You just came across the unique degree program of your wildest dreams. Alas, it’s being offered by a private for-profit institution called Full Sail University. Is this a legit school offering legit college degrees?
Full Sail University is a legitimate institution that offers both on-campus and online degree programs in media, technology, arts and entertainment fields. As a matter of fact, it has institutional accreditation and ranks #86 in Newsweek’s first-ever America’s Best Online Learning Schools 2022 ranking.
The quick way to check if the university is legit is to check their LinkedIn page. For instance, on the Full Sale University Alumni page, you can see there are more than 115,000 members and some of them work at companies such as Amazon and Apple.
But before anything else, check out this surprising fact about the school…
Each and every Full Sail University student gets a laptop that’s installed with various software programs and hardware components, customizing the device to the recipient’s chosen degree program.
The following are some other quick facts you might want to know about Full Sail University:
- Location: Winter Park, Florida
- Founding date: 1979
- Motto: If you’re serious about your dream, we’ll take your dream seriously
- Campus size: 200 acres
- Campus type: Urban
- School type: Private for-profit university
- Reputation: Non-party school
- Selectivity level: Non-selective
- Number of majors: 24
- Popular majors: Communications technology, computer and information sciences, visual and performing arts
- Student body: Approximately 21,000
- Students per class: No more than 120
- Student-to-faculty ratio: 25:1
- Retention rate: 64%
- Graduation rate: 50%
- Sports: Electronic sports (esports)
Is Full Sail University a Diploma Mill?
Despite what many people on the internet say, Full Sail University is not a diploma mill. The degrees it confers, from associate, bachelor’s to master’s, are legitimate and accepted by employers. Besides, Full Sail University also offers on-campus classes and degrees, which diploma mills rarely offer.
In cyberspace, it’s easy to come across comments that Full Sail University is a diploma mill.
Private for-profit schools, like Full Sail University, usually get a bad reputation. That’s because these institutions have to rake in money that is typically used for a lot of things other than educational purposes.
Due to the fact that it is what it is, it’s not really surprising that some people are bad-mouthing Full Sail University as well as many other private for-profit schools by saying that they are nothing more than diploma mills. However, as always, not all private for-profit schools in the US are cut from the same cloth — some are just better than the rest.
Also validating that Full Sail University is not a diploma mill is that its name appears on college listings by various college ranking sites — we will talk about this matter in a few, so don’t stop reading now.
Is Full Sail University Accredited?
Full Sail University is an accredited learning institution. The agency responsible for its accreditation is the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The school’s accreditor is legitimate because it is listed by the US Department of Education (USDE) as a recognized accrediting agency.
Before applying to an online school, there is one very important step every non-traditional student has to take. And it’s none other than to check whether or not it’s accredited.
Serving as proof that Full Sail University is not a diploma mill is the fact that it’s accredited by an actual accrediting agency. Diploma mills are not accredited. Those that claim to be accredited are accredited by agencies that are totally made up, which means that their accreditation isn’t real.
Typically, when students check for the legitimacy of an accrediting agency, they try to find out whether it’s recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Full Sail University’s accreditor, unfortunately, isn’t recognized by CHEA.
But, as mentioned earlier, ACCSC is recognized by USDE, which provides an assurance that the accrediting agency is legitimate and the accreditation of Full Sail University is authentic.
Is Full Sail University Regionally or Nationally Accredited?
The accreditor of Full Sail University, which is ACCSC, is a national accrediting agency. So, in other words, Full Sail University is a nationally accredited institution. Although it is widely accepted that regional accreditation is more prestigious, national accreditation is still a legitimate form of accreditation.
Another reason why some degree-seeking students have a problem with Full Sail University is that it has national accreditation instead of regional accreditation, which is what many prefer.
It’s true that there are many perks that come with attending a regionally accredited school.
Easy transfer of earned credits — this is one of the various advantages of being a student at a learning institution with regional accreditation. Because all or nearly all of previously earned credits can be transferred between regionally accredited colleges and universities, transferees can save both time and money.
But it doesn’t mean that credits earned at Full Sail University will not be accepted at other schools. Before transferring, consider checking the requirements at the transfer school.
Although it’s a private for-profit school with national accreditation, Full Sail University still offers financial aid. As a matter of fact, the institution has a dedicated financial aid department. On the said department’s site, students are given instructions on how to fill out the FAFSA for federal aid eligibility.
One of the reasons why a lot of students and their parents, too, frown upon private for-profit schools is that the cost of attending them can be very steep.
If you are from a low-income family and you love one of Full Sail University’s degree programs, there’s hope!
The Winter Park, Florida-based school offers financial aid to eligible students, which comes from different sources — grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. One institutional scholarship at Full Sail University is the Academic Advantage Scholarship, which allows eligible students to win anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per year.
Other institutional scholarship programs at Full Sail University you may apply for include:
- Dedication Scholarship
- Emerging Technology Scholarship
- Full Sail Alumni Scholarship
- Global Achievement Scholarship
- Intensive English Alumni Scholarship
- Pathway Scholarship
- STEM Scholarship
- Student Support Scholarship
- Women in Technology Scholarship
Full Sail University also tells incoming first-time, first-year students to complete the FAFSA in order to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend
Full Sail University charges per credit hour, which can vary depending on the type of degree and the kind of program. The cost of undergraduate programs can range from $583 to $783 per credit hour. Meanwhile, the cost of graduate programs can range from $621 to $916 per credit hour.
Based on the latest data provided by the Education Data Initiative, the following are the costs of attending colleges or universities in the US for one academic year:
|INSTITUTION TYPE||COST PER YEAR|
Above, the range of the cost of attendance (COA) at Full Sail University was given. What wasn’t mentioned, however, are additional fees students have to pay, which can cause the overall sticker price to skyrocket.
It was mentioned earlier that one of the things many degree-seeking students find problematic about Full Sail University is the steep COA, which is typical among private for-profit universities. Just take a look at the COA of some of the undergraduate programs the school offers:
|PROGRAM||COST PER YEAR|
|Digital arts and design||$94,000|
|Game and business esports||$72,500|
|Sports marketing and media||$74,000|
It’s no secret that private for-profit schools are some of the most expensive colleges and universities. Before you decide to attend Full Sail University, make sure that you carefully check whether the overall cost of a degree from it will be worth it after graduation, considering stuff such as student loan debt, employability and return on investment (ROI).
Full Sail University is #86 in America’s Best Online Learning Schools 2022 ranking by Newsweek, which is a first for the respected US-based news magazine, which it did together with Statista. Full Sail University is also chosen by Haute Living as one of the best music production schools in the world.
One quick way to have an idea of whether or not a college or university is good is by looking at its ranking.
It’s no secret that US News is the go-to college ranking site of many graduating high schoolers who are in the process of building a college list. Alas, Full Sail University does not have any US News ranking.
But that’s okay since college rankings should be taken with a grain of salt anyway. And also, Full Sail University is ranked by other college rankers. For instance, Niche ranks it #7 in Best Colleges for Communications in Florida, #10 in Colleges with the Best Student Life in Florida, and #36 in Best Colleges for Music in America.
Some of the most popular majors at Full Sail University include visual and performing arts. In the 2021 Most Popular Audiovisual Communications Schools by College Factual, the school ranks #1.
Video game designer wannabes rejoice — Full Sail University is #2 in Best Master’s in Video Game Design and Development by Best College Reviews and #12 in the 15 Best Game Design Schools in the US by the College Post.
But the coup de grace is, of course, the school making it in Newsweek’s first-ever ranking of online schools.
What are Online Classes Like at Full Sail University?
At Full-Sail University, online classes are synchronous. This means that students have to go online simultaneously at specified schedules in order to be able to participate. However, video lectures and presentations are also archived, which can be accessed by students at practical and convenient times.
First things first: both on-campus and online degree programs that Full Sail University offers take the same amount of credit hours to complete — usually 120 credit hours per bachelor’s degree program.
So, in other words, earning a degree at the school via the web is not easier than earning it the traditional way.
Working on a degree program available online, however, is more convenient for those with work or family commitments or who cannot relocate. But it’s important to note that although online students can choose when to complete their coursework, they should be able to submit them on or before set deadlines.
One of the nicest things about being an online student at Full Sail University is that you can have a well-rounded college experience. For instance, you will still have traditional lectures, tests and assignments.
Please keep in mind that some programs available on-campus are not available online and vice versa.
What is Full Sail University On-Campus Learning Like?
The majority of on-campus students attend 32 to 40 hours of class and labs each week. Lectures, which can be conducted either during the day or night, are followed by labs. Unlike most colleges and universities, however, Full Sail University does not have on-campus living arrangements for its attendees.
It’s true that Full Sail University is not a party school.
Despite this, being bored should be the least of your worries just in case you choose to work on a degree program in the traditional approach at the school.
That’s because Full Sail University students may participate in several different clubs and organizations. They range anywhere from academic interests, volunteering, faith-based groups to, of course, arts and entertainment. Outside the campus, there are shopping districts, restaurants, bars, museums, gardens and parks to visit.
As mentioned above, there is no on-campus housing at Full Sail University. Needless to say, students have to live outside the school’s premises. However, Full Sail University has a housing department that helps students find apartments and assist them in looking for roommates, if necessary.
The following are some major cities closest to Full Sail University:
- Orlando, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- Saint Petersburg, Florida
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Miami, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Havana, Cuba
- Santa Clara, Cuba
Full Sail University has an open admissions policy. It goes without saying that the private for-profit university has a 100% acceptance rate. Still, it’s a must for applicants to meet the minimum requirements in order to get accepted. Scheduling an interview with an admissions representative is the first step to take.
It’s not uncommon for some college-bound teens to try applying to selective institutions with low acceptance rates because of the bragging rights they may earn should they get accepted to them.
Others simply go for non-selective colleges and universities with 100% acceptance rates, thanks to their open admissions policy. One of them is Full Sail University. To gain admission to it, applicants should only present a standard high school diploma or something equivalent to it, like a GED certificate.
Two recommendation letters are also suggested but not really required.
At other schools, interviews are optional. But it’s a different story with Full Sail University — as mentioned earlier, an interview with an admissions representative is the very first step in the enrollment process.
This gives hopefuls an idea of whether or not Full Sail University is the right choice for them.
So, even though the school has an open admissions policy, it still does its best to make sure that applicants who’d make a great fit would be the only ones who’d push through with their application.
Does Full Sail University Offer Early Decision?
Unlike some colleges and universities in the US, Full Sail University does not offer early decisions or any other early admission plan. As a matter of fact, applicants do not have to beat a hard deadline. Instead, Full Sail University has a rolling admissions policy, which means that applications go all year round.
Numerous things can make the entire college application process stressful. One of them is that there are deadlines to beat. Making matters worse is the fact that different institutions have different application deadlines.
At Full Sail University, there’s no need to worry about failing to submit your application right on time.
That’s because the Winter Park, Florida-based school has a rolling admissions policy. This means that college-bound students can submit their applications as soon as they’re completed, and the institution’s admissions officers will review applications as soon as they get their hands on them.
But like other rolling admissions schools, Full Sail University fills available slots on a first-come, first-serve basis. If there are no more slots, you will be placed on the waiting list until slots become available the following month. Or you can choose another start month — at Full Sail University, degree programs start on a monthly basis.
Full Sail University’s admissions officers strongly suggest applying at least three months before your desired start date so that you can have all the time you will need to make the necessary arrangements.
Just Before You Enroll in Full Sail University
Some students have a problem with the fact that Full Sail University is a private for-profit school with expensive tuition costs and national accreditation instead of the more prestigious regional accreditation. Despite these things, however, the institution offering traditional and online degree programs is still a legitimate school.
Needless to say, the degrees Full Sail University confers have value and are accepted by employers.
But make sure that you carefully weigh the pros and cons of attending Full Sail University before you apply to it. If one of the programs it offers is your dream program and it’s not available at other US colleges or universities, chances are attending Full Sail University may be the right step for you to take.
Read Also: How to Enroll in an Online College
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.