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EDMC to cut 300 jobs, including 70 in Pittsburgh

| Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 2:12 p.m.

Education Management Corp. is slashing 300 jobs across the company, including 70 in Pittsburgh, as the operator of for-profit colleges tries to return to profitability amid declining enrollment.

EDMC spokesman Chris Hardman declined to say which of the 110 campuses are affected but said the cuts will be nationwide and on top of the 1,200 jobs that will be shed during the next few years from the closure of 15 Art Institute schools. Most of the cuts announced Wednesday will be in staff and support functions, but some faculty members will lose their jobs, Hardman said.

In Pittsburgh, workers in Green Tree, the Strip District and the Downtown headquarters will be affected.

“As part of our continuing efforts to offer students a great learning experience while keeping education affordable, we must maintain close alignment between our resources and market demand,” Hardman said.

The layoffs arrive at a turbulent time for EDMC. Enrollment in EDMC's four college brands — the Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College and South University — has declined 29 percent since 2010 to 112,430 and led to three consecutive annual losses.

Meanwhile, EDMC confronts heightened regulatory scrutiny and a pending federal lawsuit over its recruiting practices that could cost billions of dollars in penalties.

Department of Education rules that go into effect next month require for-profit colleges to prepare students better for “gainful employment” or risk losing federal funding for student loans. The rules are designed to address concerns about for-profit colleges saddling students with large debts for careers that did not earn them enough money to repay the loans.

EDMC is attempting to adjust to these pressures under new ownership. This year, its creditors took control of EDMC in exchange for wiping out $1.3 billion in debt.

Other for-profit colleges are struggling, too. Corinthian Colleges filed for bankruptcy last month after closing its remaining 28 career schools.

Chris Fleisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or cfleisher@tribweb.com.

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