DCEH Schools - Argosy University and the Art Institutes

Information Pertaining to the Closure of DCEH Schools

On March 6, the Receiver for a network of schools owned by Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH) filed a motion with the court requesting the emergency closure of 22 online and physical campuses.

Effective March 8, 2019, Argosy University (Argosy) and the Art Institutes (Ai) announced that they would be ceasing online operations and closing several campuses across the country. Wisconsin students who were enrolled in online coursework at either school or who attended the Argosy campus location in Eagan, MN were impacted.

New information will be posted as it becomes available. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has posted important information and resources for students on its website.

On February 27, 2019, USDOE issued a letter to Argosy, informing the school that its participation in federal student aid programs was being terminated, effective immediately. The decision to terminate Argosy's eligibility to participate in federal financial aid cites Argosy's failure to meet certain standards, including administrative capability, financial responsibility, and the institution's duty to use federal student aid program funds only for their intended purpose. The letter also cites Argosy's failure to pay credit balance refunds owed to its students and their parents as demonstration that Argosy cannot meet the required standards to participate in federal financial aid.

USDOE provided Argosy the opportunity to dispute the findings prior to March 11, 2019, by providing evidence that could change the determination and reinstate the school's eligibility to participate in federal financial aid. Instead of providing such evidence, DCEH decided to close Argosy along with several Ai schools.


Transcripts

The EAP understands that DCEH is currently processing transcript requests for students who attended campuses that have closed. Students should submit the required Transcript Request Form via mail to:

Dream Center Education Holdings
ATTN: Academic Operations Department
1400 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Processing time may take three weeks so students should request their records as soon as they are able. More information about requesting transcripts is available on DCEH Closed School Information page.

Note: The EAP will update this information as it is known.


1098-T Tax Forms

1098-T tax forms used to substantiate tuition paid when filing 2018 taxes were mailed out to all eligible students in January. Students who require an additional form may visit Heartland ECSI or call 1 (866) 428-1098 for more assistance.

More information about higher education tax incentives is also provided by Heartland ECSI.


Spring 2019 Semester Loan Discharge

USDOE has confirmed that student loans disbursed to Argosy and Ai during the Spring semester will be canceled. In addition, Pell Grant eligibility from lifetime maximums has been reset. Students should follow up with their individual loan servicer to confirm this semester's loans have been canceled.

Students with unpaid living expenses checks must file a discharge application through their loan servicer for an unpaid refund (see below).


Information for Students Enrolled at the Time of Closure OR who Withdrew on or after November 8, 2018

Students enrolled at the time of closure or in the 120 days prior (November 8, 2018, or after) may be eligible for a closed school federal loan discharge if:

  • They did not complete their program while at Argosy AND
  • They are not in the process of completing a comparable program at another institution through a teach-out or via transfer of credits from Argosy (USDOE has provided additional guidance on what constitutes a comparable program).

Federal Student Loan Discharge

The information below pertains to the federal student loan discharge process and implications related to continuing one's education at another school. More information about the process and eligibility requirements can be found on USDOE's website.

Students enrolled at the time of closure or in the 120 days prior to it are entitled to a closed school federal loan discharge if they did not complete their program while at Argosy, and if they are not in the process of completing or have completed a comparable program at another institution via transfer of credits from Argosy or Ai.

A loan discharge may be the best option for certain students, particularly for those who recently enrolled or whose intended career path may have changed since enrolling.

Students who transfer to another institution in a similar program will not be eligible to have their student loans discharged. It may be possible to receive a discharge and enroll in a completely different program of study, subject to the approval of one's loan servicer. Students who pursue this option need to complete the new program in order to be eligible for forgiveness of loans taken out while attending Argosy or Ai.

It is important to stress that students are not eligible for a loan discharge if they are completing a comparable educational program at another school:

  • through a teach-out agreement with the school,
  • by transferring academic credits or hours earned at the closed school to another school,
  • or by any other comparable means.

USDOE has provided additional guidance on what constitutes a comparable program.

A student whose loan is discharged and who completes a comparable program at another school through any means by which the student benefits from the training provided by the closed school, may have to pay back the loan. USDOE also advises students that they should not pay for loan forgiveness and should watch out for other types of scams.

To apply for a closed school discharge, a Closed School Loan Discharge Application must be completed and returned to your loan servicer. If you do not know your loan servicer, log in to My Federal Student Aid or call 1-800-4-FED-AID. Questions about the student loan discharge process, continuing one's education at a different institution, or other federal financial aid related issues should be directed to your student loan servicer or the U.S. Department of Education [email or call (800) 433-3243].


Private Student Loans | Out-of-pocket Tuition Payments

Students enrolled at the time of, or within 120 days of the closure, who used private (non-federal) loans to help cover the cost of their tuition, or who made out-of-pocket payments, may be able to receive a refund through the EAP if those loans were used to cover the cost of tuition to attend the closed DCEH schools.

Students who had a private student loan that was used to pay tuition or made out-of-pocket tuition payments will need to substantiate such payments and provide the EAP with relevant paperwork, including a completed IRS Form W-9. Requests for reimbursement must include a receipt of payment, evidence that the funds were used for payment of Argosy or Ai tuition (not for other education-related expenses), and an original completed and signed W-9 form.

Students requesting reimbursement of private student loan payments (used to pay tuition) or out-of-pocket tuition payments should contact the EAP via email at DSPSEAP@wisconsin.gov. They will need to substantiate such payments and provide the EAP with the following:

  • name, address, email address, and phone number;
  • a transcript demonstrating you were enrolled at the time of closure or in the 120 days prior to it;
  • an original, completed and signed IRS Form W-9;
  • receipt of payment from the school demonstrating funds were used for payment of tuition (rather than other education-related expenses);
  • relevant bank statements and/or cancelled checks;
  • a summary layout of all out-of-pocket or private loan payments with a total amount noted; and,
  • a completed "Student Protection Fund Attestation" form (to be provided to you by the EAP).

All information comprising the request for reimbursement must be mailed or dropped off in hard copy form to the address at the bottom of this page. No facsimiles or emails will be accepted.


Information for Students who Completed a Program at DCEH Schools or who Withdrew before November 8, 2018

Students who completed a program or who withdrew more than 120 days prior to the closure of Argosy and Ai are not eligible for discharge of their federal loans. These students may wish to pursue other loan forgiveness options or transfer to a different institution.


Borrower Defense to Repayment

Students who are not eligible for discharge of their federal loans under conventional USDOE processes and procedures may still be eligible for loan discharge under the Borrower Defense to Repayment loan forgiveness program. Students who believe they were defrauded by their school or believe that their school violated state law may submit a claim in order to receive debt relief. Details on the Act and the process for submitting a claim are laid out on the federal government's student aid website.

As the website notes, students making claims need to include details about the conduct of the school that the borrower believes violated state law, including but not limited to, the following:

  • The state and applicable law or cause of action (if available);
  • Specific acts (including failures to act) of alleged misconduct by the school;
  • How the alleged misconduct affected the borrower's decision to attend the school and take out a loan to pay to attend the school;
  • The injury suffered by the borrower as a result of the school's alleged misconduct; and,
  • Any other supporting information that would help the U.S. Department of Education review the borrower's claim.

Some students work with an attorney to file a claim, but this is not a requirement. Students considering filing a claim may wish to call the federal government's borrower defense hotline at (855) 279-6207. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) to access student loan information and to discuss one's situation and whether one may qualify for forgiveness of student debt. Questions about borrower defense may also be emailed to Federal Student Aid (FSA) Operations.


Transferring to a Different Institution

Former Argosy or Ai students interested in transferring credits should contact other institutions to discuss their options. Students enrolled at the time of closure or in the 120 days prior will need to determine if they are interested in pursuing similar or completely different programs of study.

  • Students who pursue a similar program will not be eligible for a loan discharge if they complete the similar program.
  • Students who pursue a completely different program are eligible for a loan discharge provided the loan servicer determines the program is completely different, and the student finishes the program.

Since students are not eligible to have their loans discharged if they transfer to another institution and complete a comparable program in which the student was enrolled at Argosy or Ai, this may not be the best option for some students. Some students may be better served by having their federal loans forgiven and subsequently pursuing a new course of study with a different institution, particularly since credits earned at Argosy may not fully transfer to another institution.


Contact the EAP

Students impacted by the closure of these DCEH schools may have various questions and concerns. The EAP will make every effort to provide updates via this webpage as they become available.

Should you have questions not answered in the information provided, please contact the EAP via email at DSPSEAP@wisconsin.gov.

Given the high volume of inquiries from impacted students, please email all questions to the EAP and provide complete contact information that includes the following:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • Program of study
  • Last date of attendance

The EAP will work to respond to your inquiry as quickly as it is able.