ITT Education Services, Inc. announced yesterday the immediate closure of ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit vocational school with more than 100 campuses across the U.S. That leaves 40,000 students without a plan to complete their education.
The closure was rumored after the Department of Education took over financial oversight of the school last week, preventing new students from enrolling in classes using federal financial aid.
“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,” Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. explained in a blog post yesterday.
“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.”
What to Do if You Were an ITT Student
The Department of Education says both it and ITT Technical Institutes will contact students about their options. In short, you can choose to either:
1. Have Your Loans Discharged
Current or recently enrolled students can apply to have their federal loans for their ITT program discharged, which wipes away debt and allows you to restart your education somewhere else.
You’re not eligible for loan discharge if you withdrew from all classes on or before 120 days before the date the school closed, or if you completed all your coursework for your program before the school closed, according to a webinar by the Department of Education.
The webinar, which will run at noon and 2 p.m. EDT today, answers common questions about what the closure means for students. If you miss it, you’ll be able to watch a recording on the Department of Education’s website.
2. Complete Your Studies at Another School
If you want to complete your program elsewhere, you may be able to transfer your credits, but will probably be ineligible for any loan-discharge options.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Department of Education has encouraged community colleges to be flexible in accommodating incoming students from ITT locations.
“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,” King wrote.
No announcement has been made regarding the status of federal loans in repayment by ITT Tech alumni who completed their programs before the closure.
Your Turn: Did you attend ITT Technical Institute? Will you transfer your credits or apply for loan discharge?
Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.