The nonprofit’s attempt to operate a trio of formerly for-profit colleges was troubled from the start — but the problems began years before.
In the fall of 2017, the faith-based nonprofit Dream Center Foundation entered the higher education world when it acquired the college assets of the for-profit Education Management Corp. (EDMC). The deal included the Art Institutes, a chain of for-profit art colleges that traces its roots back nearly a century.
The deal was a disaster, almost from the moment the ink dried. Enrollment and revenue fell far short of EDMC’s projections, and Dream Center lost accreditation for some of its schools. By the end of 2018, Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH), a nonprofit set up to manage the acquired colleges, was facing insolvency and looking to get rid of most of its higher ed assets.
The organization successfully unloaded eight of its remaining Art Institutes and most of the South University system, while deals to purchase the campuses it kept in receivership have since fallen through. The latter group includes a handful of Art Institutes, Argosy University and two South University campuses.