Helena Lyng Blak
3 weeks ago

Biden Approves $6.1 Billion for Art Institutes Student Debt Cancellation

President Biden cancels $6.1 billion in student debt for former Art Institutes students, addressing years of alleged fraud and mismanagement.
zimmytws / DepositPhotos
zimmytws / DepositPhotos

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, United States President Joe Biden announced that his administration had approved $6.1 billion in student debt cancellation for 317,000 borrowers who attended the Art Institutes. 

The Art Institutes were a for-profit system of art schools in the US operating from 1969 to September 30, 2023. 

The Art Institutes system was created in 1969 by the system’s parent company Education Management Corporation (EDMC). At its largest, the Art Institutes had 50 campuses across the US, growing exponentially when EDMC was acquired by Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity Partners, and Leeds Equity Partners in 2006. 

In 2009, EDMC became a publicly traded corporation. 

The system’s decline became apparent in the 2010s when multiple scandals and criticisms hit the institutes. This included investigations alleging illegal marketing tactics, loss of accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission for multiple locations across the US, mismanagement of funds, including reports indicating that millions of dollars of federal funding, intended for students, were missing. 

Biden strongly condemned the fraudulent practices in his statement, saying,“This institution falsified data, knowingly misled students, and cheated borrowers into taking on mountains of debt without leading to promising career prospects at the end of their studies.” 

Highlighting a policy shift, Biden criticized the previous administration's inaction, stating, “While my predecessor looked the other way when colleges defrauded students and borrowers, I promised to take this on directly to provide borrowers with the relief they need and deserve,” later asserting that, “We will never stop fighting to deliver relief to borrowers, hold bad actors accountable, and bring the promise of college to more Americans.”


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