Already under fire for a slew of Planning Code violations dating back to 2005, hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines, and accusations of engaging in an ongoing “game of obfuscation and delay,” the Academy of Art University is now in the crosshairs for “selling art degrees and false hopes.”
To quote Forbes: “It would be easy to accuse AAU of being a diploma mill, except the school doesn’t manufacture many diplomas. Just 32% of full-time students graduate in six years, versus 59% for colleges nationally, and that rate drops to 6% for online-only students and 3% for part-time students.”
The school’s annual tuition is $22,000, which doesn’t include room and board in any of the 40-odd school buildings across San Francisco, buildings which are owned by the Stephens family and leased to the for-profit University, which the family owns and operates as well.
The Stephens family real estate holdings are worth “an estimated $420 million, net of debt,” with the Concordia-Argonaut Club building on Van Ness Avenue recently added to their portfolio.