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Art School Organization Shuts Doors, Leaving Hundreds Of Students In Limbo

The Art Institutes has announced sudden closure, leaving the fates of 1,700 students in its 8 schools hanging.

On Friday, The Art Institutes – a network of eight private schools – announced that it will close its remaining locations. These include Miami, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa, San Antonio, Virginia Beach, and Florida schools. The closure will occur with immediate effect by the end of September. This has left the fate of about 1,700 students currently enrolled in the schools uncertain.

However, over the past decade, The Art Institutes has faced internal struggles which has exacerbated over the years. Between 2011-2013, the network saw a drop in enrolment of 16.3 percent. Things continue deteriorating as 15 locations under The Art Institutes had to be shuttered in 2015. The same year, Education Management Corp – the then-owner of the network – faced lawsuits over false advertisement and predatory recruiting practices. In 2017, the lawsuit was settled. However, by 2018,  Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH) – the parent company of the EMC – had made clear that they wanted to get rid of the network altogether.

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In 2019, the network was acquired by the Education Principle Foundation (EPF), a Delaware-based nonprofit. The subsequent Covid-19 pandemic further raised the difficulties of the network and saw a massive drop in enrolment. The financial difficulties were only worsened by the mismatch between The Art Institutes (a network of for-profit schools) and EPF (a nonprofit organization). The network has not commented anything about the future of its currently enrolled students and whether it will compensate them for their time.