‘All my hard work’: Students left in limbo after Art Institute of Houston suddenly closes

HOUSTON – The Art Institute of Houston is set to close its doors this week along with several schools in the nation. Students are putting their dreams on hold, trying to figure out what’s next.

“There are so many emotions for sure. Literally, we got the email about it closing in the middle of class,” Ruth Rodriguez said.

Students are still trying to process the sudden closure. We saw students and professors leaving this building with boxes. Now they are trying to figure out what will happen next.

RELATED: Art Institutes system of schools, including Houston location, to permanently close

Valeria Handle had a feeling the school would shut down.

“Because schools were getting fewer and fewer students and we were losing professors left and right so I think it was bound to happen I just didn’t think it would happen now,” she said.

Handle was sad to hear the news. She was a junior majoring in Interior Design.

“All the hard work I put in, all my hard work, all my assignments, homework, quizzes and exams everything I have to restart,” she said.

The school was set to start the next quarter on October 2nd. Chad Garrett is now without a job and left the campus with some of his stuff in boxes.

“No institution should ever treat their students like this, so it makes sense that this is a for-profit college corporation. If it wasn’t they would have treated us differently,” Garrett said.

The sudden closure has left many students in limbo.

“I am looking at other schools at the moment. I am looking at Houston Community College and The University of Houston. My biggest worry is them not accepting my credits and me having to start all over from the beginning again to restart four years and I really don’t want to do that,” Handle said.

Officials with Art Institutes say they’re working to make sure students can take what they learned here and apply it elsewhere, but Garrett says he is moving on.

“Probably going straight into the work field I’ve had enough…are you giving up on your dreams?’ No, I’m going to put them in the fast lane and say I don’t actually need college I’ve got all that I need,” he said.

The Art Institutes system of schools announced their locations, including the location in Houston, will be permanently closing as of Sept. 30.

Rodriguez is looking at other schools and has questions about the closure.

“My main concern is the money because I’m not sure how if we didn’t have a loan and if we were paying monthly like how is that going to work,” she said.

Several students also told KPRC 2 they received their last paycheck on September 22nd.

“The Art Institutes are working with numerous partners to facilitate student transfers. Transfer means you may be able to use the academic credits you have earned at The Art Institute toward the completion of a similar or different program of study at another school. If you are interested in completing your education and earning your degree, please visit for a list of partner institutions willing and able to assist students,” the institute said in a statement.

For more information on the closure, click here.

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