The commission regulates the state’s private postsecondary colleges and schools. It has access to several hundred thousand dollars of potential support for students through bonds that schools are required to file and through the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund, a state account that schools pay into.
Students impacted by the two latest closures could possibly qualify for reimbursement if they lose credits while transferring to another school. Responses to the commission’s questionnaire are due by Oct. 16. Students who did not receive a survey can email the agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The art school did not provide a reason for the closure in the public announcement posted on its website. School officials have not responded to requests for comment this week.
Kirk Shook, the commission’s executive director, said the last time something like this happened was when the for-profit Argosy University abruptly shuttered in 2019.
The commission posted a list of colleges on its websites with similar areas of study where disrupted students could consider transferring. Shook said many colleges have offered to help enroll students so they can finish their studies.
“I think there’s a lot of options for students, so I’m hoping that students aren’t going to get frustrated by this,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a Friday interview. “I hope that they won’t allow it to prevent them from continuing their education and finding a good career.”
Many of the students have taken out federal student loans, and the federal government offers a closed school loan discharge that students can look into.
Shook said a school representative told the agency that she also was surprised by the closure, which is occurring at the end of an academic quarter.
“It just kind of came out of the blue from the ownership group that they were shutting everything down,” Shook said.
Shook said his office met with the U.S. Department of Education and accrediting agency Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges on Friday to discuss the school closure in Georgia and other impacted states. Officials plan to meet monthly to check on the progress.
In 2019, Education Principle Foundation announced it had acquired the Atlanta site along with several other Art Institutes campuses.
The Atlanta location’s phone number was in operation as of Friday, but no one answered the phone. A recorded message still included instructions for what extension to dial if a caller is interested in attending the school.