By: Luke Byerly ~Managing Editor~
Last week ITT Technical Institute closed all of its campuses nation-wide after federal restrictions were placed on the school last week, leaving roughly 45,000 students unsure about their futures.
The announcement about the closure followed shortly after the school announced a week earlier that it would no longer enroll new students. The shut-down was a decision from the U.S. Department of Education to ban the school from receiving federal financial aid.
This ban follows lawsuits and investigations from both state and federal officials regarding claims of overly high student loan default rates, predatory lending and false advertising among the leading chains of for-profit schools.
U.S. Department of Education officials stated that the ban was put into place in order to protect the students enrolled in these universities as well as the taxpayers who are levied when federal student loans are not repaid.
Students enrolled at the time of the closure are currently faced with two options. They could try to transfer the credit from ITT Tech to another school, or they could try to seek forgiveness for any student loans they may have through a closed school discharge.
All students enrolled at an ITT campus before the closure within the last 120 days are eligible to apply for a closed school discharge, and up to $500 million in outstanding student loans could be forgiven for students.
In the wake of the schools closing, rumors of a new college emerging made of former faculty members was reported by ABC News.
“There are a lot of students that don’t have a lot of good options, or other places in Columbus,” said Michael Traina, former Dean of the ITT Tech Columbus campus. Traina worked for ITT for 15 years before losing his job in the closedown. This school would serve a similar function to the original school, but would not serve a for-profit function.
Traina is also working to find a way for the final class off ITT students to graduate. A ceremony could only take place through a donation of space big enough to provide a ceremony for 200 students. Additionally, the new school would require $1 Million and 40 students to agree to enroll.
Some universities across the nation are also attempting to provide aid by helping former ITT students to complete their educations. Northwest Nazarene College in Idaho offered to meet with 40 ITT Tech students about several of their most popular programs, and a way the students could continue on with credit earned at ITT Tech. Additionally in Indiana, several colleges including Indiana Wesleyan and Ivy College are working to create tution deals and programs for 1000 ITT Tech students from the state.
On a local level, Cincinnati State University plans to open its doors to displaced students as well. ITT Tech had been open for 50 years, and former top officials at the school have claimed unfair due process by the US Department of Education. In total, the company employed almost 8000 people across the country, and left even more students without certainty.