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Art Institutes close across the country, thousands now stranded

art institute of tampa
Posted at 7:19 PM, Sep 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-26 19:19:03-04

Across the country, students and faculty were shocked to learn that all Art Institutes would be closed by the end of this week. In Florida, that impacts locations in Tampa and Miami.

This Art Institute in Miami is one of eight locations that will be closing its doors for good on Saturday.

In the past, the system of for-profit colleges has faced lawsuits from the Department of Justice and students, and some locations lost their accreditation back in 2018.

The schools now say the reason behind closing their doors is due to legacy challenges under prior ownership and the pandemic affecting enrollment rates.

After this week, these schools will no longer exist.

And it’s not just Miami that is facing this issue.

“I was completely in awe. I couldn’t believe it, I could not believe it,” stated Tony Audrey.

Audrey was a culinary arts student at a location in Tampa. He began only three months ago and found out about the closure while walking the halls Monday, but received an email that told him the news.

The school said in part:

“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.”

Audrey said his experience was a positive one.

“I just knew that I would learn a lot and be successful in this field," said Audrey.

However, according to the Department of Education, the closure will impact 1,700 students who now have to figure out their next steps in just days.

Audrey, a retired veteran, said he will now work with the VA to see where he can transfer, too, but that this will put him behind.

He hopes he and others don’t let this affect them.

“As a student, I hope they don’t give up and give up on their dreams, but I also pray that the school doesn’t forget about us and at least leave us a small group of something because we are stranded," said Audrey.

The system’s website said they will offer provide five free copies of transcripts for each student and have been working with other institutions to provide transfer options to students.