Art Institute Closures Highlight Massive Problems With For Profit Education

Art Institute Closures Highlight Massive Problems With For Profit Education

Joining Corinthian Colleges, the Art Institute announced that it is closing 15 locations around the country. The art schools are under the management of Education Management Corporation (EDMC), based in Pittsburgh, Penn.

The move highlights a trend in for profit schools: High tuition, poor quality instruction and low job placements have finally caught up with the former darlings of Wall Street.

Regulators have also played a role.

In 2011 EDMC was investigated by the Department of Justice for targeting low-income families and enrolling too many students at once so that when those students graduated there weren't enough jobs to go around. The practices created chaos and financial ruin for all involved.

"Are we going to have a school? Am I going to come here one day and the doors are going to be closed?" asked graphic design student Patrick Howard. "We don't have a guaranteed thing in writing that no matter what happens we're going to finish out our graduate diploma."

Similar problems face students of Corinthian, who were simply shut out of their schools after the company filed for bankruptcy. Because of system that does not standardize curriculums or accreditations, student were left with credits that could not be transferred - effectively losing all the time and effort they had put into the programs.

For now a Wednesday email is just telling students enrollment will be ending. But don't be surprised if Art Institute closes up shop for good, leaving hundreds of students stranded.

The next step for the students is just getting back into the classroom until they can figure something out, if that's possible.

The Jacksonville branch of the school told its students they'll help in any way they can, even holding an open forum to answer questions last week, but there are still a lot answers needed from those at the very top level - corporate.

Thus far, management has issues vaguely worded statements that have not inspired much confidence in light of other college failures around the country.

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