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Kansas City Art Institute

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Don't listen to teachers and students who treatNot so brightArt & Design Department
Don't listen to teachers and students who treat your studio work more important than your livelihood. Working until 3am every night will make you burn out and be less effective in school. Also leave critique at school, it's a big part of the school's culture and can bleed into your daily life making you a cynical person. You don't have to criticize the coffee you get after work or the clothes a stranger is wearing just because you critiqued your classmates for a grade.
4th Year Female -- Class 2019
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Extracurricular Activities: D
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I honestly don't know where all the moneyBrightArt & Design Department
I honestly don't know where all the money students pay toward this school goes. Must be the painting and sculpture departments because the digital art, animation, and illustration departments sure saw none of it. The animation building, which has expensive electronics, leaks from the roof when it rains, and students don't have nearly enough space to work. It's just atrocious. But I guess our sucky working conditions bring us together as a department haha. While I've heard horror stories of other students destroying each others' work in other departments, I can say that you'll find a community of your peers in illustration and animation. We sort of suffer together through the incredible work loads, and seniors and juniors are more than happy to reach out to sophomores because they know what it's like.

If you're not in painting, sculpture, or ceramics, you're going to have a rough time your Freshman year. Foundations is essentially boot camp year to see if you can survive the toils of their work load. You won't learn much of value unless you're an abstract artist. But you'll either scrape by or drop out, it happens a lot. Once you're in your actual major I think the school becomes much more enjoyable.

At least in your major classes. The liberal arts classes that were taught by crusty, close-minded old men were atrocious. I would suggest taking some lib. arts classes during summer at your local community college because you won't want to have an 18 hour semester anyway, and that's what they like to tell you to do to graduate on time. Don't. It's awful. You'll spend 12 hours a day at school and hate it. Stick with 15 a semester and it will be manageable.Unlike the administration, which is garbage. If you want any information about enrollment or fees you owe or scholarships or ANYTHING, you need to take the initiative to contact them first because they will not. A lot of stuff is just plain on you.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2016
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Perceived Campus Safety: F
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I began as a Freshman at KCAI in 2008.Quite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
I began as a Freshman at KCAI in 2008. I am currently a Digital Film senior in her last semester, and it is 2014. Obviously there have been some bumps in the road, seeing as here I am 6 years later and still degree-less, and will possibly remain that way since KCAI's financial aid and business department are atrociously bad at communicating with their students, and providing resources for help.

Quite frankly, this college is a scam.
Don't get me wrong. The professors in my particular department are quality educators. I've never had a lack of intellectual stimulation in my major coursework, and they provide plenty of material that can be inspiring and helpful for referencing personal work. There is also a good community for artists to tap into outlets for showcasing work such as resources for film festivals, exhibitions, etc? But the organization at this school is a joke, overall.

To begin, if you are to attend school here, expect to be highly self driven to find out if you are taking the right courses, are caught up on all tuition expenses within a certain timeframe, because they WILL NOT NOTIFY YOU OF THESE THINGS AND YOU WILL FIND OUT THE HARD WAY.

The business department likes to implement new policies without notifying students. I found out 3 weeks prior to beginning a semester that I owed x amount of dollars before I could be registered for courses. Fine. Okay. I'll be broke and probably have to give up eating for a few days, but I saved for the remaining amount that they required from me. Came to school the first week, went to pay only to find out that apparently theres this new thing where if you don't pay a week before school starts that they will charge you $200 more in late fees because you did not meet a new deadline for this new policy that they did not notify me about.

This is not the first time I've had to make last minute payments because the business department failed to communicate any outstanding debts. I had come to expect this out of them, so I do the research myself. But this IS the first time that I was confronted with this new highway robbery like policy, effectively preventing me from completing MY LAST SEMESTER AS A SENIOR BEFORE I GRADUATE. Side note: the business office is rude and condescending.

This is only the most recent issue.
In a previous year I found out that I had a balance due, paid it, only to find out two weeks later that they screwed up and overcharged me since my student loans and grants came in. They gave me a refund check for the amount I paid, but thats kind of like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound considering I had to sacrifice paying my utility bills on time that month, and accrued more late fees due to not being able to afford my real life. So really, I only got part of my refund back. Thanks KCAI.

Also, the counselors that are in charge of assisting students with picking correct course scheduling in order to complete their degree requirements are pretty unhelpful as well.

I had to drop out my Junior year due to a death of a close relative that was very difficult for me. Took a year off. Came back. Fine. The problem with this scenario is that when I came back, I started in the Fall. When I had dropped, it was in the Spring. So the specific major-required classes I needed to take were all out of whack. I thought my best move, then, was to get my non-major coursework out of the way in the Fall so I could have more time to focus on studio work come Spring. I took a creative writing, history and science course as required, and completed my internship and it put me at 12 credit hours which is the minimum amount of hours you can take to receive all of your funding (which I didn't know at the time). By the end of that Fall semester I had completed all but 1 non-major course requirement, so I thought come Spring I would not have to take on a full schedule leaving me with more time to better realize my studio work. Nope. I signed up for my studio classes that Spring, and an additional liberal arts course which brought me to 9 credit hours. Things were fine and dandy the first week until I got called out of class the second week and told that I need to speak with the financial department. They told me that I would not receive my financial aid money since I was under 12 credit hours, and if I did not find another class to get into that I would be dropped unless I could suddenly manifest thousands of dollars to cover the cost.

I was freaking out at this point, thinking I was going to have to drop out yet again. So, I had to scurry to find any class which there were NONE OPEN and I had to plead with the professor to remove me from a wait list since any class that I was going to take had a wait list. So I narrowly missed that one. Thanks academic advising for giving me this important information in ADVANCE so I didn't have to take an a) unnecessary class for my degree requirement, wasting more money, and b) have to pick a class I don't have interest in in the first place because I needed to "fill my schedule". When I went back in the Fall after my hiatus, they should've just told me to wait until Spring so I wasn't off rotation, and therefore saving me from having to "fill my schedule" for the remaining portion of my KCAI student career. Because thats what I've been doing so far, my senior year. Taking my studio classes, which ARE required, and filling the rest with unnecessary classes to fill my hours, piling on top of my already horrendous student loan debt.

Another note. When picking out your schedule on the online resource they have for students, there is a section under each class information page where the professors can put notes such as what textbooks and materials will be required for the course. You'd assume if there are no notes, that nothing is required, right? WRONG. It is apparently customary for you to arrive to class the first day to find out that there is in fact a fuckload of things you need to buy for the class, but they keep it a surprise until you are already enrolled.

Also, on that note, apparently even IF you take a class that HAS said notes of textbooks that are required, and you go out and BUY said textbooks, they reserve the right to remove that class you are registered for a week before school begins, effectively leaving you with tons of useless material that you paid an arm and a leg for. Yes, this happened.

KCAI has an overload of students and not nearly enough courses to get students into. Its always a feeding frenzy come class registration time. If you're not registering the first day available, be prepared to be wait listed for most of your classes, and be prepared to take classes that you don't really want to take.

Also, parking is atrocious at KCAI. The parking cops love our campus due to the constantly changing "no parking zones" they like to add. The school would prefer to repaint their campus every year and to add pretty fountains and unnecessarily waste money on cosmetic renovations every semester than to add more parking or studio spaces for students.I'm sure there's more that I'm missing. But to sum it up, if I could go back in time and NEVER come to this school, I'd gladly take that route. My experience here has been mostly nightmarish. The only saving grace that this school has is some of the educators that they have. I've never once been disappointed in my actual education. But what it comes down to is that I've wasted 6 years of my life and accrued an obscene amount of debt when I could have been doing something better with my time all because the corporate side of KCAI has poor administration and a genuine lack of concern towards their students

3rd Year Female -- Class 2014
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Individual Value: F
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