ITT Educational Services announced September 6 it is shutting down immediately, accusing the federal government of unfairly stripping it of eligibility for student aid.
The company, which was established nearly 50 years ago, operates ITT Technical Institutes. It has around 40,000 students taking classes on campuses and online throughout the United States.
The school said it will now focus on helping students get their class records and figure out their next steps.
Why did this happen?
The Department of Education told the company on August 25 that it couldn't enroll new students who use federal financial aid. The school accused federal officials of forcing the closure and denying it due process.
The company has been the subject of state and federal probes for various reasons, including its recruitment tactics, lending practices and job placement figures.
In order to have access to federal student loans, schools need to be accredited by a government-recognized accrediting agency. ITT Educational Services was found to be out of compliance with its accreditor's standards twice this year, according to the Department of Education.
For-profit schools tend to rely heavily on federal student aid.
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools recently asked the company for proof of why its accreditation should not be withdrawn or suspended.
When a school closes its doors, it can leave its students stuck without a degree and massive student loans.
WHNT News 19's David Kumbroch had a live discussion on Facebook about the closure, giving the community an opportunity to ask questions, and have them answered on the spot:
What should students expect next?
WHNT News 19 reached out to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, who said students can expect direct communication from ITT Tech and the U.S. Department of Education. Guidance will come from the federal level, not the state.
Will I be able to finish my program?
Most students will not be able to finish their current program at ITT, although students who transfer to a new institution may be able to finish their current programs at the new institution. Each institution will have its own requirements that are used to determine if any of your credits earned at ITT will transfer. If you do transfer into a comparable program offered by another institution, that institution will evaluate your ITT course work and will decide whether all of your completed credits will be accepted at the new institution and what remaining credits you will need to complete.
How do I obtain a copy of my official transcript?
The institution is required to make accommodations for access of your academic records indefinitely. They must communicate information about academic transcripts once the location has been determined.
In the future, after the Student Portal is no longer accessible, how do I obtain a copy of my records?
After your campus has closed and the Student Portal is no longer accessible, you will be able to obtain your records and other key contact information at http://www.itt-tech.edu. This site will house links to request your transcript, education verification, and other information.
If you try this and are still having problems, contact your state postsecondary education agency.
Will my credits transfer to another institution?
As always, the decision to accept transfer credits is up to the receiving institution. You may view a list of other schools that have entered into articulation agreements with the ITT Technical Institutes at http://www.itt-tech.edu/articulation. Additionally, we have compiled a list of schools in your area that offer similar programs of study, as well as some institutions offering similar programs online, which you may want to contact. See the following question for a list of schools.
Are there any schools in my area with similar programs of study?
Click here to download a list of schools in your area with programs of study similar to those offered by your school, as well as some institutions offering similar programs online.
When is the last day my campus will be open?
While your campus will be closing immediately at the end of the June quarter, we will continue to provide resources to assist you in obtaining your transcript and other records. Please check the Student Portal by clicking this link for updated information from us about the issues covered in this notice and other important matters. In the near term, you may also email StudentQuestions@itt-tech.edu with questions.
What exactly does it mean to have my federal student loans discharged?
By applying, accepting and receiving a closed school loan discharge, you have no further obligation to repay the loan, and you will receive reimbursement of payments made voluntarily or through forced collection, and the discharge will be reported to credit bureaus so as to delete any adverse credit history associated with the loan.
— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA) September 7, 2016
Can I get the loans I've already paid back?
This is officially called is a 'closed school loan discharge.' And yes, you may be eligible for a 100 percent discharge of your Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, or Federal Perkins Loans under either of these circumstances:
- Your school closes while you're enrolled, and you do not complete your program because of the closure. If you were on an approved leave of absence, you are considered to have been enrolled at the school.
- Your school closes within 120 days after you withdraw.
You are not eligible for discharge of your loans if your school closes and any of the following is true:
- You withdraw more than 120 days before the school closes.
- You are completing a comparable educational program at another school
- through a teach-out agreement with the school,
- by transferring academic credits or hours earned at the closed school to another school,
- or by any other comparable means.
- You have completed all the course work for the program, even if you have not received a diploma or certificate.
*Please note that you will not be eligible to receive a closed school loan discharge if you transfer your credits to a similar program at another institution and you complete or are in the process of completing that program. However, if you believe you have a claim, such as fraud, against your school under state law, you may still pursue debt relief based on borrower defense to repayment, as described below, even if you transfer your credits to another school.
Can I get any of my G.I. Bill funding back?
Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs posted an article, "Critical Information for Student Attending All ITT Technical Institute Campuses". It says quote, "Even if your enrollment for the upcoming term was already submitted to VA for classes at ITT beginning after the end of the summer quarter, VA cannot pay for it.”
It also halts GI Bill benefits; money that many veterans like Tim Ladner, depend on for income. “Through the GI bill, that’s also part of my monthly income as well so that’s part of my monthly income that’s gone. It makes me a little hot. That’s part of what I factor in living every month,” says Ladner.
The only way veterans can receive some of their money back is through what's called a loan discharge. That's only awarded if none of the credits you've earned can be honored at another school.
For Tim, he's frustrated that it's innocent men and women like him, that have the most to lose. “Just to have it all shut down because of whatever malice was going on inside I-T-T somewhere else at another level, from a higher echelon, and here we are getting notified last second," says Ladner.
- Message from the Secretary of Education to ITT Students
- Important Information about Federal Student Aid
- Articulation Agreements - See which schools will accept your transfer credits
Here is an official FAQ list about ITT Tech from the U.S. Department of Education.