ATLANTA — An Atlanta art institution announced that it will be closing its doors for good.
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Just a week before a new semester was supposed to start on Oct. 2, The Art Institute of Atlanta sent an email saying that on Sept. 30, it would be permanently closed.
The Art Institute of Atlanta isn’t the only school shutting down. The entire institute system is closing.
School officials state that although there have been many successful alumni, the academic operations will stop after current students complete their classes this term.
A series of events over the past 10 years, both external and internal to the campus operations has forced the closure of the systems of colleges, school officials state in the email.
“Although there is no formal transfer of credit agreements in place, there will be academic and student financial aid staff available to students at the campus through the end of 2023. We are hopeful that the colleges and universities in each of the Art Institute markets will assist students and allow them to transfer their credits and complete their program of study,” the email states.
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Students and staff of the Atlanta branch said they had no warning and thought they were going to start a new semester next week on Oct. 2.
“I’m like no. This is a prank,” said Chyla Lewis.
“It’s like the rug has been snatched up from under us with no information,” said Michele Carter.
Both Carter and Lewis started attending the Art Institute of Atlanta in April. They were part of the culinary arts program.
“People are heartbroken. People have been crying. I heard there’s faculty that has been crying because school is getting ready to start again. So, where are they going to find employment when classes are already set for other schools? Where are we going to go for the next semester when class is already set? We have to go through an application process and everything,” said Carter.
The biggest concern for students involves tuition and credit transfers.
When it comes to financial aid and tuition paid out of pocket, the college wrote online, The U.S. Department of Education created a website to help students whose college closes.
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When it comes to transferring your credits to another college, the college said it has not had time to sign any formal agreements with universities to do so.
Online, the college wrote, “The Art Institutes are working with numerous partners to facilitate student transfers.”
“My heart goes out to the students who are about to graduate. They’re in limbo,” said Carter.
Carter and Lewis are working to get into new schools this week. They do not yet know if their credits transfer.
Channel 2 Action News has reached out to the Atlanta branch to find out what is driving the decision to shut down. They have not yet responded.
For more information on financial aid, click here.
The closure affects students enrolled at the following branches:
• Miami International University of Art & Design
• The Art Institute of Atlanta
•The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
• The Art Institute of Dallas, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
• The Art Institute of Houston
• The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
• The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
• The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta
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