The Art Institute of Portland will soon shut its doors for good, leaving students scrambling for ways to continue their education.

Jeremy Pendergraft, a junior at Ai Portland, said he found out about the closure through an email sent to students and staff.

“I started messaging people. You know text messages to classmates. 'Did you know about this? What are we going to do?' Everybody is up in arms.”

Portland’s is one of at least 18 Art Institutes closing nationwide. All are owned by the non-profit Dream Center Education Holdings.

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Pendergraft said students are now facing difficult choices. They can withdraw and accept student loan forgiveness offered by DCEH.

If they have enough credits they can graduate before the deadline.

“I have 124 credits out of 180. There is no way I could do it now,” Pendergraft said.

Students can also choose to have their credits transferred to another Portland-area college but there is no guarantee all of their credits will be transferable.

“My credits, my 124 credits I have, maybe 50 of them would transfer.”

Lastly, they can choose to move to a nearby Ai; the closest campus is in Seattle.

According to Pendergraft many of them are struggling to make ends meet and an out-of-state move is out of the question, even with the discounted tuition rate DCEH is offering them.

Pendergaft is still weighing his options but told FOX 12 he’s leaning toward withdrawing and taking the loan forgiveness DCEH is offering students.

All the students FOX 12 spoke with said Ai staff is helping with the transition.

According to senior, Rachelle Eidy, “The professors have been super open and are trying to help us figure out adjusting classes and fitting everything in at once.”

And, Eidy said, these students are not ready to give up on their dreams.

“Just know that there are people here that are willing to help you and it’s going to be okay. We’re going to figure it out.”

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