American InterContinental University

American InterContinental University

American InterContinental University, commonly called AIU, is an international for-profit university owned by Career Education Corporation (stock symbol CECO). It was founded in 1977 as the American College of Applied Arts.

AIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's degrees.


The American College of Applied Arts, founded in 1977, offered courses in fashion and interior design in Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, and Dubai. The institution first received SACS accreditation in 1987. Steve Bostic bought the school in 1996 and changed its name to American InterContinental University, added new programs, and increased class sizes and tuition. In 2000, Bostic sold the institution to Career Education Corporation, a publicly traded operator of for-profit schools that had been established in 1994.


AIU has seven campuses in the United States and other countries. [ The student tr
] , by Alyssa Abkowitz, "Creative Loafing Atlanta", July 11, 2007.]

United States

*Los Angeles, California []
*Weston, Florida []
*Atlanta, Georgia [] (located in the Buckhead neighborhood, Headquarters campus)
*Dunwoody, Georgia [] (a suburb of Atlanta)
*Houston, Texas [] (located in the Westchase district)

Other countries

*London, England []

Online campus

AIU also maintains AIU Online [] , whose offices are located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago).


The selection of programs at AIU include the following (each not available at all campuses):
*Business Administration
**Health Care Management
**International Business
*Criminal Justice
**Fashion Design
**Fashion Design and Marketing
**Fashion Marketing
*Information Technology
*Instructional Technology (Education)
*Interior Design
*Media Production
*Visual Communications (Fine Arts)


AIU's parent company has grown rapidly and had become increasingly controversial. CEC has been investigated by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Allegations specific to AIU include reports that the school misrepresented its programs and classes, made a practice of admitting students who had not graduated from high school, and included in its enrollment numbers students who had never attended class.

One of its most outspoken critics of AIU and CEC has been founder Steve Bostic, who concluded that "CECO's Board has allowed management to lose sight of the Company's primary mission of providing quality education services; under these directors, CECO management has sacrificed the quality of student programs, resulting in the severe escalation of student attrition - all for the sake of a "top-line growth strategy" that cannot be sustained." Since writing these words in an open letter in 2005, CEC schools have indeed shown a drop in growth, retention issues, and regulatory problems. [ [ Steve Bostic Sends Letter to Career Education Corporation Stockolders, PR Wired, May 6, 2005] ]

SACS placed the university on probation in December 2005. AIU had come under scrutiny for its student recruiting practices. AIU is an open-enrollment institution, where nearly everyone who applies is admitted. AIU argues that these open standards help create educational opportunities for low-income and minority students who might not otherwise be able to attend college. Others, including current and former AIU employees, have countered that enrolling students who lack adequate preparation and qualification does not actually help them. One anonymous professor stated: "If you can breathe and walk, you can get into the school." [ "Promises and Profits - A For Profit College Is Under Investigation For Pumping Up Enrollment While Skimping On Education", The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 13, 2006, by Stephen Burd] ] In 2006, SACS reported that AIU did not comply with eight of their "Principles of Accreditation", including integrity, program content, and faculty. [ Southwest Accreditation Report in "Self-Study Questionnaire"] ] On December 11, 2007, CEC announced that SACS has removed AIU's probation and that the university's accreditation remains in good standing. [ "American InterContinental University Announces Positive Result in Accreditation Review"] ]

Likewise, in June 2008, The Quality Assurance Agency closed an Audit [ [] ] (published in May on 2005 and based on an examination of the London Campus in 2004). This report had noted that at the date of the Agency’s review in 2004, there were “fundamental concerns regarding the academic standards being achieved" [ [ American InterContinental University - London Institutional Audit, May 2005] ] ] . Following successful efforts on the London campus to remedy deficiencies, the QAA noted that “Since the audit QAA has been provided with information that indicates that appropriate action has been taken by the American InterContinental University in response to the findings of this report. As a result the audit was signed off in June 2008” [ [] ]

*On June 21, 2005, the U.S. Department of Education put a freeze on approving CEC's new applications for additional campuses or acquisitions while it examined the company's financial records and compliance with federal student aid regulations. [ The Chronicle of Higher Education ] ] According to a CEC press release, that restriction was lifted in January 2007. [ U.S. Department of Education lifts growth restrictions] , "Career College News", January 30, 2007]

*On February 15, 2008, Career Education Corporation announced that was giving up on its attempt to sell several of its colleges, including several from the Gibbs Division and Lehigh Valley College and would instead teach out those facilities as well as McIntosh College in New Hampshire. It was also going to seek permission to convert two Gibbs college locations to campuses of its Sanford-Brown College. [ [ Career Education Corporation Says It Will Close 9 Troubled Colleges] ]

*On February 18, 2008, American InterContinental University, an arm of the Career Education Corporation, has announced plans to gradually close down its Los Angeles campus. The campus will employ a gradual teach-out process, allowing current students the opportunity to complete their programs. The campus will no longer enroll new students. Nonetheless, said Dr. George Miller, CEO of American InterContinental University, “the impact of a two-year probation, coupled with the current market for AIU’s programs in Los Angeles, is such that the student population at the campus has decreased significantly, and likely will not reach the sustainable level necessary to support the addition of new programs and necessary resources.” [ [,284345.shtml American InterContinental University Announces Plan to Teach-Out Programs at Los Angeles Campus] ]

AIU continues to be dogged by issues relating to its quality assurance problems, including several class action suits against it and its parent company CEC. On March 19, 2008, Wargo & French filed the attached Complaint against American Intercontinental University and its parent company, Career Education Corporation (collectively "Defendants"). The Complaint alleges that Defendants defrauded current and former AIU students by advertising false employment rates for its graduates, failing to disclose to students that it was on the verge of losing accreditation, and falsely telling students that an AIU education was worth the significant financial investment. The Complaint is a putative class action, with the Plaintiff seeking to represent all other students of AIU who have been defrauded by AIU. []


External links

* [ American InterContinental University]

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