Dream Center Education Holdings will close three North Carolina campuses it recently acquired from Education Management Corporation, formerly a large for-profit chain that last week filed for bankruptcy, according to a report by The News & Observer.
The Los Angeles-based Dream Center, which is a religious missionary organization, announced its planned purchase of EDMC in March 2017. The for-profit then enrolled roughly 65,000 students at its Argosy University, South University and the Art Institutes campuses. Dream Center paid $60 million for the institutions, which it has been seeking to convert to nonprofits.
The conversion process is complex and involves required approvals from several accrediting agencies and the U.S. Department of Education. Last year a regional accreditor rejected the sale of two Pennsylvania Art Institutes, citing "insufficient information and evidence." Consumer groups have called for the department to tightly scrutinize the EDMC sale, in part over concerns about Dream Center's planned nonprofit conversions.
Given EDMC's recent struggles, some observers have wondered if the Dream Center, which has not previously owned or operated colleges, can rescue the campuses. The News & Observer learned of the nonprofit group's plan to close two Art Institute campuses and one South University campus in the state via emails from officials at the University of North Carolina system, which oversees licensure issues for colleges that operate in North Carolina.
A department spokesperson told the newspaper that the feds have yet to approve the three campuses' bid to convert to nonprofits. And the former EDMC institutions currently hold temporary, month-to-month eligibility to receive federal aid.