2 Md. cam­puses among 130 shut by ITT Tech

For-profit col­lege de­nied fed­eral stu­dent-loan ac­cess

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Car­rie Wells The Chicago Tri­bune and the Associated Press con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. cwells@balt­sun.com

Two ITT Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute cam­puses in Mary­land are among more than 130 that were shut down na­tion­wide by ITT Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vices on Tues­day af­ter the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion pro­hib­ited it last month from en­rolling new stu­dents who use fed­eral fi­nan­cial aid.

The de­ci­sion ended the fall quar­ter be­fore it started for about 40,000 stu­dents as the Carmel, Ind.-based com­pany laid off more than 8,000 em­ploy­ees.

About 350 stu­dents were en­rolled at ITT’s cam­pus in Hanover, and about 440 stu­dents at its cam­pus in Owings Mills. It em­ployed three full-time and 49 part­time fac­ulty mem­bers in Hanover and five full-time and 54 part-time fac­ulty mem­bers in Owings Mills, ac­cord­ing to the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment.

Stu­dents left in the lurch with stu­dent loans and need­ing classes were of­fered some op­tions by the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. Af­fected stu­dents could have their fed­eral stu­dent loans for­given and start their ed­u­ca­tion over, or they could trans­fer their aca­demic cred­its to an­other col­lege, which could make them in­el­i­gi­ble for loan for­give­ness.

Fed­eral of­fi­cials have been ramp­ing up over­sight of ITT, one of the largest for-profit U.S. ed­u­ca­tional firms, and other com­pa­nies like it.

Last month, the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment banned ITT from en­rolling new stu­dents with fed­eral fi­nan­cial aid, cit­ing its lack of com­pli­ance with ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dards. It also or­dered ITT to in­crease the amount it set aside to cover li­a­bil­i­ties, such as re­funds in case the col­lege shut About 350 stu­dents were en­rolled at ITT’s cam­pus in Hanover. down, from about $90 mil­lion to about $247 mil­lion.

In­stead of com­ply­ing, ITT de­cided to shut down af­ter 50 years in busi­ness.

The com­pany de­fended it­self in a state­ment, say­ing it has worked “tire­lessly to en­sure com­pli­ance with all ap­pli­ca­ble laws and reg­u­la­tions” and call­ing it­self the vic­tim of “reg­u­la­tory as­sault.”

“With what we be­lieve is a com­plete dis­re­gard by the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion for due process to the com­pany, hun­dreds of thou­sands of cur­rent stu­dents and alumni and more than 8,000 em­ploy­ees will be neg­a­tively af­fected,” the com­pany said in a state­ment.

Launched in 1966, ITT Tech in re­cent years of­fered de­grees in six ar­eas of study: in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, elec­tron­ics tech­nol­ogy, draft­ing and de­sign, busi­ness, crim­i­nal jus­tice and nurs­ing.

U.S. Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John B. King Jr. de­fended the in­creased over­sight of ITT and said the de­part­ment had 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 tax­pay- er-funded fed­eral stu­dent aid at risk,” he said in a post­ing on the de­part­ment’s web­site in­tended to in­form af­fected stu­dents about the de­part­ment’s ac­tion. King urged ITT stu­dents not to give up.

“Higher ed­u­ca­tion re­mains the clear­est path to eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity and se­cu­rity,” he wrote. “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.”

The move comes amid a crack­down by the U.S. Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment on for­profit ed­u­ca­tional chains that have come un­der in­creased scru­tiny and crit­i­cism for pro­vid­ing stu­dents with sub­stan­dard ed­u­ca­tions — and some­times worth­less de­grees — and leav­ing them sad­dled with huge amounts of debt. Last year, Corinthian Col­leges shut down af­ter the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment blocked it from en­rolling stu­dents re­ceiv­ing fed­eral fi­nan­cial aid.

Bal­ti­more-based Lau­re­ate Ed­u­ca­tion, a for-profit chain which owns more than 70 col­leges around the world, de­clined to comment. The com­pany, which only has a hand­ful of U.S. schools, has not faced the same fed­eral scru­tiny as ITT and Corinthian.

Bar­mak Nas­sirian, di­rec­tor of fed­eral re­la­tions and pol­icy anal­y­sis at the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of State Col­leges and Univer­si­ties, said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s hand was forced by ITT’s le­gal and ac­cred­i­ta­tion chal­lenges.

“The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has to play the role of the un­der­taker at some point as these op­er­a­tions col­lapse un­der the weight of their own toxic out­comes,” Nas­sirian said. “At some point, the feds have to step in and say ‘enough.’”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.