Fullsail Real World Education of Winter Park, Florida has announced that three of its Associates of Science degree programs (Film and Video, Digital Media and Computer Animation (CA) will now be offered as Bachelor of Science (BS) degree programs. This supplemental article to “The Fullsail Scam: Exposed,” is meant to expose the truth behind this new deal, by closely examining the changes made to the CA program.
Fullsail’s Computer Animation Bachelor’s of Science degree program contains added “fluff” (general education courses) to satisfy regulatory mandates for BS degrees, but sacrifices courses that were actually beneficial to teaching students “Real World” skills.
It is safe to assume that the Digital Media and Film programs have been similarly affected.
First, Fullsail faces increased competition from industry trade schools across the United States; many of which already offer Bachelors degrees. Some of these competitors include Westwood College, Devry, Collins College and Brown College. Each has launched a nationwide advertising campaign designed to recruit students interested in the gaming field (a popular target of Fullsail Digital Media, Game Design and Computer Animation graduates). Many of their commercials can be seen on G4TV .
“Do you believe we get paid to play video games?” a girl says in one such commercial. “Video games are a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry!” “Gaming is growing rapidly and they need people!” Sadly, these institutions are resorting to the same kind of underhanded “glitz and glam” marketing strategies that Fullsail is so heavily criticized for.
The second reason Fullsail may have moved to Bachelors degree programs is that their unjustifiably high tuition for mere Associates degree programs may have finally started to lose them business. As tuitions for Fullsail Associates degree programs surpassed the $40,000 mark, more and more prospective students (and their parents) were likely unable to justify paying Fullsail's overinflated tuition, despite the litany of career promises put forth by Fullsail shills Gary Jones, Tammy Gilbert and others.
The tuition for Associates degree programs at Fullsail have steadily increased at a rate of approximately 6% per year (for the years 2001-2005), well in excess of inflation rates spanning the same time frame. This transition to Bachelors degree programs, which at Fullsail will be compressed to less than 2 years, is accompanied by a colossal tuition hike (see tables below).
Tuition Increases: Exposed
The tables below list the tuitions of the affected programs before and after the switch to Bachelors.
As the tables show, the average price per month and per class drops for the Bachelors degree programs. Digital Arts & Design seems to benefit the most; garnering a lower tuition increase and a substantial decrease in average course tuition. Computer Animation, on the other hand, gets little benefit. Average monthly tuition is only reduced 6%, and average course tuition is reduced by 0.07%. Unlike the Digital Arts and Film degree programs, CA Bachelors degree students are not getting a price break on courses compared to the Associates program.
Curriculum Changes: Exposed
What courses have been added to the CA program, and which have been taken away? Equivalent courses are placed across from each other based on similarities between course descriptions in Fullsail’s catalogs.*
* Based on Fullsail Catalog volume XVI, edition 3, 12-04, and Catalog Addendum volume XVII, edition 1, 08-05
The following courses were removed from the CA BS program entirely:
These courses taught invaluable “Real World” skills that aided students in understanding and functioning within the entertainment industry. Why Fullsail would remove them without providing a substitute course is a mystery. Six “new” art courses and seven "new" general education courses have been added. Do these classes contribute significantly to the program? Are they worth an average of $1892.26 each?
Although some of the new courses may contribute to the strength of the animation curriculum, those that were eliminated weaken the program in other areas. The new general education courses are nothing but filler; existing only as a requirement of the accrediting body that authorizes Fullsail to award Bachelors degrees. Based on catalog descriptions, many of these courses are repetitive (Communications/English Composition, Psychology of Human Interaction/Acting for Animators, Ethics and Psychology/Media and Society) and do not appear to offer much to distinguish themselves from each other. The benefit to Fullsail is that these courses are easy to administer, and are therefore easy money. If community colleges can offer the same class for 1/6th the tuition, while still turning a profit (and they do), then Fullsail is making a financial killing off of these courses.
In summation: If you want to throw your money away at Fullsail, take these general education courses at another college first (for a fraction of the cost), and transfer your credits or test out of those courses when you come to Fullsail. If you do not have to take the course, you do not have to pay Fullsail’s overinflated tuition for it.