A Message from the Secretary of Education to ITT Students

Dear ITT student,

Today, ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) announced that it is closing all of its ITT Technical Institute campuses. For most of the world, that news will be covered as a business story or a political one, but I know that for you it is deeply personal. You are probably wondering what this means for your future; how it is going to affect your finances and your ability to continue your education.

In recent years, ITT has increasingly been the subject of numerous state and federal investigations. In August, ITT’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) determined that ITT “is not in compliance, and is unlikely to become in compliance with [ACICS] Accreditation Criteria.” This came amid increasingly heightened financial oversight measures put in place by the Department over the past two years due to significant concerns about ITT’s administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial viability, and ability to serve students.

The school’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded federal student aid at risk. Last week, the Department of Education took oversight actions to prevent ITT from continuing to add to that risk. When we made that decision, we did not take it lightly. One possible outcome of oversight actions is that a school may choose to close rather than take corrective actions, which can cause disruption and disappointment for current students. Ultimately, we made a difficult choice to pursue additional oversight in order to protect you, other students, and taxpayers from potentially worse educational and financial damage in the future if ITT was allowed to continue operating without increased oversight and assurances to better serve students.

We are committed to helping you as you consider next steps. Most immediately, you have two basic options to choose between:

  1. If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. Your federal loan debt will be wiped away and you will have the option of restarting your education somewhere new. We will post and update information about how to receive a discharge at our ITT announcements page.
  2. If you wish to continue and complete your program at a different school – especially if you are close to graduating – you may be able to transfer your credits. It is important to note that transferring your credits may limit your ability to have your federal loans discharged. Closed school discharge may be an option if you enroll in a different program that does not accept your ITT credits.

Both of these options have pros and cons, depending on your unique circumstances, so it is important that you consider your specific situation carefully. You can find some information to start with at our ITT announcements page. The Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid is ready to support you with resources and information, including through this website, and will be updating you with more information in the coming days and weeks.

Whatever you choose to do, do not give up on your education. Higher education remains the clearest path to economic opportunity and security. Restarting or continuing your education at a high-quality, reputable institution may feel like a setback today, but odds are it will pay off in the long run. There are people and tools – like our College Scorecard – out there to help you pick a program that gives you a real shot at success.

I am proud of your hard work and dedication, and we will do all we can to continue to provide information to you on your options.


John B. King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education

Setting the Foundation for Good Attendance

As a Pre-K teacher, I have the unique opportunity to be one of the first educators to set the foundation for good attendance with parents and students. Since I am required to have an interview with each family and student before the school year begins, I take advantage of the interview to explain the attendance rules and expectations. I explain to parents that attendance is the basis of education for all students and that it is state law that they attend class. My campus, J.J. Pickle, hosts many recent immigrant families who often aren’t familiar with school procedures and laws pertaining to education. Reviewing policies with parents is a way to avoid confusion and unnecessary absences.

Attendance is important at every age! (Photo courtesy of the author)

Attendance is important at every age! (Photo courtesy of the author)

It can be challenging when parents believe that early childhood education is more like a daycare setting rather than an academic one, so they don’t see the problem with their children missing a few days. But I am proud to say that my classroom is academically rigorous — for four year olds. I have had students enter my class not knowing any letters, but they often leave reading by the end of year with significant gains in learning English.

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18 Things We Wish We Knew When We Were Starting College

Inside Tips for College Freshmen

Freshmen orientation. You can almost smell the nerves in the room, but you’re not worried. Dorm room, check. Class schedule, check. Textbooks, check. Watching your siblings and friends go through their college years has prepared you for the years ahead. Surely there were bumps and bruises, but there’s bound to be people on campus to help you avoid making life changing mistakes and make the most of your time at the school. Right?

Here at the Department of Education, we asked some of our interns for any advice they would extend to incoming freshmen to make their college years un-regrettable…

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We Need to Talk About it: Supportive Environments are a Necessity for Quality Schooling

Students at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Students at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Students excel when they feel both welcomed and supported. At Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (CNCA), we believe that quality schooling is dependent upon quality relationships with students and families. This philosophy creates a space to better serve our community in a socially just way.

That’s why CNCA created and sustained an educational model that uses the per-pupil funding that we receive from the state to support strategic resources like full-time mental health practitioners and professional development for teachers and administrators on trauma-sensitive instruction. We also conduct home visits and teach ethnic studies as part of the curriculum to both affirm our relationships with students and to assist them in navigating life circumstances. We’ve found that these types of school climate investments help our students redirect energy to learning and it shows in their academic performance.

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Join Education on the ‘Real-World Learning’ 2016 Green Strides Tour!

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments; nutrition and outdoor physical activity; and environmental and sustainability education.

To bring additional attention to honorees’ practices, ED-GRS has conducted an annual Green Strides tour, allowing schools, school districts, and postsecondary institutions to share their work with community leaders and policymakers and celebrate their achievements. The following is the tentative tour schedule. Updates will be shared through our newsletter.

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2 Major FAFSA® Changes You Need to Be Aware Of

FAFSA Changes shocked girl

There are two exciting changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process this year.

1. The 2017–18 FAFSA will be available earlier.

You can file your 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.

2. You’ll use earlier income and tax information.

Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, you’ll be required to report income and tax info from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, you—and your parent(s), as appropriate—will report your 2015 income and tax info, rather than your 2016 income and tax info.

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Transformation Through Education: The Importance of Second Chance Pell

In order for the nation to increase college access and success for all students, we know that education must occur in a variety of environments, Sing Sing prison included. Our group of college leaders, non-profit, government and corrections officials gathered for a strategic partners meeting to discuss expanding support for prison education programs and to see the work up close.

I started the day struck by stark contrasts — the daunting high walls and barbwire fencing overlooking the calm, picturesque waters of the Hudson River — the setting for an impassioned conversation about the value of education with a group of incarcerated college students. The students we met are enrolled in the Hudson Link educational program but as visitors that day, we were the ones going to school.

Hudson Link alumnus and Academic Coordinator Todd Young, Talisha Duncan, daughter of Hudson Link alumnus Douglas Duncan, and Kim Hunter Reed. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Hudson Link alumnus and Academic Coordinator Todd Young, Talisha Duncan, daughter of Hudson Link alumnus Douglas Duncan, and Kim Hunter Reed. (Photo courtesy of the author)

We heard tough facts from a black male who noted, “When you come up with nothing, you wind up in jail or dead. We wound up in jail.” We also saw demonstrations of transformation through education.

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10 Common Tweets @FAFSA Gets on Twitter

Student on laptop.

We’ve been answering a lot of your back-to-school comments and questions on Twitter! Here are some of the most popular tweets we get, with our answers:

Tweet #1:

We get this question so many times a day! Your school will disburse (pay out) your financial aid, not the federal government. Since each school has a different timeline for awarding aid, you’ll have to call your school’s financial aid office to find out the specific date.

Tweet #2:

College can be expensive, we know! We provide as much aid as we can based on the information you provided on your FAFSA. There are many factors we take into account, like your year in school and how much it costs to attend your school. If you need more financial aid, here are 7 options you should consider. Make sure you look into applying for local scholarships or talk to your school’s financial aid office for personalized advice.

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Increased Oversight of ITT and the Impact on Students

In recent years, ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) has increasingly been the subject of state and federal investigations and this year it has twice been found out of compliance with its accreditor’s standards. Over time, ITT’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer funded federal student aid at risk. In response, over the last couple of years, we at the Department of Education have increased our financial oversight over ITT and required the school to boost its cash reserves to cover potential damages to taxpayers and students.

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An American Teacher in China

Every year during back to school season, I find the time to reflect on students I’ve met in the past and unique classroom experiences I’ve had.

I have had the opportunity to visit China twice – once in 2012 and once in 2015 – and during both visits I was able to visit schools and speak with teachers and students.

During my last trip, I spoke with teachers in Luoyang, Shenzhen, Beijing and Wuhan.

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9 Consejos Útiles para Padres en este Regreso a Clases

El regreso a clases puede ser un tiempo de locura y ansiedad para padres de familia y sus hijos. Estos son algunos de nuestros mejores consejos para asegurar que este nuevo año de clases tenga un buen comienzo.



Recorre el camino que tu hijo seguirá para ir a la escuela y toma nota de patrulleros escolares, guardias de cruces peatonales y áreas de tráfico en el transcurso. Conversa con tus hijos sobre NO hablar con extraños e investiga cuáles son las reglas en tu escuela sobre la llegada temprana o tardía. Pregunta sobre los procesos de entrada y salida en la escuela. Si es posible, pasa a visitar la escuela y conoce las instalaciones por dentro.

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