It appears as if New York City-based culinary school International Culinary Center (ICC, formerly FCI) is taking steps to mend its reputation. Last month, a judge upheld a lawsuit filed against the school by former students who alleged that ICC had "over-promised graduates and led students to believe they would make more money upon graduation than what the market actually bears." Multiple former students are now suing for the cost of their expensive tuitions, loans (plus interest), and even emotional distress damages.
Now, according to an email sent to alumni, the school is expanding its 600-hour Professional Culinary Arts program to include a paid externship component. Instead of working at ICC's restaurant L'Ecole — which will shutter in November 2015 when the lease expires — students will spend 200 hours completing paid externship opportunities that "match a student's desired career path." This includes the chance to work at a restaurant, in catering, in food media, and beyond. Plus, all students in the program will take classes "focused on Culinary Business topics" because a "growing number" want to open their own culinary businesses. Does this help justify tuition costs or is culinary school still not worth it?