Press Release

Attorney General Ellison again requests loan discharge for students of Argosy University and Art Institutes International

Co-leads bipartisan coalition of 26 AGs in asking Education Secretary to extend federal student loan discharge to all former students of closed Dream Center schools, including Argosy University and Art institutes International

February 4, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Ellison and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today co-led a bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general from around the country in renewing their request that U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos use her authority to discharge the federal student loans of all students who were enrolled in now-closed schools operated by Dream Center Education Holdings, LLC. Dream Center operated Minnesota’s Argosy University campus in Eagan, which abruptly closed on March 8, 2019, along with online programming through Art Institutes International.

This is the attorneys’ general second request to Secretary DeVos for loan discharge for these students.

“Students of Argosy University and Art Institutes International who were just trying to afford their lives and get ahead were left holding the bag when Dream Center folded. They were robbed of an education because Dream Center misbehaved and mismanaged their schools, then they were left holding the bag for student loans that they took out in good faith,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Secretary DeVos personally has the power to discharge those students’ federal student loans. I led this bipartisan coalition to renew our request to her to do so, so that these Minnesotans won’t be saddled with unfair debt and can keep working to afford their lives.”

Dream Center, a California-based nonprofit, went into receivership in January 2019. Under the federal “closed school discharge” regulation, former students may be eligible for a 100 percent discharge of their federal student loans if they were unable to complete their program because their school closed. Closed school discharge is only allowed for students who were enrolled at the time the school closed; were on an approved leave of absence when the school closed; or withdrew within 120 days of the school’s closure, unless the Secretary of Education approves a longer period.

In a letter to Secretary DeVos on October 17, 2019, Attorney General Ellison and Attorney General Rosenblum co-led a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in asking the Secretary  to exercise her legal authority to expand the group of students eligible for “closed school discharge” in order to account for Dream Center’s extraordinary misconduct and mismanagement. In November 2019, Secretary DeVos announced that she would extend the closed school discharge only for a very small number of former Dream Center students who were not previously eligible. That extension provided no additional debt relief for students who attended Argosy’s Twin Cities campus.

In today’s letter, Attorney General Ellison and the bipartisan coalition urge the Secretary to go further and provide debt relief to all Dream Center students unfairly strapped with burdensome debt for which they have little to show. The coalition again outlined Dream Center’s misconduct and mismanagement that prevented students from obtaining degrees and unfairly left them to repay federal student loan debt that they contracted to attend the failed schools.

Attorney General Ellison and Attorney General Rosenblum were joined in today’s letter by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available on Attorney General Ellison’s website.