Durbin Urges Community Colleges to Assist Former ITT Tech Students
CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged area community colleges to reach out to and assist students impacted by the sudden closing of all ITT Technical Institute campuses. After years of being one of the worst actors in for-profit education, ITT Tech announced this week it would close its campuses nationally. ITT Tech operated campuses in Arlington Heights, Oak Brook, Orland Park, and Springfield enrolling around 750 students with dozens more scheduled to begin this fall. Speaking at City Colleges of Chicago’s Malcolm X College, Durbin pointed to community colleges as a quality, affordable alternative to the for-profit institutions that will be aggressively recruiting formed ITT Tech students in the coming weeks.
“The collapse of ITT Tech and the uncertainty it has caused in the lives of its students should give anyone considering enrolling in a for-profit college pause. ITT Tech is not unique in the for-profit industry – in its predatory practices, in its poor student outcomes, in its financial instability –and it is likely not the last major for-profit college that will close,” Durbin said. “I have asked Illinois community colleges to reach out to and assist ITT Tech students, and I am pleased that the Illinois Community College Board has joined that call and community college presidents, like Malcolm X College's David Sanders, are responding. Students who have just had the rug pulled out from under deserve an opportunity to get a high quality, affordable education.”
"City Colleges recognizes the challenges former ITT Tech students face with closure of their school and we are committed to ensuring they can access a quality, affordable college education," said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. "I want to commend Senator Durbin for his continued leadership to make sure our students are treated fairly and are able to earn a college degree that has value in the marketplace, without all of the debt."
“ITT Tech students join a growing list of students of for-profit schools who are left in the lurch after their school was suddenly closed due to fraudulent practices,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “My investigations into the for-profit schools industry have revealed predatory recruiting practices and poor accreditation that left students struggling with enormous debt levels and limited job prospects in their chosen fields. The federal government must continue to crackdown on these schools that focus on profits and not on their students."
Earlier this week, the Illinois Community College Board contacted every community college president in Illinois to address ways to assist displaced students. The Department of Education and the American Association of Community College have also been working to mobilize community colleges across the country, offering guidelines to colleges that include: developing an outreach strategy to connect with ITT Tech students, and designating points of contact for ITT Tech students to address their questions about transfer credits, financial aid, transcripts, and more.
Students recently enrolled at ITT Tech may be eligible for a Closed School Discharge of their federal student loans. Others may wish to assert a Defense to Repayment to have their federal student loans discharged if they believe they were defrauded or misled. Students who wish to seek forgiveness of their federal student loans can visit studentaid.ed.gov/itt for more information about eligibility and how to apply.
ITT Tech was being investigated by more than a dozen state Attorneys General, including Illinois’ Lisa Madigan. The company is also being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for predatory lending and the Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud.
Durbin has been working for years to protect students from the predatory practices of the for-profit college industry. While the industry enrolls only about 10% of all college students, they take in 20% of the Department of Education’s federal student aid funds and account for a disproportionate 40% of student loan defaults.
Former ITT Tech students interested in attending City Colleges of Chicago, can learn more at: www.ccc.edu/itttech or by calling 773-COLLEGE.
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