By Heidy Fernandez
Abrupt closing of ITT Technical Institute leaves displaced students searching for next steps.
“On Sept. 6, 2016, officials representing ITT Technical Institute, falling under the ownership of ITT Educational Services Inc., alerted the U.S. Department of Education that ITT will cease operations and no longer offer instruction at all of their locations, including two in Nevada,” according to Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.
According to ITT’s notice on its website, in August the U.S. Department of Education imposed requirements and conditions on ITT in order to maintain its participation in the federal student financial-aid program the government administers. ITT did not meet those obligations and therefore were denied participation. That directly affected its operational budget, which ultimately led the school to shut down and file for bankruptcy.
“We proposed alternatives to the Department of Education, including teaching out our students and giving us time to sell our schools to another company that would continue [our students] education, but they were rejected,” according to ITT’s website.
ITT offered postsecondary-degree programs including master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees to approximately 45,000 students, according to its year-end quarterly-earnings report. ITT had 138 campuses in 39 states and offered online options for students in every state.
These students, who were in the program or graduated from the program, are now left looking for alternatives for their educations. Those that graduated prior may have options to discharge any student debt, according to the Student Aid report. Those that were actively in school are left looking for next steps.
“Right now, I don’t really know,” said Albert Valdez, former ITT student, about what he plans to do to continue his education. Valdez, like many others, was enrolled in classes set to start in September and was working on his bachelor’s degree in cyber security. “Since the schools closed, I want to know if my associate degree is still valid.”
Travis Miles received an associate degree in criminology and forensics from ITT in 2013. “I think it’ll hurt me in the fact that when taking my degree seriously [employers] might look it up and see that the school’s closed now.”
College of Southern Nevada is making efforts to help these students continue their educations by assigning recruiters at each campus to evaluate their transcripts and guide them through the entire process.
“We as an institution would like to welcome students from ITT,” said Maria Ubaldo, coordinator of Recruitment and College Connections and a student ambassador manager at CSN.
CSN set up a website specifically for ITT students to fill out forms, which are then sent to CSN recruiters, to start the process of admission.
One issue ITT students may face is that their credits may not be accepted by CSN or other colleges or universities, as the national accreditation ITT had may not comply with regional accreditations many schools have, Ubaldo said.
Although it’s not guaranteed, students who wish to transfer some of their credits can fill out
Nontraditional Education Review forms. “We can accept up to 16 credits of nontraditional education,” Ubaldo said. The forms must be submitted with their transcripts and their credits will then go under review to determine which, if any, will be accepted.
According to a statement from CSN to ITT students, “CSN can help you get back on track … to effectively transfer and complete your program of choice.”