By Ben Unglesbee
The nonprofit’s attempt to operate a trio of formerly for-profit colleges was troubled from the start — but the problems began years before.
This story is ongoing and the timeline will be updated as events unfold.
In the fall of 2017, the faith-based nonprofit Dream Center Foundation entered the higher education world when it acquired the college assets of the for-profit Education Management Corp. (EDMC). The deal included the Art Institutes, a chain of for-profit art colleges that traces its roots back nearly a century.
The deal was a disaster, almost from the moment the ink dried. Enrollment and revenue fell far short of EDMC’s projections, and Dream Center lost accreditation for some of its schools. By the end of 2018, Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH), a nonprofit set up to manage the acquired colleges, was facing insolvency and looking to get rid of most of its higher ed assets.
The organization successfully unloaded eight of its remaining Art Institutes and most of the South University system, while deals to purchase the campuses it kept in receivership have since fallen through. The latter group includes a handful of Art Institutes, Argosy University and two South University campuses.
Meanwhile, DCEH’s efforts to reorganize in receivership has gone terribly by almost every measure, with Argosy losing its Title IV access amid a scandal around unpaid federal student aid stipends. A round of sudden campus closures soon followed.
Students and employees have paid the price in lost money and time, as well as in stress and uncertainty. As stakeholders continue searching for answers and the organization’s remaining… (continue reading)