Art Institute of Houston closes doors permanently, leaving students with limited options

Alex Bozarjian Image
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Art Institute of Houston shutdown: Hundreds of students in limbo
Hundreds of students say they're dumbfounded after the Art Institute of Houston suddenly decided to close their doors.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Students say they're dumbfounded after the Art Institute of Houston suddenly decided to close their doors.

The announcement came on Friday via email. According to ownership, Houston is not the only location on the chopping block.

The email states all of the other art institutes across the country will cease academic operations.

Officials said due to the timing of this decision, the Art Institutes have not had sufficient time to engage with other colleges and universities in their respective markets to sign formal agreements for students to transfer and continue their studies elsewhere.

"The art institute is very well known. It had a legacy," Victor Gaytan, a student at the Art Institute of Houston, said.

That legacy faced major challenges over the past decade, according to this email that went out to every single student at Art Institutes across the country.

Houston is one of their eight locations that will shut down for good effective Sept. 30, the email stated.

These closures affect students enrolled at Miami International University of Art & Design (FL) , its global online programs and its branches, The Art Institute of Tampa (FL) and The Art Institute of Dallas (TX); The Art Institute of Atlanta (GA) and its branch The Art Institute of Virginia Beach (VA); and The Art Institute of Houston (TX) and its branches, The Art Institute of Austin (TX) and The Art Institute of San Antonio (TX).

"We are basically stuck in limbo now and wanting to figure out what the next step is," Gaytan said.

"Are you feeling defeated?" ABC13 reporter Alex Bozarjian asked.

"A little, we just got the news yesterday and I am still processing it," Gaytan said.

The system of colleges says the COVID-19 pandemic, in part, led to the collapse.

They further explained the institute's education model of requiring hands-on teaching and equipment-intensive programs made virtual options difficult.

Gaytan was studying graphic design.

He was just one quarter away from graduation.

"I was three classes away. I was going to end in December and then I was done," Gaytan said.

Officials said they will email student students copies of their transcripts at no cost, but inevitably this will set many back like Gaytan.

He says he feels for his professors too.

"They lost their jobs, so I am a little at loss for words over all of this," Gaytan said.

ABC13 did attempt to the contact the interim president and several board members, but they could not be reached for comment.

Eyewitness News was told students have until Sept. 30 to access records, and after that the online portal will close.