Three New York University students are arguing that they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars attending a now defunct offshoot of the school, Tisch Asia, in a lawsuit filed earlier in the week.
The group of students, two of whom are Master's degree graduates, each spent between $100,000 and $165,000 in tuition in order to study at the school located in Singapore. However, the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court states that the education they received did not live up to the reputation of the school.
Founded in 2007, Tisch Asia offers a number of degrees in areas such as animation and digital arts, dramatic writing, international media producing and film. According to the lawsuit, the school promises students the same degree they would receive in New York. The suit went on to say that with the exception of the tuition cost, the school was not similar at all to the one located in New York.
Famous faculty members were promised to prospective students, including Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone and Singaporean playwright Haresh Sharma. In addition, the school said the professors were "meticulously selected" with "strong ties to the industry."
"In reality, many faculty members at Tisch Asia had either subpar experience and/or knowledge to the faculty in New York, did not have strong ties to the industry and/or had not been active in the industry for a long period of time. At least one teacher was a fresh graduate of Tisch Asia," the suit says.
In addition, Tisch Asia students were not eligible for the same grants and fellowships as their peers in New York.
Looking for class-action status, the suit claims that students who attended Tisch Asia were "rejects" who were unable to gain admission to the Tisch New York Master of Fine Arts program, writes Lia Eustachewich for The New York Post. The suit went on to suggest that students of the school received "subpar" teachers and facilities, as well as equipment.
NYU announced it would be shutting down the Asia offshoot in 2012 and officially closed its doors in 2015.
In 2011, Pari Shirazi, the founder and president of the program, was fired from the school under allegations of misuse of private funds and embezzlement. She is currently fighting the charges in a separate lawsuit against NYU, writes ZoÃ« Schlanger for NYU Local.
However, NYU spokesman John Beckman has denied the allegations made in the lawsuit, maintaining that students enrolled in the school had in fact received a high-quality education. He added that the school was closed because NYU was providing students with an education that cost more than the tuition they were charging.
He went on to say that the school remained open until all students had graduated.
"It was a robust, graduate level program in the arts, and artistically the school was a success, with a number of students winning awards," he said. "This suit is wholly without merit, and we expect to prevail in court."