As is documented in the “Overview” page, On October 24, 2008, I was forced out of my position as Consultant SW Test/ DBA within the SW Test Department at BAE Systems, Santa Clara, CA. My contract was cancelled illegally. This was a result of a department takeover by two relatively new employees. I was 76 years of age at the time. My contract was until December 30th of that year. Suddenly I was faced with the prospect of being unable to pay bills that I normally paid during the last two months of the year – the most crucial being taxes. I panicked! How can I get work to pay these bills? I saw an ad from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh-online and called them. I talked with Hank Dowd, telling him about my financial crisis. He spurred me on and enforced my expectations that I would get work so to relieve my wife by gaining a diploma in Web Design. He was completely aware of my financial situation and my reasons for wanting to enroll. In addition to my talks with him, stressing my financial problems, from the first term at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and every term thereafter, we were tasked with writing a bio click to see a typical example. Mine, from the very first class, and every class thereafter, stated that I joined the institute to save my wife from the necessity of overwork which was and is slowly taking a toll on her health.
I was clearly vulnerable and open to being seduced and conned! Still reeling from my false termination at BAE Systems, I was definitely not thinking clearly. The way that I was let go from BAE Systems gave me no chance for re-employment; I could provide no references – all my former fellow employees were told that they could not contact me, nor could they respond to me. It is for this reason that I sought knowledge in web design so that I could freelance.
There was a period during my classes, when The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -online was shuffling clerical personnel every 2-3 weeks. During that time, $1628.00 was charged to me. It absolutely was due to clerical error brought about by the flux of personnel! At my continued insistence this charge was eventually dropped!
At one point, during this period, I was listed as having dropped out of my schooling. After that error was corrected I found that I had been erroneously transferred to a different program. After that was corrected, it seems to me, that I lost some classes and effectively repeated others as a result.
I did not receive my diploma after completing Web Design Diploma course. Upon requesting it, I was told that I would not receive it until my student loan was paid. I would never have enrolled at the Institute knowing this, and they not informing me of such beforehand is absolutely FRAUD! Not having the diploma lost me a position that had the potential to launch future web design work. I had worked a few weeks with a customer - Tom MacFadyen – to develop a website featuring the Steam Tug HERCULES, moored at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. After having worked at the project for several weeks, I was asked to produce my diploma. I could not, and my work was terminated.
During the final class, which was supposed to prepare us to get work, the instructor was absent from week 4 to the end of the course! That final course should have prepared us to know what to charge for a website, how to advertise, and how to write a contract. Not only was none of these things even discussed, but the main thrust of the class - how to create a portfolio - was not achieved either, due to the absence of that instructor.
I stupidly fell for what Hank Dowd alluded to over and over. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -online absolutely did not prepare me to achieve my goal to get work in Web Design as promised from the beginning. But just the opposite of my goal has been realized – instead of helping my wife, I have further burdened her with more than an additional $20000.00 in debt, leaving us in a financial situation where it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive! The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -online failed to live up to what I had been promised.
Both FedLoan servicing and IRS treatment of the middle class/poor middle class is grossly unfair!
The algorithms uses by FedLoan servicing to determine the amount one can afford to pay are, at least the last time they were used in my case, would lump my cost of living with rural areas of California. I live in Silicon Valley which has the highest cost of living in the U.S., and it keeps rising at an alarming rate. IRS punishes folks that have been unable to pay their back taxes by making it almost impossible to do so. They have placed liens on me everywhere. This makes it impossible to get short term loans for dental work and eye exams. It makes it impossible to do the same to repair my vehicle or to seek and gain employment. When the credit bureaus are alerted of my missed payments for FedLoan, it has the same effect. There is no way to let the credit bureaus know the extenuating circumstances. It seems that only the rich and those that commit heinous crimes get justice.
Impossible to get work
I just returned from an interview for a job at Farmers Insurance in Newark, CA. I was turned down. What is so for jobs that I can qualify for is that they now conduct a background check. The lien against me for my FedLoan disqualifies me. It is next to if of not impossible for me to find work. Not only did the Art Institute of Pittsburgh online division commit extortion to secure a Student Loan, but adding further add insult to injury, it is impossible for me to get any work! Not only that, but we cannot move out of this area to where there are three-fold cheaper rents due to those liens.
The Art Institute should completely refund my student loans. There is no way that I will ever be able to repay it. They deceived me, as they apparently did many others, but mine was an exceptionally cruel deception, as they were constantly made aware of our financial situation, our health, and our ages. I gained so very little for the amount owed on my student loan. Using just available on-line courses, and/or local community college courses, I could have learned far more and even achieved an Associate Degree at a total coast of less than $2500.00 instead of the $20000.00 I owe on my student loan with next to nothing gained for it! The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -online should be tried for EXTORTION, and ultimately shut down!
(The acgwebs.net site was completely rebuilt as a responsive website, and was completed on 2/10/16.)
The following words refer to the original site which was created in HTML/CSS. (click here to view it) [Do not click the Contact tab]
The acgwebs.net portfolio is basically similar to the one that I submitted as the final assignment of my final class. The main point of interest is that the thumbnail images reveal an actual website when clicked. Many students submitted portfolios with just thumbnails and with no links of any kind to an actual website. Yet, those portfolios were accepted by the instructor as acceptable and with kudos. In my opinion, that is a gross disservice to those students, as it did not prepare them for the real world. Even in a rural area where little or no competition exists, I would be reluctant to hire a web designer based only upon thumbnail images of websites.
(This site was completely rebuilt as a responsive website, and was completed on 2/13/16.)
This site evolved over a long period of time. There is no way that it could exist in its present state using the limited knowledge gained at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh! I used what I learned from other on-line sources, such as Lynda.com as I went along. Very recently, I made some significant improvements using knowledge that I obtained from an on-line course at Udemy. The course was CSS Fundamentals, taught by Geoff Blake, Lead Developer TenTonOnline.com. I learned far, far more from this course than from all of the courses at Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and their course lectures were just a printed document - never high quality video lessons such as Geoff's are! The course promised "Gain Massive CSS Skills & Learn a Ton of Techniques!", and it more than delivered. This course in very lucid detail covered the cascading effect of CSS and CSS shortcuts - The Art Institute of Pittsburgh had extremely limited coverage of these important subjects, if any! In addition, the extremely useful and versatile Firefox plugin "FIREBUG" was covered, as well as Dreamweaver's CSS STYLES panel - "Current" mode - very valuable information and massive timesaving tools! Last but not least, it also more than amply covered table formatting. All for a just $49.00!
I stupidly fell for what Hank Dowd of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh alluded to, and gained so very little for the amount owed on my student loan. Using just available on-line courses, and perhaps some local community college courses, I could have learned far more at a total coast of less than $2000.00 instead of $20000.00 that I now suposedly owe- a monumental difference!
To all those that may read this, beware of on-line for profit colleges; check all other available sources first, as well as BBB and other sites providing reviews and scam information!
Some reports, regarding The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -online, follow: