ITT Tech Schools Close Leaving 35,000 Students In Debt And Without Degrees

Welp, it finally happened.

Another for-profit college has gone bust, leaving tens of thousands of students in the lurch.

ITT Educational Services announced on Tuesday that it is shutting down its more than 100 ITT Technical Institute campuses immediately, accusing the federal government of unfairly stripping it of eligibility for student aid.

It’s an abrupt move that will impact 35,000 students who are currently taking classes on campuses and online throughout the United States. Many of them are now left without a degree and saddled with student debt.

ITT said it also eliminated the jobs of the “overwhelming majority” of more than 8,000 employees on Tuesday.

Last week, the Department of Education barred the school from allowing any new students to use federal loans to pay for ITT — and the school promptly stopped new enrollment.

This action did not affect Daniel Webster College, a school in New Hampshire owned by ITT. That campus remains open to its 700 students, but it will be “difficult” for the school to keep operating without the parent company’s support, the president said in an email to students Tuesday.

ITT accused federal officials of forcing the closure and denying it due process.

But the company has been the subject of state and federal probes for years over 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.

Enrollment in for-profit schools increased in the years following the recession when job growth was weak and people were looking to hone their skills or switch to more in-demand careers.

For-profit schools tend to enroll students who rely heavily on federal student aid in the form of grants, loans and military benefits. Without that aid, many students wouldn’t be able to go.

Truthfully, I am surprised they were able to keep the scam school going for as long as they did. I don’t know one real person that ever attended ITT Tech. Do you?

Read the rest of this artcile:  ITT Tech Schools Close; Thousands of Students Left in the Lurch — KTLA

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ITT Tech Lawsuit Claims School Misled Students 

According to Massachusetts Attorney General:

For-profit educational giant ITT Technical Institute inflated its job-placement rates by counting “any job (graduates got) that somehow involved the use of a computer” and misled prospective students about the quality of its programs as part of its high-pressure recruitment tactics.

The state Attorney General’s Office filed suit against ITT Educational Services Inc., which runs ITT Tech schools, in Norfolk Superior Court. From at least 2010 to May 2013, the for-profit school aggressively enrolled students based on misleading information, according to the lawsuit.

ITT Tech has two schools in Massachusetts.

State Attorney General Maura Healey:

“These students were exploited and pressured to enroll with the promise of great careers and high salaries, but were instead left unable to repay their loans and support their families.” 

According to the suit, ITT Tech admissions staff told potential students it had an 80 to 100 percent job placement rate when the actual rate was around 50 percent or less. To inflate their numbers, ITT Tech allegedly counted jobs that fell outside students’ field of study, including jobs selling computers at big box stores and a job providing customer service for an airline.

Further, ITT Tech placed heavy pressure on its representatives to bring new students to the schools. The Attorney General’s Office said recruiters were expected to call as many as 100 people per day “and were publicly shamed or fired if they failed to meet their quotas.”

The technical college’s also touted its Computer Network Systems program and hands-on training but provided students with outdated technology and absent teachers, the lawsuit alleged.

In a news release Monday, ITT Educational Services characterized the suit as a continuation of a “wide-ranging fishing expedition” on the part of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

“Some of the claims rest on a biased and selective portrayal of the facts,” the company said, adding that the Attorney General’s Office failed to explain how it calculated its estimates for job placement rates and calling such calculations “unreliable.”

The company said it has been under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office for three years and has been cooperating with investigators. It further characterized the lawsuit as proof of “Massachusetts’ woeful record of hostility toward career colleges that train non-traditional and underserved students.”

The suit is the latest in a long string of investigations into ITT Tech’s practices.

Fifteen former students sued the technical college in 1998, claiming they had been duped. The school settled its claims later that year.

In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued ITT Educational Services Inc. for predatory student lending, saying the school pressured students into predatory loans, coerced them to continue taking classes by making their credits nontransferable to nonprofit institutions and mislead students on future job prospects. That same year, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office also filed suit.

In 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged ITT Education Services Inc., its chief executive officer Kevin Modany and its chief financial officer Daniel Fitzpatrick with fraud.

Attorneys general in at least 17 states and the District of Columbia have also opened probes into ITT Tech’s practices.

Over 40,000 students attend ITT Technical Institutes at more than 130 campuses in 38 states, according to to the company.

Source: AJC Atlanta

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