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Hundreds of Argosy University students in the DMV left in limbo after school's sudden closure

WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. logo WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. 3/20/2019 Jordan Fischer
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Hundreds of students at Argosy University’s Northern Virginia campus were left in the lurch by the school’s sudden closure earlier this month – and now other colleges are scrambling to help them complete their programs.

The students are among thousands nationwide affected by Argosy closing the doors of the for-profit college in response to the U.S. Department of Education banning it from participating in federal student aid programs. The federal government says Argosy failed to repay students $13 million-worth student loans that should have gone to them after their tuition was paid for.

Argosy’s schools went into receivership earlier this month after their owner, Los Angeles-based Dream Center Education Holdings, was unable to find a buyer.

RELATED: Argosy University on verge of closing, leaving thousands of students scrambling

Dream Center acquired the Argosy network of schools, along with the Art Institutes and South University – all for-profit colleges – from Education Management Corporation in 2017 after approval of the deal by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The Art Institutes announced the sudden closure of 18 campuses around the country last year due to financial troubles and plans to close more campuses in 2019.

The Dream Center attempted to convert Argosy and its other schools into nonprofits, but the move was blocked by the federal government. An archived copy of the website for Argosy’s Northern Virginia campus shows the school was nevertheless advertising itself as a nonprofit up until it closed.

The Northern Virginia campus, which is located in Rosslyn, most recently reported an enrollment of 477 students, of which 88 percent were pursuing graduate degrees. Sixty-three percent of graduate students, and 82 percent of undergraduate students, attended the university part-time. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a year’s tuition at Argosy University Northern Virginia would run a full-time, off-campus undergraduate student $27,755 a year.

The Department of Education lists the three-year student loan default rate for the most recent cohort of Argosy University Northern Virginia students at 15.5 percent – 43.5 percent higher than the national average.

The university’s largest graduate degree programs were in health professions and psychology, with 87 combined students, or a little less than 20 percent of the total student body, graduating from those programs in the 2017-2018 school year. The largest single group was students pursuing a doctorate degree in clinical psychology. 

The school's closure is particularly disastrous for them because the American Psychological Association requires students to complete an accredited pre-doctoral internship before they can graduate or be licensed. Psychology doctoral programs typically have directors of clinical training on staff to help with coordination and referrals for internships, and to deal with any issues that may arise while they are ongoing.

Since Argosy announced it would close, the federal government has said it will cancel any federal debt Argosy students used to pay for the 2019 spring semester. Additionally, a number of other schools have announced programs to help Argosy students finish their degree programs, among them:

  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Chicago, Dallas, D.C., New Orleans, Los Angeles)
  • Bethel University (Tennessee)
  • Walden University (Online only)
  • American InterContinental University (Atlanta, Houston)
  • Beulah Heights University (Atlanta)

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology announced Wednesday that it had reached a teach-out agreement for students in Argosy’s Northern Virginia, Orange County and Chicago doctor of psychology programs.

The American Psychology Association has also said it will do “everything it can as an accreditor” to help Argosy psychology doctoral students into other APA-accredited programs, including a March 1 letter sent to Sec. Devos urging her to establish a real-time response center to address concerns from affected Argosy students.

The federal government has created an information portal to assist Argosy University students. It can be found online here. In addition, those with questions about federal student aid can reach the appropriate office by phone at 1-844-651-0077.


Jordan Fischer is a digital investigative reporter for WUSA9. Follow him on Twitter at @JordanOnRecord or email him at


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