The Art Institute system will close permanently at the end of September, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
News of the closing – announced Sep. 22 – came as a surprise to students and faculty alike, a little over a week before the new school term was set to start on Oct. 2.
“A culmination of events over the past decade, both external and internal to the campus operations, has forced the closure of this system of colleges,” the school announced. “Most notably, the colleges, which already were dealing with the legacy challenges that arose under prior ownership, were unable to absorb the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on schools teaching hands-on and equipment-intensive programs such as culinary arts and fashion design.”
This decision will apply to the entire Art Institute system, including The Art Institute of Virginia Beach; Miami International University of Art & Design; The Art Institute of Atlanta; The Art Institute of Austin; The Art Institute of Dallas; The Art Institute of Houston; The Art Institute of San Antonio; and The Art Institute of Tampa.
Student Justice Perez Sanders, 16, was only able to retrieve some of her art portfolio because she was not able to access the school’s servers.
“She worked really hard to build that,” said her mother, Sara Perez Sanders.
The system is working with other partners to facilitate student transfers, according to its website. And military veterans may be eligible for partial or full restoration of education benefits.
"We encourage you to complete your education at another school," the system website stated. "Transfer means you may be able to use the academic credits you have earned at The Art Institute toward the completion of a similar or different program of study at another school. If you are interested in completing your education and earning your degree, please visit for a list of partner institutions willing and able to assist students."