ITT Tech Closes Its Doors in Massachusetts, Everywhere Else
ITT Educational Services, the company running the for-profit ITT Technical Institutes popularized by uplifting TV commercials and dogged by federal investigations, will shutter its scores of campuses, the company announced Tuesday.
The chain of colleges has about 40,000 students enrolled, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Two of them are in Massachusetts, and WCVB reports 500 students from the state were enrolled there, including 101 veterans.
“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 approximately 50 years of continuous service. 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 wrote in a statement.
It spells trouble locally for those who planned on starting the school year at ITT’s Norwood and Wilmington campuses this fall. But officials said Tuesday the closure marks the end of a business that preyed on some of the most disadvantaged learners in the state.
“ITT Tech closed its doors for good this morning, so this predatory, for-profit school can no longer take advantage of students & taxpayers,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday.
ITT Tech closed its doors for good this morning, so this predatory, for-profit school can no longer take advantage of students & taxpayers.
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) September 6, 2016
Healey urged ITT students to cancel payments to the company, collect ITT paperwork, and contact the state’s student loan assistance unit hotline at 1-888-830-6277.
School employees who feel they were wronged were also urged to call the state’s labor hotline at 617-727-3465.
The federal Department of Education has set up an online resource for students impacted by the closure. Many students may be eligible to have federal loans for ITT programs forgiven.
ITT, which according to the L.A. Times had campuses in 38 states and made $850 million in revenue last year, is just the latest for-profit college to crumble under a wave of intense criticism of the institutions’ business models. Critics have said recruitment at many for-profit schools is aggressive, promises of future employment are deceptive, and that students who graduate with degrees from them are likely to face debt they can’t pay.
A critical blow to its operations came in April when U.S. education officials announced ITT would no longer be allowed to enroll students using federal financial aid. The company announced August 31 that it would not enroll any new students.
Healey’s office sued ITT Tech earlier this year, alleging the schools were “engaging in unfair and harassing sales tactics and misleading students,” according to an April release. She said in a statement at the time: “These students were exploited and pressured to enroll with the promise of great careers and high salaries, but were instead left unable to repay their loans and support their families.”
Students were absorbing the news yesterday.
“I’m kind of upset I wasted all last year here,” one Massachusetts man tells WCVB in Norwood. He says he borrowed $8,000 to attend the school.