The Art Institute of California in North Hollywood, a nationwide nonprofit trade school that has sent many alumni to below-the-line jobs in Hollywood, closed on Friday.
Students were informed by email, many of them blindsided as they lined up to get transcripts at the campus building. The school is part of Argosy University, which filed an emergency notice with the US Department of Education on Wednesday to close 22 campuses across the nation.
The North Hollywood school offered programs in visual design, animation and film, among other courses.
The closures come as the parent company, Dream Center Education Holdings, is accused by the DOE of mishandling about $13 million in federal financial aid money. Argosy allegedly used the money to cover payroll costs and other expenses and was cut-off from financial aid, which effectively forced the schools to close.
The Dream Center is a Christian nonprofit that was approved to buy the previously for-profit chain about a year ago. The affected schools have about 26,000 students.
Not all of the campuses may go down. Some of the Art Institutes have drawn private equity investors, and some are under the control of court-appointed receivers.