Situation worsens at Argosy University after losing federal financial aid eligibility

Argosy University, a for-profit university in Eagan, Minnesota, is in jeopardy of closing and those close to the situation, are monitoring it hour by hour.

Now, the federal government won’t be paying out student loan funds to the university any longer and the state won’t either, come May. It’s not clear how much longer the school will stay open at their Eagan campus or locations around the country.

Three years ago, Sarah Kretzschmar and her boyfriend decided to put their lives on hold, so she could head back to school to be a dental hygienist.

“It was a big choice for us,” said Kretzschmar.

Now, the Argosy University student is on edge. 

“We’re set to graduate in two months and we haven’t met requirements yet, so if the school worst case scenario closes, we’re kind of, what do we do next?” she said.

Kretzschmar hasn’t received financial aid money she was supposed to get in January and she’s not even sure her school will be open for much longer.   

“We’re told classes will continue on Monday and to kind of take it day by day,” she said.

Kretzschmar learned in late January that Argosy University, owned by Dream Center Education Holdings, had gone into receivership, which is when someone steps in to take control of a company’s finances. Since then, the school has been on shaky ground. 

The U.S. Department of Education and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education have been involved. Officials say the situation has not improved and has gotten worse.

“We are treating the school as if it is going to close. It is still open today, but we have to implement that protocol to protect students,” said Commissioner Dennis Olson, Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter this week to Argosy University saying that the school had failed to pay over $16 million in financial aid to students at campuses around the country. It said Argosy’s actions were a “blatant disregard of the need of its students.”

“They believe the federal financial aid that was supposed to be dispersed to students was used for other expenses, inappropriately used by the school for payroll or other related expenses,” said Commissioner Olson. “Those were funds supposed to be issued to the students, but were not.”

Commissioner Olson says they are monitoring things hour by hour.

“Honestly, that’s what keeps me up at night thinking about the students that have recently started their programs, also the students who are close to completing and of course the living expenses – that’s the real life impact,” he said.

Mark Dottore, the court-appointed receiver for Dream Center Education Holdings, released the following statement: 

“We are disappointed at the decision by the Department of Education to deny Argosy University’s request for change of ownership. We are working to determine the best path forward for students at this time.” 

Other for-profit colleges have faced similar fates in Minnesota in recent years. Since September 2016, ITT Tech, Regency Beauty Institue, Globe University/Minnesota School of Business, Le Cordon Bleu, McNally Smith, Sanford Brown College and Art Institute International have ended operations in Minnesota.

The Office of Higher Education says they are working with other local colleges to provide transfer opportunities or teach-outs for current Argosy students, so they can continue their education and finish their degrees. The Office of Higher Education is posting updates on the situation here.