The company behind Usit and the English Studio language schools in Dublin and London has applied to have a provisional liquidator appointed to the businesses.
Usit is a brand long associated with students here, many of whom got their first taste of the United States as teenagers through J1 work visas secured via its outlets.
Elaine Russell, chief executive of Usit, said she and her team were "truly devastated" at the impact the closure will have on customers.
Usit employs 76 people between its head office in Dublin and regional offices in Cork, Galway and Limerick.
Usit and the language schools are owned by the Kinlay Group, which said staff had been informed yesterday of the "difficult decision" to have liquidators appointed.
The Kinlay Group is owned by a group of businessmen including Neil O'Leary, David Andrews and Michael Tunney. They bought the business out of examinership in 2002 - the year after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Usit had previously been controlled by the late Gordon Colleary, who had built the business into the world's second largest student travel group.
He was also the chairman of the 'Sunday Tribune' newspaper at one stage, and was a co-founder of 'Magill' magazine.
Kinlay said Kieran Wallace and Andrew O'Leary were being appointed liquidators of Usit and the English Studio language schools, and it was hoped they would secure the "best outcome" for creditors.
The company said as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, "and having explored all other possible alternatives", it was left with no option but to appoint the liquidators to the two businesses.