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Ivy Tech offers to help Art Institute of Indianapolis students as school's future remains uncertain

Students say Art Institute pushing classes online
Posted at 11:57 AM, Jul 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-22 21:09:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS--  Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis is offering help to students left in the lurch by the Art Institute, which halted new enrollments and some classes at the Indianapolis campus.

On July 24 from 4-7 p.m., Ivy Tech will host a special event for Art Institute students at its conference center, 2820 N. Meridian St.

“We want to help these students continue toward their educational and career goals,” said Dr. Kathleen Lee, chancellor for Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.

Art Institute students have complained to Call 6 Investigates that their credits do not transfer to other schools, including Ivy Tech.

“Although we cannot accept credits from the Art Institute, we will try to help these students any way we can, including awarding credits through options such as prior learning assessment,” said Lee.

Ivy Tech emphasizes it has several options including its Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), which includes evaluating a student’s credentials and expertise, that can help students qualify for credits.

“When you earn credit through PLA, you may save a significant amount of money and complete your degree more quickly,” according to Ivy Tech’s website.

Ivy Tech tells RTV6 it will evaluate each AI student’s situation to see which PLA option is relevant.

As Call 6 Investigates has reported, students at the Art Institute of Indianapolis and their families are left with questions after the school announced it was stopping new enrollments in Indianapolis and closing campuses across the country.

Hannah Williams told Call 6 Investigates students showed up for class to locked doors and the school had no employees on hand to answer questions.

Williams received an email on July 2 from the Art Institute.

“We regret to inform you that your July class start date is not available due to an insufficient number of enrolled students,” the email from the Art Institute read.

The email said students have other options, including enrolling online at a 50 percent discount.

“If you decide to pursue your education at a different Art Institutes location, you will receive a 50 percent reduction on your tuition,” the email read.

Call 6 Investigates reached out to the U.S. Department of Education regarding the Art Institute of Indianapolis.

"The most effective way for students to provide feedback (e.g. complaints, concerns, or questions) about The Art Institutes or any institution is through the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Feedback System at []," said an education department spokesperson. "It should be noted that the Department conducts its own due diligence with any review, investigation or complaints it may receive."  

A parent contacted Call 6 Investigates saying her daughter was supposed to move in to her apartment on July 5 to start classes at the Art Institute.

“We didn't even receive as much as an email informing us of the situation,” the parent said. “They are offering online classes for these kids. How can you complete a fashion design program online!? No explanation of why we weren't informed. “

Call 6 Investigates contacted Art Institute spokeswoman Anne Dean, who said the decision to halt enrollment in Indianapolis was made for a number of reasons, “including a shift in the demand for online programs in higher education and in student populations at the campuses, which have resulted in declining, unsustainable enrollment levels for campus-based programs in these markets.”

Dean said these options are available to current and prospective students.

“Students at the majority of impacted locations will transition to their chosen transfer option by the end of the calendar year,” Dean said. “We will be working with students to decide their next course of action on a case-by-case basis, as soon as possible.”

Options for students include:

  • Complete their studies at the campus, uninterrupted, if able to graduate on or before the end of the calendar year, and receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition.
  • Transition from their campus-based program to the same or a comparable program via online delivery (The option to attend online is not available to residents of the state of Oregon or those attending The Art Institute of Philadelphia). For doing so, they will receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition for the remainder of their program of study.
  • Transition to another campus within DCEH that offers the same or a similar program. For doing so, they will receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition for the remainder of their program of study.
  • Transfer to a partner institution that is not part of DCEH. For doing so, they will receive a $5,000 tuition grant to support the completion of their studies.
  • For students enrolled in licensure-leading programs, we recognize that there may be additional options to ensure a path to a degree. We will work with each student individually to determine the best course of action.

Dean has not responded to three emails from Call 6 Investigates asking how many employees have been laid off or terminated from the Art Institute campus in Indianapolis. 

However, numerous sources tell Call 6 Investigates employees have been let go.

As Call 6 Investigates has reported, the Art Institute of Indianapolis is facing accreditation issues due to a lack of job placements and is no longer accepting new students.

The north side school offers programs in fashion, culinary, visual design, interior design, film and production and has an enrollment of more than 900 students.

The Art Institute of Indianapolis was hit with a compliance warning from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) for not placing enough students in jobs.

The council’s standard is a 60 percent job placement rate, where the Art Institute of Indianapolis’ rate is 53%, records show.

ACICS said it is giving the campus 24 months to come into compliance or it could risk losing its accreditation.

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