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NSLDN & American Oversight Demand Documents Regarding Oversight of Dream Center Schools

The National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) and American Oversight filed a lawsuit in federal court today, demanding that the U.S. Department of Education produce documents related to the Trump administration’s oversight of financially troubled colleges owned by the Dream Center.

In November and December 2018, NSLDN submitted FOIA requests seeking a variety of Dream Center-related documents. These include the Program Participation Agreements of four Art Institute schools owned by the Dream Center, Letters of Credit held by the Department for all Dream Center schools, and communications between the Department and the company about the accreditation status of certain schools. To date, the Department has failed to produce any documents.

The complaint filed today is available here.

Background

In 2017, the Dream Center Foundation and Dream Center Educational Holdings (DCEH) announced their purchase of several chains of schools, including the Art Institutes and Argosy University, from the for-profit Education Management Corporation (EDMC) for $60 million. In January 2019, DCEH, Argosy and the Art Institutes were placed in federal receivership, and Argosy closed in March, displacing 9,000 students. Additionally, $16 million in federal student aid living stipends are unaccounted for.

NSLDN is representing a group of students who were harmed when the Dream Center failed to inform them that the Illinois Institute of Art lost its accreditation. Separately, NSLDN is representing other Dream Center students harmed by the alleged diversion of living stipends.