The Art of War

The Art of War

Seattle's Art Institute rakes in federal cash from the GI Bill.

Watchdog nonprofit ProPublica recently released a list of the past year’s top 500 recipients of post-9/11 GI Bill money. So where are Washington’s former military members matriculating? The University of Washington is the state’s unsurprising clubhouse leader. But running right behind the Northwest’s largest university is the relatively small Art Institute of Seattle, which got more than $2.5 million in federal funds even as the for-profit industry of which it’s a member has come under increased scrutiny from the federal government.

In September, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin released “Debt Without a Diploma,” a scathing report on the education-for-profit world in which he takes the industry to task for its aggressive marketing tactics, high dropout rates, and the large debt burden borne by many of its former students.

“The farther we take this investigation, the clearer it becomes that many for-profit colleges view students as no more than cogs in the profit-making machine, with little concern for their education or success,” said Harkin.

In a review of 14 of the largest for-profit schools, Harkin’s report found that federal dollars accounted for nearly all their revenue, leading him to write that “these ‘profits’ are largely made up of taxpayer dollars.” His criticism is reflected in the fact that, per GI Bill–funded student, the Art Institute collects more taxpayer money (more than $14,000) than does the U-Dub (just over $8,000).

Perhaps because of the broad brush with which Harkin painted all for-profits, a spokesperson for the Institute declined to talk about whether its rolls have been significantly increased thanks to the GI Bill, or how many of those ex-military students remain enrolled at the college. “We just don’t comment on that kind of stuff,” communications director Mark Livingston told the Weekly.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

More in News & Comment

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, who pushed for broadband funding in Washington schools. (Screenshot from
American Rescue Plan Act funding approved for broadband investments in WA schools

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray pushed for the funding, which will benefit several King County school districts.

Courtesy photo
State offers free at-home COVID-19 tests

You can order the tests through the state’s new online portal.

Sen. Mona Das, D-47
Kent Democratic Sen. Mona Das proposes 1% cut in state sales tax

Starting in 2023; Republicans voice support for Senate Bill 5932

Federal Way police arrest suspect in fatal carjacking

35-year-old Tacoma man charged with murder in “random, brutal and senseless carjacking,” prosecutors say.

File photo.
Man accused of fatally shooting 11-year-old girl’s dog in front of her

The defendant is being charged with first-degree animal cruelty and reckeless endangerment.

Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics
Auburn, Federal Way mayors speak out against multifamily housing bill

Leaders say they don’t need state intervention.

File photo
Non-profit sponsors study on how the pandemic impacted arts and culture in Puget Sound

The study helped identify challenges faced by residents and cultural organizations in Washington

File photo
WA lawmakers propose making companies responsible for recycling improvements

SB 5697 would compel industries to report data, invest in infrastructure, meet standards.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee: Officials’ lies about election results should be crime

Governor wants lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor.

Most Read