students enrolled. The same year, its name was changed from Ex’pression Center for New Media to Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. The change reflects a stronger emphasis on bachelor's degree level learning and more accurately describes the core focus of the college's curriculum in digital arts.

In April 2005, the school became an accredited college with the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In August that same year, Ex'pression College was formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and approved to participate in the Title IV Federal Student Aid programs such as Stafford Loan, Pell Grant, and PLUS Loan.

In November 2006, Ex'pression College was approved by the State of California's Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education to offer its fourth BAS degree in Game Art & Design and received approval to offer the Game Art & Design BAS program from the ACCSCT In December of that year.

In early 2007, Ex'pression College expanded its facilities adding 13,000 square feet (1,200 m2), creating several new classrooms.

In 2012, Ex'pression College opened a branch campus in San Jose, California. The San Jose campus could accommodate 550 students and have a staff of 120 employees.[1]

In 2012, Ex'pression College was deemed ineligible as a participating Cal Grant school due to the college's high student loan default rate.[2]

In 2014, Ex'pression College was deemed re-eligible for Cal Grant.[3] and announced its San Jose campus to be approved to participate in Cal Grant 2014-2015 as well.

On July 1, 2016, Ex'pression College in Emeryville became recognized as SAE Expression College, while Ex'pression College in San Jose became SAE Institute San Jose.

In 2017, the SAE Institute campus in San Jose was permanently closed due to lack of enrollment and financial issues.

In 2021, SAE Expression College is no longer accepting new enrollments. Their website is telling users to explore creative media programs at one of the other SAE Institute locations; Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Nashville, or New York.


The college offers the Bachelor of Applied Science degree. It also operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with students in class or lab for 4 hours at a time; lectures generally take place between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm, while labs run throughout the day. Many classes will have a three-hour lecture, a one-hour break, and then a four-hour lab.

SAE Expression College's degree programs start bi-monthly. Throughout the course of a program, the average SAE Expression College student will have two courses at one time, with one course occurring on three days a week and the other course occurring on two or three depending on the class. This course load can fluctuate, however, according to the student's program and month.

Courses were eight weeks long up until 2017, and new courses used to start every eight weeks. This schedule allowed SAE Expression College a fluid, if intense, operating method. If a student fails a class, they will be allowed to take it again with no charge, one time. Further class retakes are not covered, and must be paid for by the students.

As of May 2017, the terms are now 15 weeks long and students must take 4-5 classes for each term.

Student life[edit]

Student life, like the school itself, is different from a typical college. Since a new class starts every eight weeks, classmates who start at the same time frequently stay together throughout the program (and sometimes assign a name to their group). This is desired, as one of the school's focuses is putting out small teams of graduates who know each other and have worked together, so that they can get group internships. Class sizes vary from 10 to 35 students, with a maximum number of 50 students in classes where students from different degree programs are combined, mostly the core curriculum subjects.

There are several groups and clubs within the different degree programs of the school, each oriented toward student interests. Students in the relevant degree program generally manage the groups, with an instructor providing support.

SAE Expression College does not have on-campus student housing but works with Collegiate Housing Services to offer housing for students. CHS offers a shared housing program for new and current students. CHS will also help students find alternative housing through their referral program. Most students live within 5 miles (8.0 km) of the school in apartment complexes in the immediate area, often with roommates.

Student earnings statistics[edit]

Students who graduate from the sound arts program at SAE Expression College on average make $24,000 before taxes and owe $5,500 a year in loan payments.[4]


SAE Expression College's tuition is currently set at $94,400 for a full four academic year Bachelor of Applied Science degree. According to their own net price calculator the full price of tuition can vary from $96,096 to more than $130,000 depending on factors such as living situation and yearly household income.[5] SAE Expression College's tuition is all-inclusive, including all books, whether they are real or electronic, and course materials. If the tuition is not paid in full at the time of enrollment, then the student is subject to a periodic tuition increase.

Graduation rate[edit]

Less than half of all students who enroll at SAE Expression College graduate. The official number given by the California Student Aid Commission is 49.5 percent.[3]


SAE Expression College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSC), which is a national accreditor of primarily vocational schools and career schools within the United States.

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Ex'pression College will open a branch in San Jose for digital arts studies". 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-11-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-02-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "For-profit colleges soaking up tax dollars despite student loan defaults, low graduation rates — and could be in trouble". 7 September 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Net Price Calculator for Ex'pression College". Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-02-27.

External links[edit]