Accreditation expert gives tips for what to look for in degree programs

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The closing of ITT Tech has affected thousands of students. Many of them were in the middle, or just beginning their coursework. But now, they're stuck with unfinished degrees or certifications that don't always transfer to the work force.

WHNT News 19 took action and spoke with an accreditation expert to find out what students should be looking for when they start their research on schools like ITT Tech.

Accreditation expert George Gollin said students considering for-profit schools should know what their tuition gets them, so they don't waste time or money.

"You'd like a student to be very clear on what they'd like to do with the degree or the credential a couple years down the line," said Gollin.

And students need to be sure a potential employer understands the level of training behind their education.

"There's value in that you can show you've been trained to do something, but you want to make sure the program, if you're a prospective student, the program is going to be good enough to be recognized by employers who understand the nature of it," he said.

Gollin said community college is a great option that ensures you are able to use your schooling.

"They offer a mix of programs to train people to do various sorts of career directions, and also to ready them to go on to more advanced degrees," he said.

But if you'd rather look for other options, Gollin said there's an easy way to find legitimate programs.

"The website chea.org, Council for Higher Education Accreditation that's got a list of all the schools that have accreditation, and all the lists of recognized accreditors," he explains.

He urges potential students not to take a promise by the school at face value. Be cautious about what they're offering, and do your homework.

Many accredited area community colleges have stepped up and opened their doors to the displaced ITT Tech students. Athens State University, Drake State, and Calhoun Community college have all released statements these last couple of days saying they will do their best to accommodate students who want to transfer to their schools.