The Scandal of For-Profit Colleges And Film Schools

Film School no different than Cooking School

Film School no different than Cooking School

Last week a cooking school in San Francisco agreed to refund up to $20,000 in tuition to each of more than 8,000 students who were led to believe they would get high-paying jobs as chefs after they graduated. You’re wondering why I’m writing about a cooking school on a blog about filmmaking.

You came here wanting to learn more about filmmaking but you need to understand that you are at much at risk of be ripped off as those kids at “culinary arts” school.

In recent years there has been an explosion of “for-profit colleges” in the United States. These are schools that offer courses in mostly very glamorous sounding occupations where the basic skills are easy to teach but the odds of actually getting a highly paid job are slim at best.

In addition most of these colleges are not accredited but they charge tuition as high or higher than the most renowned universities would charge for a legitimate degree. They will take any student that has the money or can qualify for a student loan. Instead of a well rounded education you get a highly accelerated set of classes only covering the basics of the particular profession and few employers will be fooled.

The classes are in such exciting sounding things as fashion design, game design and programming, interactive media, and film production. These are not little local fly-by-night operations either. They are operated by huge corporations such as The Art Institutes and Career Education Corp. which operated the cooking school in San Francisco. They spend tens of millions on slick advertising and their websites are very convincing.

These kinds of for-profit college corporations are now involved in many lawsuits and government investigations for fraudulent practices. Don’t be the next victim.

Filmmaking is not hard to learn any more than cooking. There are many places to find legitimate courses in film making that won’t cost you a fortune. The basic techniques are only the beginning. To succeed you also need drive, talent, connections and luck.


  1. says

    This is a problem across all industries and I understand why you have felt the need to write about it on your blog. The truth is that in my industry (the music industry) these types of course are everywhere! It’s very difficult to tell the good from the bad or those which will indeed lead to something at the end.

    The best way to reference a “for-profit colleges” is from referrals from previous students or ask people where they have studied who are already in the industry!

  2. says

    Everything seems to be hassle these days , it’s upsetting that students with real passion of an idealic future can waste years with these ‘Faceless Corps’ to come out with what I can only describe as a ‘Micky Mouse’ Qualification’. Disgusts me really.