Helping ITT Students Find a Way Forward

Over the past two weeks, since the closure of ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT), we’ve received thousands of emails and calls from its former students trying to find their way forward. Some are looking for a pathway to degree completion by transferring to another institution. Others are applying for federal student loan discharge to wipe away their loans. Yet there are others who are so deeply frustrated, discouraged and angry at ITT’s closure that they’re considering abandoning their education. A college education is still the best investment a person can make in oneself and the surest path to the middle class. While ITT’s closure may be a disruption, we cannot allow it to be the end of the road for these students.

We’ve been working around the clock to support ITT students, and partners around the nation have stepped up to do the same.

Reaching Out Directly to Students

The day the closure was announced, Secretary King outlined students’ two core options: pursue a closed school federal loan discharge or transfer to a comparable program. Within the first week after the closure, we had:

  • emailed all 35,000 of ITT’s enrolled students restating their options.
  • launched an online hub with helpful information about the ITT transition, including FAQs and information about closed school loan discharge. The FAQ is continuously updated so that it has the most up to date information.
  • hosted 11 ITT-specific webinars, which is an easy, accessible way for students to learn more about their transition options, and published an up-to-date schedule of future webinars. Colleagues from Veterans Affairs joined us in the webinars to provide information to GI Bill beneficiaries affected by ITT’s closure. We have five more webinars scheduled.
  • used social media to remind impacted students of these resources and remind them that they never have to pay for services the Department offers for free.

The following week we continued direct outreach and emails. Through these efforts, the Department has had almost 20,000 interactions with impacted individuals through our webinars, call centers, and dedicated email account. While it’s up to each student to decide the path best for them, we are doing everything we can to ensure they are well-informed about their options and opportunities.

Counseling Students on Transfer

A number of our partners outside the government that focus on college readiness and counseling are interested in helping students make informed choices about how to move forward with their education. We’ve asked for their help with students as they explore comparable programs of study. To assist students with continuing their education at other institutions, a number of groups have committed to sharing resources with them, including:

  • Beyond 12,
  • National Association of College Admissions Counseling,
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators,
  • National College Access Network,
  • UAspire, and
  • Veterans Education Success.

We are grateful to these organizations for stepping up to support ITT students, and we hope to see others around the country do the same. Organizations interested in pitching in can visit ifap.ed.gov/SupportITTStudents, our resource page for partners, and they can email supportITTstudents@ed.gov with any questions or to share examples of what they are doing.

Improving the School Transfer Process

The day ITT closed, I wrote to hundreds of college presidents in areas where ITT students are most concentrated to encourage them reach out to students directly, and to be open to accepting transfer credits. Many were interested in supporting students’ work towards degree completion. Our direct outreach to institutions coupled with that to related independent groups, such as the American Association of Community Colleges and federally recognized accreditors, has resulted in a number of positive efforts to inform students’ transition:

  • Many accreditors have proactively informed their accredited institutions of their flexibility in assessing credits for transfer, administering prior learning assessment, and waiving maximum transfer-in credit requirements to ensure colleges know about the ways they can support ITT students who want to continue their education.
  • Community colleges in Houston, Texas are accepting ITT students on a “staging process” until their official transcript is available to allow students to begin classes right away instead of waiting for administrative processes to catch up with them.
  • A number of colleges, such as those in Dearborn, Michigan, have proactively created webpages and reached out to students, providing enrollment opportunities and information on credit transfers.
  • Many colleges, such as the Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, are hosting transfer fairs, in collaboration with Federal Student Aid, where students can get answers to their questions.
  • Many institutions around the country are opening their doors to former ITT students and are making good-faith efforts to help them identify programs that match their interests and will allow them to continue their educational pursuits.

Employing a Multi-Agency Approach to Sharing Information

We are fortunate to have strong partners in other parts of the Obama Administration. The Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have all conducted outreach to students to help them navigate their next steps. And the Department of Labor will provide information to its network of nearly 2,500 American Job Centers (AJCs) about options available to former students from recent school closings. Additionally, employees displaced by school closings can access reemployment assistance services at their local AJC.

There is much more work to be done to help the students impacted by this closure. If your organization would like to support these students, please email us and visit our resource page for stakeholders. Also, please share your student success stories as you conduct outreach. Together, we can help ITT students move forward to pursue their dreams.

Ted Mitchell is U.S. Under Secretary of Education.

18 Comments

  1. As several people have mentioned, the former students who graduated, couldn’t find a job in the field (as promised by ITT) and are now up to their necks in student loan bills need help too! They were indeed a “predatory lender”! While we feel for those caught up in this mess while still enrolled at ITT, please find a way to help the alumni who are suffering from this school’s poor business practices as well.

  2. I’d like to see all questions answered above it this is possible. A lot of us are outraged and the majority of my inquiries are above, but not answered. Please answer all questions.

  3. So, for those of us veterans who used our GI Bill and FAFSA in ITT’s worthless education and which would like to return to school to have a worthy degree, are we getting a refund? Cause as you know, nothing is free and school ain’t cheap. Now that they have filled their pockets and decide to shut down, what are we graduated students with a piece of paper getting back?

  4. I am a RN student from ITT. My class mates and I were set to graduate this December. We all stuck together and started calling colleges and setting up meetings. We have had so many doors slam in our face. One college had us holding on an answer saying they will except everything for nearly 3 weeks.
    I am a wife, mom, and care giver to my mom and grandparents. There are so many more cases just like mine. We have sacrificed so much. The sleepless nights, the stress, and missing out on family. Not to mention the financial strain. It was a requirement to maintain a B average. Nursing school is hard enough as it is. I honestly do not care where my education comes from. There is a state board licensure that will prove my ability to perform in the professional world.
    We finally found a place that will except our credits. The problem….they want $5500 and it is 5 hours away from my home. Many of us are considering this option. Are there other options being looked at for the Nursing students? Colleges seem to be very willing with the other departments. Why not offer us to finish up our last quarter with an online college? It is just a review and prep for NCLEX anyway. This is allowing other colleges to swoop in and take advantage of our situation. If this is our only option, I will with a heavy heart accept it. At this point I have lost all trust in “the system”!

  5. My son just lost 9 months of my Post 911 GI Bill benefits attending ITT. What is the current administrations plan to help the VA in getting their beneficiaries their benefit back? The VA said he is just out the 9 months.

    • If you cannot transfer your credits elsewhere and graduated or withdrew from ITT in the last 120 days, then you fill out the form referenced in this post and send it to your loan servicer. That is how you find out.

  6. So what happens to the Alumni students that couldn’t finish their education at ITT? Are we to keep paying for classes that are worthless? School closed and these classes aren’t worth what I’m paying to Navient! Please consider helping us.

  7. What are you going to do for the ones that graduated and never got jobs? ITT TECH was a ripoff. My sons went and I am left with PLUS loans that I can’t afford to pay.

    My sons, Josh and Jon, went and graduated almost 9 years ago in Henderson, NV. They ended up going to a State school but none of their credits were transferrable. Never got a Bachelors.

    I am left with 93K in PLUS loans. I can’t afford to pay and I am mad. My sons got a horrible education.

    I have been trying to get someone to help. ITT was a predatory lender.

    What can I do now?

  8. I was told that because I dropped out of ITT back in 2010, I don’t qualify to discharge my loans, yet I have never received my transcript. What can I do?

  9. Where’s the information on school closure loan forgiveness!? You have two sections dedicated to transferring, and you’re even allowing other predatory for-profits, like the Art Institutes to advertise to these students even though EDMC stock is worth less than a penny, and you have the brass nerve to tell these students that their best options are transferring!? Ted Mitchell, this article’s garbage. You are aiding in the college subprime meltdown.

  10. The Dept of Ed forced the closure of ITT TEC and refused to grant its then current students the right to complete their degree with them by instituting terms and conditions that ITT TEC was complying with, only to then change the terms and conditions to ones that the Dept of Ed’s cronies knew were impossible to meet. To wit: if Dept of Ed was so concerned that ITT TEC students wouldn’t pay back student loans (as if students from all other colleges pay their loans back), why would they offer a wholesale loan forgiveness program which will be vastly more costly more than having allowed them to finish their degree with ITT TEC. What Dept of Ed cronies did was unconscionable.

  11. I graduated from ITT with bachelors degree in criminal justice in 2013. I was valedictorian. I have not been offered a decent paying job at all. If it’s unaccredited then I have a debt that will do nothing in my life going forward. How can I get my loans forgiven? My debt is $100,000 and still no good job. And now I find its not worth the paper it’s printed on. What steps do I take now? People are ringing my phone off the hook, asking for money to get loan forgiveness. $1700 per month for 12 months. I don’t have this and I’m sure it’s a scam every time someone calls.

  12. Any kind of assistance to the Graduates of ITT Tech who stayed through all of the Federal Raids, overpriced classes, accreditation/degrees that are only worth anything within ITT Campuses, and have no other recourse would be greatly appreciated.

    Having to pay on student loans from attending a shady school until retirement doesn’t serve any good to anyone.

  13. How about referring the ITT students to the U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Opportunity Centers located throughout the country? Someone at the Department must know about the EOC’s. The EOC provides counseling to adults trying to participate in post secondary education.

  14. What are you going to do about students who graduated within the last 3 to 5 years while Itt was being investigated. I plus thousands of others are devastated, up to our necks in loans, and what’s worse a degree that is worthless. What are you going to do to help these students? You cannot leave them hanging or being forgotten. We can not put Itt tech on our resumes due to complete and utter embarrassment. How are we to get jobs to take care of theses loans. Do not leave these students to the wayside. These students are the ones who helped you find out that Itt was was fraudulent. These students deserve help too.

  15. Folks,

    Regarding this current news on ITT, all that can be said is FINALLY, it’s about time.

    As I informed former CEO Rene Champagne, Tom Lauer and Brad Rainer, VP’s in 2000, “for what a man Soweth, so shall he Reap,” after ITT ESI violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, against me, in which the EEOC RULED in my favor, with the Right To Sue (with Cause) ITT ESI.

    In 2000, and through 2002, I informed both ACICS and the US Dept. of Education that at the ITT TECHNICAL CAMPUS in Tampa, as a Supervisor we were mandated to falsify attention records under the strict enforcement of DENNIS W. Alspaugh, School Director, and Robert Rizzo (deceased) Director of Education.

    Although many of the former executives got rich, and RETIRED on the backs of students AND parents, via federal student loans, finally the government has seen this organization as the scam it always has been.

    Wm. Earl Lauderback, M. Ed.

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