Fifteen Art Institutes campuses -- including the Art Institute of Michigan in Troy attended by about 300 students -- are closing as its owner, Education Management Corp., continues to consolidate during a time of heightened federal scrutiny of for-profit colleges.

The Art Institute campuses closing in the near future appear to include those campuses in Atlanta, Boston,  Cincinnati, Fort Worth, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New York, Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. 

About 1,200 employees, including 200 immediately, will either lose their jobs or find employment elsewhere within the company, according to a  report in the Pittsburgh Tribune.   

Federal rules going into effect this summer will require for-profit colleges to demonstrate that they sufficiently prepare students for "gainful employment"  in order to remain eligible for federal student financial aid, which is the lifeblood of most for-profit schools.  

The Tribune story reported that the Art Institutes are "particularly susceptible" to these new standards  because of the types of programs they offer, such as culinary or animation, according to Trace Urdan, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities.  The low wages that culinary students would earn as prep cooks wouldn't immediately justify the high cost of their educations, Urdan said.  



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