ITT Technical Institute’s campuses in Lexington and Louisville are closing as part of a nationwide shutdown of the school, which blamed the federal government.
“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,” the company said in a news release. “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.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education cut off any new ITT students from getting federal financial aid because the department said it was out of compliance with accreditation standards. Because so many students at for-profit schools depend heavily on federal aid, that move threatened future student enrollment.
The Lexington campus offered about 13 programs with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, including network systems administration, nursing, accounting, information systems, and cyber-security. It’s not clear how many students were enrolled.
“Our focus and priority with our remaining staff is on helping the tens of thousands of unexpectedly displaced students with their records and future educational options,” the company said.
But that wasn’t the case for student Pete Garcia, who went to the school on Old Todd’s Road Tuesday to find help.
“I was told that the school would help out with transferring credits as well as just helping the students out with getting into another school, yet phones are turned off and school is closed,” Garcia said. “Students are wanting answers.”
The U.S. Department of Education denied re-certification to the school, ending financial aid to its students.
For-profit schools received another blow last week when an advisory board to the U.S. Department of Education voted to end federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which accredits most for-profit schools. The process will play out over the next 18 months, federal officials said.
In Kentucky, ITT is regulated by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
The state Attorney General’s office has been tracking for-profit schools with accreditation and other problems. On Tuesday, Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office is closely monitoring the situation.
“In fact, the Kentucky Attorney General is part of a 19-state coalition investigating ITT Tech,” Beshear said. “While it is our policy not to comment on investigations, I would encourage students to review information about ITT Tech on the U.S. Department of Education’s website and continue to monitor that site over the next several days for updates on the issue.”
The attorney general’s office has investigated Daymar College, National College and Spencerian College, in most cases because of alleged misleading claims about job placement rates.
Weston Phillips contributed to this report.