The Art Institutes (Ai) are a system of art colleges owned by Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH), a Pentecostal non-profit organization. At its height, The Art Institutes had greater than 50 campuses. However, as the for-profit education sector came under scrutiny, many campuses saw a marked decrease in enrollment. At least 35 schools closed in 2017-18.
In 2018, Dream Center Education Holdings reported that more Ai campuses would be closing in 2018. Up to 13 Art Institute campuses may remain open.
The schools offer master's degrees, bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and certificates in visual, creative, applied, and culinary arts.
The Art Institutes' former parent company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC), was headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In November 2014, EDMC was delisted from the NASDAQ amid financial difficulties, lawsuits, and investigations and its stock is valued at less than one cent per share.
Educational accreditation of The Art Institutes and their programs varies among campuses and programs. One of its accreditors, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), has been criticized by a dozen states' Attorneys General for its lax standards.
Art Institutes in Colorado, Chicago and Schaumburg, Illinois, and Detroit are not accredited.
In June 2016, the US Department of Education voted to end ACICS power to accredit. ACICS was stripped of its power to accredit in September.
In December 2016, nine additional Art Institutes were placed on probation by their accreditor, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Thousands of former students of the Art Institutes claim they have been deceived and misled by the schools and their recruiters and have filed claims with the US Department of Education. Art Institute students are able to file defense to repayment claims with the US Department of Education.
In 2017, Education Management Corporation reported that it had sold the existing Art Institutes to The Dream Center Foundation, a Los Angeles-based Pentecostal organization. The sale was complete in October 2017.
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