Art Institutes college chain shuts down all campuses, including San Antonio
In tragic news for higher education, the Art Institutes, a network of colleges in eight cities around the U.S. including Dallas, is shutting down all campuses as of September 30.
The organization announced its closure with short notice on September 22 via an email sent out to staff and students, attributing the close to "external and internal" events over the past 10 years, including COVID-19.
They called the closure the result of "a culmination of events over the past decade, both external and internal to the campus operations. ... The colleges, which already were dealing with the legacy challenges that arose under prior ownership, were unable to absorb the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on schools teaching hands-on and equipment-intensive programs such as culinary arts and fashion design.”
Students were advised to review their contact information on the institute's portal and update mailing addresses if needed, as well as download their student ledger and unofficial transcript.
Academic and financial aid staff will be available on campus through the end of 2023.
"Due to the timing of this decision, The Art Institutes have not had sufficient time to engage with other colleges and universities in their respective markets to sign formal agreements for students to transfer and continue their studies elsewhere," they said in a statement. "The Art Institutes are working with state agencies and The Art Institutes' accrediting agency, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, to identify appropriate academic transfer opportunities for students affected by this closure."
The closures affect all of the remaining eight campuses:
- Miami International University of Art & Design
- The Art Institute of Atlanta
- The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
- The Art Institute of Dallas, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
- The Art Institute of Houston
- The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
- The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
- The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta
Although the announcement was abrupt, the Atlanta campus had been listed for lease on September 5, according to CoStar.
At one point, the organization had dozens of campuses across the U.S., but in recent years had endured instability, including two changes in ownership since 2017 and legal troubles over student loans.
According to Higher Ed Dive, their troubles go back a decade to their former owner, the for-profit Education Management Corp, who closed 15 locations before selling off the rest to the Dream Center Foundation, a faith-based organization that set it up as a nonprofit.
The email further states that "The Art Institute colleges were once were part of one of the largest providers of career education in the U.S. and were an important source of design, media arts, fashion, and culinary professionals to fulfill the needs of the local and national employers who sought out Art Institute graduates. Since its founding, The Art Institutes, individually and collectively, provided an academic experience for students who sought education in academic disciplines based in creativity, innovation, and emerging technology. This closure does not diminish the many and varied contributions that The Art Institutes have made to higher education and the knowledge and skills that alumni have taken into their respective fields of culinary, design, fashion, and media following graduation."