Gahmen Gave Out Millions to Court Atas Ang Moh Arts School Now Sued for Being a “Scam”

In the United States, the New York University Tisch School of the Arts is a prominent school of for performing artists.

Its Tisch Asia school in Singapore though is now at the heart of a class-action lawsuit for being an “educational scam” and not “remotely worth” the $50,000 annual tuition fees which students paid.

What’s worse is possibly the millions which were thrown at Tisch Asia by the Economic Development Board to court it to come to Singapore in 2007.

The school was reportedly given S$11.68 million in loans and S$5.3 million in grant money by the EDB.

During this time, it’s accused of delivering subpar education to students.

Those ex-Tisch Asia students who are hunting for compensation claim that they had to pay up to $165,000 in total for a Master’s degree from the school, but didn’t receive the same quality of education and opportunities as those in the New York campus, and paid the same amount of tuition fees but Tisch didn’t deliver the goods.

Promises of celebrity involvement didn’t materialize either: Oliver Stone, the star filmmaker Tisch Asia advertised as its “Artistic Director,” stopped coming to the school’s campus altogether in 2011.

In 2011, Dramatic Writing students were allegedly promised a class taught by Singapore playwright Haresh Sharma, but to the students’ great disappointment, Mr Sharma was not offered the opportunity at Tisch Asia because of a financial cut and the class instead was taught by a previous year Tisch Asia graduate.”

One film student took a cinematography class with a professor who did not know how to use a modern camera, the suit says; in another class, Tisch failed to find a qualified faculty member and instead had a New York professor teach the class via Skype, an especially awkward arrangement given the 12-hour time difference.

Tisch padded gaps in the faculty, the suit alleges, with under-qualified Singaporean adjuncts.

The plaintiffs (ex-students) said in court documents say that:

“Except for the cost of tuition, Tisch Asia never lived up to the level of Tisch New York,” court documents said. “Tisch Asia students were not provided with the same quality of instruction and equipment as their New York counterparts; did not have an opportunity to gain the same or even comparable internships, part-time jobs in the industry or other resume building opportunities; enter into certain important artistic contests and festivals or apply for certain grants available to New York students.”

Then, when it ran into financial difficulties, Tisch Asia demanded S$56 million as a cash advance just to discuss a possible collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) on an undergraduate program.

The school president demanded then that all the expenses of the undergraduate program to be burdened by the Ministry of Education, which would alo pay taxes to NYU for the use of their brand name.

All this, just for the sake of having the NYU brand in Singapore.

Fortunately, the EDB sent this proposal to parliament and it was rejected.

All further government funding was stopped in 2012 and Tisch Asia shut its doors in 2015 because it couldn’t stay afloat.

It’s unclear how much the EDB has managed to squeeze out of the school to repay its loans.

The school has rubbished accusations in the lawsuit as “wholly without merit” and says that it expects to “prevail in court.”



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