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Tumult for Many For-Profit Colleges

Dec 02, 2016 02:09PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Private colleges, like ITT technical Institutes, that have operated in more 140 locations across the nation for over 50 years — announced closures after the Department of Education decided “to bar the chain of colleges from using federal financial aid to enroll new students,” according to the New York Times. (Mandy Morgan Ditto/City Journals)

Gallery: Tumult for Many For-Profit Colleges [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Mandy Morgan Ditto | m.ditto@mycityjournals.com


Many students and graduates of ITT Technical Institutes didn’t expect a college to close so rapidly. However, that’s exactly what happened with ITT Tech on Sept. 6, right as the school year was beginning.

ITT Educational Services, which operates  ITT Technical Institutes — private colleges that have operated in more 140 locations across the nation for over 50 years — announced closures after the Department of Education decided “to bar the chain of colleges from using federal financial aid to enroll new students,” according to the New York Times.

The only ITT Tech location in Utah was in Murray, Utah, and students that planned to attend the 2016 fall semester on September 12 were surprised to have plans changed a few days before.

“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services, Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after more than 50 years of continuous service,” said ITT Tech’s official news release announcing the closure of the schools. “The actions of and sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education have forced us to cease operations of the ITT Technical Institutes, and we will not be offering our September quarter.”

For Kevin Neff, a graduate from ITT Tech in Murray in 1998, the worth of his degree and the education he received is still entirely valid to him, no matter the school closure. Neff — who received an associate of applied science degree in computer-aided drafting and design technology — was looking for a school to help him get a secondary education degree and have time to spend with his family.

“In speaking with the school, reviewing the schedules and looking further at the classes offered, I was pretty much sold from day one,” Neff told the City Journals in an email. He had looked into the programs for computer-aided drafting and architecture at both Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah, but the programs would take too much time while he was working full time, and he was hoping to get his degree in less than four years.

“I feel the education and training I received at ITT Tech was as thorough as I would have received attending any community college…there was never a time at ITT that
I felt the curriculum or my instructors were sub-par when compared to my public community college options,” Neff said. “I did feel that the algebra and physics courses at ITT were tailored more towards real world applications faced in drafting and design scenarios than an overall study of each course.”

Neff has worked the last 16 years in a position focused on “the utilization of both GIS and computer-aided drafting systems.” His family currently resides in Oregon.

Though most graduates haven’t felt much impact from the closure of the school, it was jolting for some employees. Tony Rose, who worked at the Phoenix location of ITT Tech, was surprised to see an email several days after it was sent to his work account about the school closure, before the semester started.

There was an email sent to all ITT Tech employees’ work accounts at 4:30 a.m. in Arizona, right after Labor Day weekend, he recalled. “Nobody had checked their email unless you worked in the offices. I’m driving home from my day job…and I hear that they closed it on the radio,” he said. He believes that the management was aware before other employees that the institute would close; he also said that many people didn’t get their final paychecks due to scattered management of finances overall.

Luckily Rose has another job working as a network administrator in the Creighton School District in Phoenix, but won’t have a chance at another community college job until potential hiring takes place before the next semester that starts in January. For those students who were hoping to finish their degree at ITT Tech, there is a process some qualify for to get their student loans through the school forgiven, Rose said, though some are simply going to have to pay off federal loans and find another school that may or may not take already earned credits to finish a degree.  

Education, Today ITT technical institutes ITT Educational Services
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