As recently reported in an article by WTHR, the ITT Technical Institute just announced that it will be closing its doors. Students of the institute received an email advising them that the fall term that was scheduled to start on September 12, 2016 is now officially cancelled.
According the school’s email, the Department of Education rejected the proposals by the school to continue its operations. The Department of Education had just decided to end all financial aid eligibility for the school, which accounted for about $580 million of the for-profit school’s $850 million in total revenue last year. As a condition of ITT being able to keep its doors open, the Department of Education required that they post up cash reserves or a letter of credit of at least $250 million. The crack down from the federal government on ITT is based on the school’s apparent failure to meet various accreditation requirements from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
The closure of ITT means that about 8,000 people will lose their jobs, and about 2,000 Indiana residents will need to find an alternative to finish earning their degrees. There were six ITT campuses across Indiana and another 130 throughout the U.S. There are about 40,000 students in total that are affected by the closure of ITT. They will now be scrambling to find alternatives to their financial aid funding along with another program through which to complete their degree requirements. Some students were just weeks away from graduation.
TTech students in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and other Indiana locations received the shock of a lifetime on September 6 when they learned that campuses were permanently closed. The move came without warning to students, many of who learned the news only when they arrived for class that day.
Cori Hicks, of Fort Wayne, learned about the closing through an email she received that morning.
“I am shocked,” she told WANE News. “I only had 12 weeks left in my program. I’m $20,000 in debt with student loans. All of the schools I talked to today said that none of my credits would transfer. What are we supposed to do with that?”
Niel Smith told the Indianapolis Star a similar tale.
“I had less than a year left to finish my degree,” Smith said. “Now I’m told I’m $30,000 in debt for a loan that bought me a worthless piece of paper and college credits that won’t transfer? Unbelievable. It’s frustrating.”
Hicks and Smith are among the tens of thousands of ITT students cursing the learning institute this week. ITT closed all of its campuses nationwide, a move that parent-company ITT Educational Services credited to recent changes compliance requirements within the Department of Education.
“Our school’s accrediting agency, he Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS, showed cause that ITT Tech was not in full compliance with their accreditation standards. The USDE, as a result, stipulated that ITT Tech must place a $250 million cash deposit, froze our ability to receive any form of federal student aid, and from enrolling new students who needed federal student aid to attend.
“Our accreditation with the ACICS remains in place, but these requirements have made it impossible to remain in operation.”
Students who contacted ITT Tech about obtaining their transcripts were instructed to visit a website. The website was reported as not fully operational, leaving students and staff unable to obtain vital information needed for them to move on with their lives.
Students in Indiana and across the nation have been left in debt and dismay after ITT Technical Institute closed all of its locations nationwide on September 6. ITT Educational Services, the school’s parent company, places blame with recent sanctions placed on the company by the U.S. Department of Education.
ITT Educational Services sent an email to all enrolled students that informed students why the school was closing its doors.
“We are not in full compliance with our accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Our current accreditation remains in place, but the Department of Education has requested a $250 million cash deposit or a letter of credit. They have also discontinued our ability to receive federal student loan funds and federal Pell grants.”
The move comes as a complete shock to Fort Wayne resident Cori Hicks, whose future is now uncertain.
“I was in the last term of required classes to repeat my nursing degree,” Hicks said. “Now I’m left with debt and no degree. I talked to different colleges, and they all said my credits would not transfer. I don’t know what I am going to do.”
Hicks’s story almost mirrors that of Niel Smith of Indianapolis.
“I had less than a year to go to complete my degree in IT,” Smith said. “I have $30,000 in student debt with absolutely nothing to show for it. Most schools won’t transfer credits from ITT.”
ITT is the latest of for-profit schools to shutter its doors in recent years. Corinthian closed the last of its Everest College and Herald College locations in mid-2015.