Full Sail University Reviews – Legit or Scam?

Full Sail University
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Full Sail University


Full Sail University is a trade school specializing in higher learning that offers a variety of degrees in audio, film, design, computer animation, and other fields. Full Sail University is located in Winter Park, Florida, and was founded in 1979.

Full Sail University is often called a “scam” by former students for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the largest reason is the high expense of receiving an education there.  Tuition ranges from around $36,000 to around $75,000 for a full degree program. Students frequently complain of having paid such high tuition prices and yet still having extreme difficulty finding a job in their field.

Now, many students of universities all over the nation make this very same complaint every single day, especially with the current state of the economy and job market. What makes Full Sail University different, however, is that they are a for-profit institution.

Controversy Surrounding For-Profit Schools

For-profit schools have a laundry list of complaints and criticisms lodged against them on a regular basis. The biggest problem by far with for-profit schools is their accreditation.

For-profit schools like Full Sail University have federal accreditation through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), which is a third party, independent commission recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools. However, this accreditation is incredibly specific, and unlike regional accreditation given to public universities and colleges, it is not necessarily recognized or accepted by other schools or employers.

This means that whatever credits you accumulate at Full Sail University will not transfer to or be accepted by other universities if you need to transfer. In addition, if you receive a bachelor’s degree at Full Sail and are looking to another institution to receive a Master’s degree, they are not guaranteed to recognize your bachelor’s degree.

In addition, former students have complained their employers have not recognized Full Sail degrees, meaning they were not promoted or given salary compensation for having received a higher degree.

This problem has become so prevalent in the United States, that the Federal Government is planning on passing a ban saying that student loans funded by the Federal Government cannot be placed toward for-profit schools.

Is Full Sail University a Scam?

Well, despite the complaints both from former students and employees, what Full Sail University is doing is completely legal. Other for-profit institutions with potential accreditation problems include Phoenix University and DeVry University, as well as most culinary and art institutions.

However, it is up to every student who is entering college to think long and hard about the money it will cost to attain a degree, as well as whether or not that institution or degree will work for them. Researching that school’s rankings and reputation for the degree you wish to receive, as well as their graduation and job placement rate is absolutely necessary before you take on the financial commitment.

Note: If you’re in the process of researching online schools check out our helpful guide, “How to Choose the Right Online College.”

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Customer Responses, Reviews, or Complaints

Average Rating for " Full Sail University " is 2.59 out of 5 based on 117 reviews.
  • No, I have not attended full sail university. I have, however, been working in the software development field for years. The reviewer earlier who said that employers dont care whether or not you attended a regionally accredited university is completely ignorant of how these things work. Full Sail is not regionally accredited for good reasons. Their programs do not meet the necessary academic requirements. Do you think employers are too stupid to know this? Trust me, we know this all too well. In this economy employers can be very selective. FS grads will be competing for jobs with grads from top universities, respected universities. A UCLA grad will beat a grad from a school that is advertised on 3:00 AM infomercials every time.

    Im writing this because ive had several people ask me about full sail because I work in technology. Every time i've told them that my company would never hire someone from a school like FS and I cant imagine other employers hiring them either. Each time they chose to ignore me because FS advisers, who get commission for enrollment, told them a sweet story about how awesome things would be after graduation. Every time the person ended up with mountains of debt and no job prospects. They learned the hard way that what I said was true. For one young man the financial and emotional cost toll was so great I wonder if he can ever recover.
    • I Call BS Ive had one admit it not at Full sail counselor but at another similar institution. I wont say where or who because I don't throw people under the bus organizations on the other hand are whole other beast.I might call them if I cant find information online and ill see if the counselor slips out info. Of Course i wont let anyone else know these guys are just doing there job illegal or not. They get paid for getting you to pay the admission or application fee in my case 150 dollars which is excessive since most schools run you between 10 to 30 dollars to apply. And who might you be to judge someone else, Im still researching full sail and a few other for profit schools and universities. But them not getting paid commission for enrolling students is a lie. I just didnt know it was illegal until you mentioned it. So far most of these schools counselors at for profit schools ive looked at get paid on commission so what makes Full Sail different. But Ill be finding out soon and anyone reading this believe me or not i dont care I just know the truth. As for the school itself I cant judge it i never attended I thought about it which is why im researching it at this moment.
    • Let's start with glaring error number 1, no member of Full Sail's staff, nor member of any other institution for that matter receive commission for enrollment. Government regulations makes sure that doesn't happen, and that there's no way around it.

      Two, where do you work? Are you the hiring manager? Do you sit in on all of the interviews? For you to say you "work in the software development field," and therefore have all encompassing knowledge on matters pertaining to technology based companies and their hiring practices; is like me saying that I've been drinking red wine for years, which must automatically makes me a sommelier, and someone whose opinion should be respected when it comes to which wine you should serve with your roasted duck at dinner tonight.
  • Here is what you need to know about Full Sail University - READ THIS!

    1. The school is designed to make as much money as humanly possible. With this in mind you have to think about their motivations and their tactics regarding selling the school to prospective students.

    2. Think about the most popular degrees here - Mainly Music Business and Entertainment Business. Now think about what excites young students such as being a record producer, working in the music industry, or mixing dope beats - and I LOVE dope beats ;).

    Now when a college comes along and says, "HEY! We got all that for you! We know you are from a low income family, we know you want to be the next big deal in the industry, and we know you have the government backing your student loans up to nearly $100,000! All you have to do is sign this here and fill out a student loan application and YOU'RE IN!" - In other words they prey on you and your dreams and goals. And if you take out private loans you're interest rates are going to be EVEN HIGHER!

    3. Now think about the instructors (not teachers because very few of them have teaching certificates nor are they experienced at teaching anything). Think about who you look up to and would want to learn from in your industry. They're successful and active in the industry and their profession. Now think about who is going to take a teacher's salary at some technical college? You really think the best of the best are going to be teaching you? PLEASE!

    The truth is that those that have failed to find steady work and those that never made it to true success are the ones teaching you. This is not what you should be paying $70,000 plus for! Look at their cars, look at their houses, and listen to them on a personal level to understand their situation. If you listen closely enough, as I have to many teachers I had befriended, you will hear them mention they are broke, not getting paid enough, over worked, and under stupid guidelines of what they have to teach you.

    What does this mean? Get out there and get a real education at a real university and VOLUNTEER at places you want to work. Get in on the ground floor and ask to hang out during the hours that you're not working to learn what it is that they do and how they do it. Honestly they'll probably love someone more committed like that rather than some kid just graduating Full Sail thinking they know a thing or two about the industry.

    4. Think about Full Sail University's accreditation. They are NOT regionally accredited like many community colleges and 4 year universities. This means that NONE of your credits are going to transfer to another school should you choose to quit or drop out. You'll have to completely start over! And if you graduate, no school will recognize your Associates or Bachelors degree and let you continue your education with them.

    Also note that if you're accredited at any level you have requirements regarding graduation rates and placement rates. Which brings me to my next point.

    5. If they have to have a certain percentage of students graduate to maintain university status... And also keeping in mind that they are letting anyone with any educational background into the school... Don't you then think that they would make the requirements to pass pretty easy? There is a common thread you'll read about Full Sail and that is that students that put in a TON of work on an assignment tend to get very similar if not the same grade as a student that did little to no work.

    So you end up getting a crappy education designed to let everyone pass and your work is not going to be recognized as a standout project because others are getting the same grade for less than half the work. Does this sound like the kind of school you want to commit thousands of dollars to equating to anywhere from $600-1,000+ a month in student loan payments?

    6. To top things off, there are so many under privileged and under educated students out there that are graduating from this school. They have no serious skills, they don't know the difference between there and their or even they're, and they end up not able to get a job out of college that pays enough to cover life's expenses and their loan payments. Sure there are a few that go on to succeed like one student that sent me a review recently (and will soon go up on the site), but most do NOT succeed.

    Then what happens? Those students default on their loans and tax payers have to pay the bill! Full Sail is taking your tax dollars and screwing over those students that don't know any better.

    It is time to stop this BS they try to pull. They are like any big corporation that takes advantage of people.
    • Many of the positive reviews sound eerily similar.
    • "Web Instructor" if someone graduates from the University of Miami, they will have a degree valid anywhere. That alone is worth vastly more than a degree of dubious value. Full Sail is a trade school. The "Degree" programs of bachelor and masters are meaningless outside the school grounds. An out of work web designer would likely find comfort there.
    • For those of you who say Full Sail is a waste of $, time, etc. we had over 70 graduates with credits on Grammy nominated/winning albums/songs this evening. As you were... Haters. argue that!!

      PS: The guy who runs Fullsailreview.. was in the ONLINE DEGREE FOR 3 MONTHS, then dropped out. He doesn't know jack about full Sail cause he couldn't handle it! i have 2 months out of my 21 months left. i have been on campus the whole time. don't listen to that loser. He LOVES to make stuff up.
    • "Professors in a community college’s AA or AS program need only have a bachelors degree"

      Last time I checked. One needs a Masters to teach an A.A. or A.S. degree. You can not compare the University to Miami to a joke of a school like Full sail. Not only that, you are talking about a A.A. degree that amount of money which one can go to Miami Dade College and earn that same degree for $200 per class. All these people are retarded.
    • I have been reading these comments for Full Sail University, both negative and positive. My husband is currently attending this school and he LOVES it. I am thinking about attending, but haven't decided yet. I do know this - there is not a college in this world that Guarantees employment after graduation. I have a co-worker who obtained her Ph.D. from Columbia University in economics and is working as an analyst at this bank, because she cannot find a job in her field. Now Columbia University is a full accredited, prestigious, ivy league school and she obtained an A average, and still nobody is impressed. Oh, and by the way - VERY EXPENSIVE!!

      As the old saying goes - do not believe ANYTHING you hear and only half of what you see. People have different experiences from different places. You only get out what you put in. I have three degrees (Associates, Bachelor's and a Masters) and still cannot get a job in my field (legal/criminal justice) since 2009 and if I do get offered a job in my field, it is at a $20,000 pay cut. I am not going to blame the schools I chose, because the schools did their jobs and when you get student loans, if you read, you will find out that you are responsible for the full amount of the loans whether you graduate or not and whether you can find a job or not, so this school is not a scam and is not doing anything different than any other school out there. Life is what you make it and nobody is going to hand you anything, you have to go and get it. A piece of paper is not going to get it - YOU have to get it!
    • In reply to FullSailReview's comments on the instructors/teachers: Teacher "certifications" are only for K-12 teachers. Teacher certifications for post secondary instructors/professors do not exist for ANY university. The qualification for professors at accredited universities and colleges is having the appropriate advanced degree, PhD or Masters.

      Professors in a community college's AA or AS program need only have a bachelors degree - no teacher certification. Why would a successful entertainment or design professional take a pay cut to teach? Well for one thing, its not always about the money. Yes I made WAY more as a Web developer than teaching Web, but double $$ doesn't mean double happiness.

      Then there's the hours a job requires - I don't have the crazy overtime requirements as a teacher that I did with all the crazy deadlines working at the way-cool-design firm. I get to spend time with my family now instead of all-nighters with co-workers. PLUS, I really love teaching and care deeply about my students. I want then to learn all the right stuff that will truly help then get and stay employed, all the experiential stuff that no Quick Start Teach Yourself book can impart. Now, shall I write a review about the students who don't want to work for their degree? Sorry, I'm not going to go there.

      Oh and by the way, have y'all checked out the cost of other private colleges lately, like say for instance the fully accredited University of Miami - tuition alone is $19,000 per semester ($38,000/yr).
  • I'm just letting everybody know, its not the school's responsibility to find you a job after you graduate. its your own.
    • You are absolutely right Kayluh! Except now you have maybe $80,000 to pay back. By attending Community Colleges (getting a real degree)and working through internships, with little or no pay; you can learn real world skills, meet industry people, have actual job experience and a degree. You will also be if not debt free, much better off. Chances you will have already found you job! Hard work, not a profit motivated, shinny and glitzy organization, is your key to success.
  • Full Sail is beyond a waste of money. I'll admit some programs may not be half bad but not a single one of them is worth the debt you jump into. Nor are you going to find a job to justify the cost, meaning you won't be able to afford to pay back the $700-1,000 a month in loans. And if you defer those loans till you make it on your feet you will end up accumulating interest at anywhere from $150-250 a month. How's that for ethical? Learn the truth and pull back the curtain over your eyes set there by Full Sail's multimillion dollar marketing campaigns:
    • 555 a month is actually fairly accurate but that would be if you had 0 percent interest on the loans. 5 percent interest would be more like 582 for a government loan. But most of these loans would be between 18 percent(if your lucky) 654.9 and 22 percent 677.7 depending on your credit history. This only includes tuition and yes ive taken out loans before. Housing is an additional 50,000 in loans besides the 100,000 which you hope will be government loans but in reality are more 10-20,000 government and 80-90,000 private loans with similar or worse interest than what ive mentioned. 50,000 housing loans are private so even if they are 0 percent interest its 277.77 a month lets say lowish interest for a private loan 10 percent 305 higher interest 20 percent 333.25 a month.

      This does not include living expense which range from 200 a month if your smart and cheap to 500 if your an idiot gas is another beast all together lets say 50 a week to fill the tank is 200 a month. so best case scenario everything is covered by the government(which it wont) and you have a side job youll be paying the US government 859.77 a month for 15 years. The worst case you have no job and the government cant pay your loans so you go private all the way 1010.95 a month to private companies who can change your interest however they choose so it could go higher than 1010.95 for 15 years this does not include living expenses like food 200-500 a month, fuel 200 a month(in a good scenario mines under 100 a month with my V8 camaro).

      My pay last year was a low 22,000 dollars for the year making 670 a pay check or 1340 (thats what taxes do to you i know you calculated it 1833 it doesn't add up well its just how it is you pay for med and dental and some other bullshit you have no choice in paying)a month after taxes. most of these jobs range in pay between 30000 and 45000 if your lucky enough to get a job. In other words worst case scenario 30000 a year 2500 a year subtract taxes 200-300 gone if your married with kids 500-600 if your single with no kids then subtract 500-600 on fees an medical next social security. Lets say your single and just finished school youve got 1500-1800 left over worst case 1300 now add student loans best case 859.77 now your left with between 643 to 940 a month to live on.1010 your left with between 490 to 790 a month.

      Now if you were making 45,000 that's simpler its how much my dad used to make a year 2200 a month after taxes 859 loan 1341 a month 1010 loan is 1109 a month live off of. If these number dont look bad divide the 1109 in half 554.5 a pay check 230 and 395 a pay check just to be in debt for 15 years. is this worth it ive taken loans up before student loans are the same thing they are loans So Greg I had to laugh at the 700-1000 a month my self its close but not quite accurate. The 859-1010 a month is more accurate. Dont believe me then go fuck yourself over then I enjoy watching stupid people ruin there lives. Go to a community college then a reputable school for what you whant. As far as I know Eastern New Mexico Community College has a great Audio Production Program, Rhode Island institute of Design is another great school for those interested in fine art program as well as UCLA and more or less every major university. Just do your research and you save 10s and thousands of dollars in debt.
    • I just had to laugh at the $150-250 a month interest accumulation and $700-$1000 a month repayment.

      Get a student loan or do some research before you start spouting erroneous numbers.
  • I heard about this school from a former colleague who had to go back for a second bachelor's after applying to numerous master's programs and being told that his degree wasn't real. I think anyone dumb enough to go here deserves what they get. Some people are easy to scam.
    • Full Sail isn't a scam, you heard wrong. Any school that makes you spend a few years there isn't a scam. There are websites that report legitimate scams, Full Sail is clean. Is it good? I hear mixed reactions, but I know it's not a scam.
  • I work there. It is a diploma mill, nothing more. It is all about money. They are stealing money from us. Most of the students getting degrees there are funded by VA loans, pell grants, student loans, et al. The students fail, never pay backthe loans, and on and on it goes.

    Most students are sub par. They couldn't get into a real college, so Full Sail will gladly take the money. It is deplorable.

    The faculty are payed okay, but treated like crap. The management could care less about them. They just want numbers. It is the most blatant case of fraud in the ethical sense that one could ever imagine. I am resigning because I cannot stand the corruption anymore.
    • You work there? Moron. "They are stealing money from us." You are/were a student and, clearly, not an ethical one.

      A diploma mill would never fail a student so there you go, who's lying? You are.

      These reviews are supposed to help people and people like you mess that up. It's one thing to have a bad experience, but be honest. If this was your attitude there, no wonder your experience wasn't stellar.

      I'm looking for smart people's reviews. My sister is actually going to put in effort and be honest.
    • Sounds like you must have been a sub-par student. Ok, first of all, I think you mean "the management COULDN'T care less" and secondly, I don't think it matters where the funding comes from. What's wrong with grants and loans? Not all of us have Mommy and Daddy to pay for school for us. What all of you crybabies have to realize is that the most you can hope for from a degree in any field having to do with entertainment is the knowledge, not the diploma. Nobody cares what school you went to, they only care about your capabilities. A degree is just icing on the cake and might mean, to some employers that you have the ability to finish something.
  • I was considering going to Full Sail University as well. I'm one those people that will do everything short of an FBI background investigation before I part with my money. I looked at the school objectively and read all the comments both positive and negative. Drawing conclusions on what I saw and read, most of the positive comments seem to be propagated by people who have some interest in the school such as (receiving money) aka "employed by" the school. For example the first person was strongly defending the school, and referred to it as OUR school not MY school. Hmmmm.. The second person defending the school commented that the stressed parents student was "scraping by". How does that person even know the student? Does she make reference to his name?? No she doesn't. Again, Hmmmm. I was taken advantage of by ORU Oral Roberts University some years ago under the same pretenses. Best advice I can give is, DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE!! Remember the saying BUYER BEWARE? It was made for a reason.
  • Fool Sale is what it should be named. Online students get the worst of it and pay the same price. Overly priced courses with hardly any instruction. No WIMBA sessions (a live platform to participate with students/instructors) as promised.

    And guess what? If you decide to drop out, they charge you for classes you've never taken. That's right! Each "semester" is divided into 4 months. Each class is one month. When you begin your first class at the beginning of the semester, you have 3 days to decide if you want to continue in order to get 100% money back. Three days is not enough to decide if you want to remain in a class when you haven't learned anything yet! If you stay in past the 3rd week, you get NO money back and then Full Sail sends you a bill for the remaining classes that you never took (because they have to send federal loan money back to the lender if you haven't used it). Those bills are thousands of $$$ that typical students could never pay. It's a win-win situation for Full Sail each and every time!

    Even if the student defaults on loans, Full Sail always gets paid, no matter what, and reaps the benefits of federal government student loans. A federal SCAM that needs to be investigated!!
    • It's a real school. There are plenty of scams out there if you want to see a real one. All schools work the same way Full Sail does. You shouldn't be paying for classes that you haven't taken though. I would definitely dispute that.
    • Objective Observer is LYING!!! you have 5 days if rejected by the school, 3 days if you are not rejected by the school. I have an enrollment agreement that can back up what I am saying. Full Sail is NOT a scam, just a trade school pretending to be a university. national accreditation degrees are not recognized by many, same as ITT, or trade schools that have lost fed funding. they don't just lose funding that easy, they go on probation first, schools CAN scam and have a lot of time before they lose funding. Check out the Dept of Ed website.
    • 1. You have 7 days to decide, not 3. Most traditional universities have the same criteria for their "drop/add" period.

      2. If a school's default rate exceeds a certain percentage, which is designated by the government, not the school; they lose all of their Title IV funding. So while they may receive the money from the student who defaulted (as would any institution), they lose their ability to bring in any future financial aid, which means they can only accept students who can pay all cash for their degree, or have the credit to take out a private loan. Seeing as many people in today's economy can't afford to fill up their gas tank, it would seem that Full Sail purposefully trying to scam people would be counter productive to both their educational and business model.

      In the future, you should consider doing your own due diligence, before making accusations against something. Just a thought.
  • I graduated on February 4, 2011, from Full Sail University with my Master's degree in Entertainment Business. I did the online course due in part that I reside in Cleveland, Ohio and it was phenomenal! Excellent course material, excellent course instructors and assistant course instructors, and I left with a wealth of knowledge.

    The coursework is very strenuous due to it being an accelerated program. There is absolutely no room for procrastination. If you procrastinate just a tad, you will fall behind, and your grades will reflect this. From the get-go when the first course commences, it is non-stop learning at a fast pace and YOU MUST have self-discipline!

    My only negative comment would be that I wish there was the option to engage in this Master's degree program on a non-accelerated rate, a normal program duration. I wish that the program was more than (12) months. There is such a wealth of information, and for a new course starting each month, it is difficult to retain all of the information thrown at you. Also, the information learned was so valuable and interesting I wish that each course was longer to dive into it more and to digest it all.

    Hope this helps!

    Robert M. Blatnick, Manager MyTh and Company Cleveland, OH
    • Yay Sally
    • "Doesn't Matter",

      You're a self serving, flunky drop out who probably couldn't cut his way through detention, much less a real class. How's it feel to be called names? Not very nice, huh? I attend this school right now. My name is Sally...Look me up. I'm sure out of 12,000 students, there aren't many Sallys. I'm not paid by the school. I just happened across this. So, instead of getting wasted everynight and trying to fill your boredom at 4am, why don't you get into class and actually graduate and get a real job?
    • If you want to do something great in life people will always want to bring you down (doesn't matter) what it is
    • to the person that commented above me, you dont know this person from a hole in the wall and are obviously too stupid to think that maybe people have succeeded from this program. Get a life loser.
    • you obviously have been PAID by full sail university to say good things about it. Get lost. You are a sell out who is clueless
  • ITT of the media degree enough said. I have a cousin who went and got his "Bachelors" from Full Sail ... he got an internship fresh out of school. Internship up and nobody will hire him because its not a real degree. That is not speculation I am a Degree'd'ed and Certified Blackboard administrator at a Private non-profit University. I helped him get an interview in out Media Services Dept. The director told me that he could not see hiring someone for a position that required atleast an associates without a real degree. Now my cousin is attending UH because he has to finish his original degree. My son wants to go to full sail now and I am the devil because I refuse to do the parent cosigned loan for it.

    Full sail is a business not an educational institution. Their marketing team is world class their faculty support is terrible. That should be all you need to know.
    • @Greg, I want to know how you "vetted" Full Sail.
    • As a disabled vet, I had to get Full Sail vetted (no pun intended) by industry professionals before my VA rep would sign off on sending me there. Guess what? EVERY SINGLE ONE I talked to endorsed Full Sail.

      With a 1400 SAT, 97 ASVAB, 86 AFQT, and 3.7 AA GPA scores, when I separated the military, being a MGIB/Voc Rehab student, I got offers like crazy from traditional schools, NONE of which offered a degree in Game Design (which is my passion), so I tried to do my second love of engineering.

      I've been to traditional brick and mortar schools for years, but my physical injuries from the military make it difficult to get to class and being bi-polar makes 3 month classes EXCEPTIONALLY difficult, near on impossible.

      Epic failure. 0.94 GPA at traditional brick and mortar facilities. Thank God there is an industry endorsed online degree program available for people like me who can't attend "traditional" school. For those that failed at Full Sail or failed in the job market afterwards, my condolences, but you have to look in the mirror and make a change there. I did.

      Find what works for you and go crazy on it. Since I have done my research, I've learned, in my field, the degree is secondary to what I personally can do, so the minute I start my program, I will be building that portfolio and am very confident that I will step out of the Full Sail program and into a career, because I have a plan and drive to be successful. I don't expect a college to find me a job, I just expect them to give me the tools to do the job I find for myself, and from talking to industry professionals, Full Sail will do just that.

      By the way, for anyone looking at the Game Design degree program, one of the lead designers for Riot Games graduated from Full Sail. Not a real degree my ass.

      Do your research, have a plan, and stop blaming the school for your failure. I don't blame the brick and mortar schools I've gone to for my failures. You shouldn't either.
    • For someone as "Degree'd'ed" as yourself, you would think you would have better writing and communication skills. That should be all anyone needs to know when reading your post.
    • You are wrong on everything that you said because Full Sail University is a great school and their faculty support is great.
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