The Art Institutes

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This article is about the system of for-profit art schools. For other uses, see Art Institute.
The Art Institutes
The Art Institutes.png
The Art Institutes logo
Type Private, for-profit
Established 1969
President Charles Restivo.[1]
Students 56,070 (as of 2014) including 5,432 at schools locations that are shutting down.[2][3]
Location United States, Canada

The Art Institutes (Ai) are a system of for-profit art colleges with approximately 50 locations across the United States and Canada. The schools offer master's degrees, bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and certificates in visual, creative, applied, and culinary arts. Educational accreditation of The Art Institutes and their programs varies among campuses and programs.

The Art Institutes' parent company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC), is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[4] In November 2014, EDMC was delisted from the NASDAQ amid financial difficulties, lawsuits, and investigations.[5]


The Art Institutes system was created in 1969 when Education Management Corporation (EDMC) acquired The Art Institute of Pittsburgh,[6][7][8] which was originally founded in 1921.[9] Starting in 2000, The Art Institutes began offering bachelor's degrees[10] and, in 2001, launched its distance education program, Art Institute Online, which began offering bachelor's and non-degree programs online.[8][11]

Throughout the 2000s, The Art Institutes expanded through the acquisition of existing art colleges and the establishment of new Art Institutes.[12] In 2001, there were around 20 campuses of The Art Institutes;[8] this grew to approximately 30 locations in 2006[13] before reaching 50 Art Institutes in 2010.[14]

Beginning in August 2011, EDMC has been involved in a United States Department of Justice investigation and lawsuit alleging both illegal recruitment practices by EDMC schools, including The Art Institutes, and fraudulent receipt of $11 billion in federal and state financial aid money.[4][15][16] As of May 2013, the lawsuit was unresolved.[17] A 2011 US DOJ report claimed EDMC "created a 'boiler room' style sales culture and has made recruiting and enrolling new students the sole focus of its compensation system."[18]

In 2011, Frontline released a documentary titled Educating Sergeant Pantzke. In the documentary, Iraq war veteran Chris Pantzke discussed the lack of disability services at the school. According to Pantzke, "Being a soldier, you don’t want to quit, you don’t want to give up or fail." After doing his own research, Pantzke concluded that the degree he was pursuing wasn’t "worth much more than the paper is worth," and felt he was "throwing away taxpayer money" by using GI Bill funds.[19]

Since 2012, The Art Institutes schools have experienced a decrease in the number of new students enrolling, seeing enrollment numbers drop by approximately 20 percent between the second quarter of the 2012 fiscal year and the start of 2013. EDMC has attributed the drop in enrollment to limited access to Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students and the economic recession.[6] In February 2013, EDMC announced plans for a three-year-old tuition freeze at The Art Institutes. Under this plan, the company pledged to maintain the current cost of tuition through 2015.[17]

In May 2013, a federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected a bid to dismiss a lawsuit against EDMC by a former EDMC employee. The lawsuit alleges that the corporation and its affiliates engaged in a scheme to maximize profits from financial aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The complainant in the case, Jason Sobek, who worked as an admissions director for EDMC in Pittsburgh from June 2008 through November 2010, alleges that the firm falsified information given to the Department of Education that indicated they were in compliance with the loan programs’ eligibility requirements. In testimony that provided the basis for the lower court’s decision last October, Sobek alleged that EDMC operated a "carefully crafted and widespread for-profit education scheme [in which] defendants have defrauded the United States and its taxpayers out of millions of dollars in the form of federally backed student loans and grants."[20]

In June 2013, EDMC announced that its President John Mazzoni would resign effective July 14, 2013, after 27 years at the organization. Charles Restivo, Group Vice President, would become the Interim President of The Art Institutes.[21]

In May 2015, EDMC announced that it would be closing the doors of 15 of the Art Institute locations. "A total of 5,432 students are enrolled among the campuses that are slated to close, according to a list provided by EDMC. The company will undergo a teach out process at each location, meaning each campus will continue to offer courses, student services and placement assistance until the last student has graduated, according to Hardman." The campuses that were announced to be closed include: The Art Institute of Atlanta — Decatur (a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta), The Art Institute of Ohio — Cincinnati, The Art Institute of Fort Worth (a campus of South University), The Art Institute Houston — North (a branch of the Art Institute of Houston), The Art Institute of Jacksonville (a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design), The Art Institutes International — Kansas City, The Art Institute of Michigan — Troy, The New England Institute of Art, The Art Institute of New York City, The Art Institute of Salt Lake City, The Art Institute of California — Silicon Valley (a branch campus of Argosy University), The Illinois Institute of Art — Tinley Park, The Art Institute of Washington — Dulles (a branch campus of The Art Institute of Atlanta), The Art Institute of Wisconsin, and The Art Institute of York – Pennsylvania [22]

In January of 2016, EDMC announced that three more Art Institutes would be ceasing enrollments. These campuses are The Art Institute of California - Los Angeles, The Art Institute of St. Louis, and the Art Institute of Tucson. This brings the total number of Art Institutes campuses slated for closure to 18. [23]

Schools and programs[edit]

Fort Lauderdale Institute building

As of May 2015, there were 36 Art Institutes remaining,[24] down from a count of 50 in 2013, as well as the Art Institute Online,[6][25] with a total of 56,070 students. The Art Institutes schools account for about half of all EDMC schools[26] and more than half of EDMC's total student population.[6]

The Art Institutes offer degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels, as well as non-degree diploma programs. Areas of study include graphic design, media arts and animation, culinary arts, photography, digital filmmaking and video production, interior design, audio production, fashion design, game art and design, baking and pastry, and fashion marketing[13]


  1. ^ "Officers - Charles Restivo". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "EDMC Investor Relations". EDMC corporate website, EDMC Corporation. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Belser, Ann (May 6, 2015). "EDMC to close 15 Art Institute locations; Pittsburgh campus not affected". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 
  4. ^ a b Josh Keller (August 8, 2011). "Education Management Corp. Improperly Paid Recruiters, Prosecutors Say". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d Ann Belser (8 February 2013). "EDMC's enrollment falls by 16.3 percent". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Robert B. Knutson". The Wall Street Transcript. 18 May 1998. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Eve Modzelewski (11 July 2001). "Education Management Buys Rival". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Art Institute Provides Professional Training". The Pittsburgh Press. 15 August 1948. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Patricia Sabtini (5 November 2000). "Art Institutes' Parent Firm Meets Here, Sees Growth". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Jim McKay (26 August 2003). "Art Institutes Online adding 53 jobs to Downtown staff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  12. ^ May Reeves (19 May 2003). "Education Management Corp. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Educator Does Its Homework On Hot Trends". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Andrew Ross Sorkin (6 March 2006). "Education Management Said to Be Sold for $3.4 Billion". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Cameron Snipes (17 December 2010). "Chris Mesecar, The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Tamar Lewin (August 8, 2011). "For-Profit College Group Sued as U.S. Lays Out Wide Fraud". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  16. ^ Josh Keller (November 6, 2011). "A Chain of For-Profit Art Institutes Comes Under Scrutiny". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Andrew Conte (28 February 2013). "Education Management CEO praises back-to-basics strategy". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "EDMC Professors and Students Speak: How Lobbyists and Goldman Sachs Ruined For-Profit Education". Huffington Post. 24 September 2012. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Cousins, Christopher. "Judge allows lawsuit against for-profit college firm linked to ex-Gov. McKernan to continue". Bangor Daily news. 
  21. ^ "John Mazzoni, President of The Art Institutes, Departs July 14, 2013". Reuters. [dead link]
  22. ^ "EDMC to Close 15 Art Institute Locations". Pittsburgh Business Times. 6 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "EDMC to Close 3 More Art Institute Locations". Trib Live. 20 January 2016. 
  24. ^ "EDMC to close 15 Art Institute locations; Pittsburgh campus not affected". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 6, 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "The Art Institutes". Education Management Corporation. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Thomas Olson (20 January 2013). "Education Management’s profit falls 51%; sale-leaseback of Art Institute studied". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 

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