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Art Institute Of Pittsburgh Leaders Want To Close By March 31, Cite Declining Enrollment

Collin Binkley
To close its doors, the Department of Education would have to approve the school's "teach out" plans, meaning how it'll partner with other colleges and universities to help students going forward.

A for-profit college located in the Strip District could close its doors at the end of the current term, leaving hundreds of students to figure out how to continue their education.  

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh submitted a closure plan to its accreditors and the U.S. Department of Education last week. It did not return requests for comment.

The school’s closure plan states it will continue operations through March 31st pending approval from the DOE.  

The Pennsylvania Department of Education will have to approve the institute’s “teach-out” plans, according to a department spokesperson. That agreement will outline how other partnering higher education institutions will facilitate the teaching of the Art Institute’s programs. The spokesperson said the department asked for that plan to be submitted by Monday.

The plan notes that students nearing completion of their program may be able to finish their course requirements before the term ends in March. Other students would be able to transfer to another partner institution or pursue student loan forgiveness.

According to the institute, 230 students currently attend the Strip District location while nearly 2,000 take courses online. About 15 percent of those students could potentially complete their program by the time the school plans to close.

According to the document, the school also plans to hold town hall information sessions and transfer fairs to encourage students to attend partner institutions and other local colleges and universities.

The school recently undertook mass layoffs of administrative staff,sources told WESA this week.

Last week the school’s parent company, Dream Center Education Holdings, notified staff that it would be entering into federal receivership to begin “restructuring the vast amount of debt and overhead we inherited when we acquired the school systems.”

Dream Center purchased the Art Institutes from the Education Management Corporation in 2017. Two years prior, Education Management was ordered by the federal government to pay nearly $100 million in a landmark settlement. Then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the company falsely obtained federal and state funding and lied about paying recruiters who used predatory practices.

Thirty campuses owned by Dream Center closed in 2018, according to a report from Inside Higher Ed.