Around 200 faculty and staff will lose their jobs in December, owing to the closure of two Bay Area private colleges.
Pittsburgh-based Dream Center Education Holdings acquired the schools last year. The organization runs more than 20 schools throughout California and the U.S, focused on IT, fashion, design and other fields. California is the organization's largest market.
Dream Center spokeswoman Anne Dean cited declining enrollment and a higher demand for online learning as reasons for the closures.
"Since acquiring these schools in late 2017, we have been undergoing an ongoing process of evaluating the viability of certain campus-based programs relative to student needs and preferences in order to best support our students, both present and future," Dean said in an email. "As a result of that examination, we have made the decision to discontinue campus-based programs for a number of schools within The Art Institutes, Argosy University, and South University systems."
Dean said the organization is redirecting prospective students to one of its other campuses or its online offerings.
"Current, active students should continue to attend class as scheduled," Dean said. "We will support current students by offering multiple options to continue their education."
An interesting and perhaps unwelcome side effect of the closure of the San Francisco campus of the Art Institute of California in particular has been the confusion among some members of the public over which Bay Area art school is closing.
Gordon Knox, president of the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), a venerable art school that has been in the city since the 19th century, said his organization has received many phone and email inquiries over the past few days about the school's closure.
"It's an unfortunate confusion," Knox said. "We are the school that's been here since 1871, and we are expanding, not contracting."
To set the record straight, SFAI sent out an email blast Thursday to its mailing list and posted a message on its website explaining the confusion.
Headed with the subject line, "SFAI is not closing!", the email said:
While SFAI may share a similar name to The Art Institute of California, SFAI is a very different art school.
Unlike the commercial Art Institute, SFAI is a private, nonprofit institution that has been supporting emerging contemporary artists in the Bay Area since 1871.
The Art Institute of California is closing its San Francisco campus, and this news has caused some concern among members of the SFAI community.
We’re here to let you know that SFAI isn’t going anywhere! We hope to continue supporting emerging artists for years to come.