Educational accreditation of The Art Institutes and their programs varies among campuses and programs. One of its accreditors, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), has been criticized by a dozen states' Attorneys General for its lax standards.
In June 2016, the US Department of Education voted to end ACICS power to accredit. ACICS was stripped of its power to accredit in September. In December, nine additional Art Institutes were placed on probation by their accreditor, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Thousands of former students of the Art Institutes claim they have been deceived and misled by the schools and their recruiters and have filed claims with the US Department of Education. Art Institute students are able to file defense to repayment claims with the US Department of Education.
In 2017, Education Management Corporation reported that it had sold the existing Art Institutes to The Dream Center Foundation, a Los Angeles-based Pentecostal organization. The sale was complete in October 2017.