As Philly's Art Institute crashes and burns, DCAD encourages displaced students to come to Wilmington - Delaware


Jul. 20, 2018 12:33 pm

As Philly’s Art Institute crashes and burns, DCAD encourages displaced students to come to Wilmington

There could be a silver lining for Delaware in the Art Institute's sudden demise.
DCAD’s downtown Wilmington campus.

DCAD's downtown Wilmington campus.

(Courtesy photo)

Imagine finding out that the college you’re attending isn’t going to open in the fall. After the anxiety of the admissions process, starting classes, making friends — *poof*, the school is no more.

That’s the situation more than 1,000 students at the Art Institute of Philadelphia are facing right now, as it was recently announced that the Philly campus, a fixture since the early 1980s, was one of 18 schools that parent company Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH) would be shutting down.

DCEH purchased the schools from the for-profit Education Management Corp. last year. It filed for bankruptcy in June.

In an statement to the Philadelphia Tribune, a DCEH spokesperson cites the increase in online education as a factor in the closings, but the schools have been struggling with reputation issues and declining enrollment for years, between controversies over accreditations and an increase in scrutiny on for-profit colleges.

Regardless, thousands of students nationwide are displaced by the closings. DCEH is offering students the option to transfer to one of the remaining (for now) Art Institute campuses with a 50 percent tuition discount. Seems like a pretty good deal, if you don’t mind relocating to another school with the same stability issues.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the displaced Art Institute of Philadelphia students are being accepted into other programs in the region — and in many cases, it’s an upgrade to a school without the baggage of the Art Institute.

Delaware College of Art & Design (DCAD) is one of the schools encouraging AI Philly students to apply.

“Our admissions deadline for Fall 2018 is Aug. 1, and students who would have been entering their first or second year at the Art Institute of Philadelphia are welcome to contact us to see how they could begin or continue their higher education without interruption at DCAD,” said Dean Katy Ro. “As an accredited, nonprofit institution, DCAD is eager to assist students whose career goals require completion of a high-quality professional art and design program.”


A couple of caveats for potential AI Philly transfers: DCAD is a two-year school, so students entering a 3rd or 4th year won’t be able to continue that track at DCAD. But for students who had planned a four-year degree, DCAD has a great partnership program with the Pratt Institute in New York City for completing a bachelor’s degree.

DCAD’s fine-arts curriculum doesn’t include all of the majors offered at AI Philly, including culinary, fashion, film and game tech, but it’s a potential perfect fit for animation and graphic design majors.

Anyone interested in enrollment options at DCAD should contact the admissions office by visiting the campus at 600 N. Market St., in Wilmington, Del.; calling (302) 622-8000; or emailing

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