ITT Tech closes schools nationwide

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - Students of ITT Technical Institute’s campus in Davie arrived to school to attend their scheduled class, Tuesday morning, but were soon blindsided when they received an e-mail saying class was canceled – for good.

ITT Technical Institute is closing all of its campuses nationwide, including numerous campuses in South Florida.

According to Bloomberg, ITT Educational Services, Inc. is closing more than 130 of their technical school campuses, which will leave as many as 40,000 students stranded.

In a statement released Tuesday, ITT Educational Services, Inc. accused the Department of Education for the downfall of their ITT Technical Institutes. According to the statement, the federal government demanded the company produce an additional $153 million in collateral to cover possible losses.

Some called this federal crackdown “a death sentence.”

The Department of Education stopped providing federal assistance to ITT Tech after they accused the for-profit school of taking billions of dollars in federal grants and loans while failing to provide adequate job training for their students.

Etzer Massenet, a former employee at the college said the situation is unfair. “You can’t really take sanctions against the company without having to prove what they’ve actually done wrong. It’s just not fair,” he said. “I think they provide a very good quality of education.”

Unable to deal with the federal sanctions, the company stopped enrolling students, last week. Then, Tuesday morning, the company closed all operations and terminated the majority of its more than 8,000 employees.

“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,” read the statement. “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.”

Many students in Davie arrived to school, Tuesday morning, searching for answers after they received the e-mail stating their school had been shut down. Once these students arrived to their deserted campus, they walked around, knocked on doors and peeked through windows hoping at least for an explanation.

Now students and employees of ITT Tech are wondering, “What’s next?”

Many students said they worked hard for their grades. “What is my future? Because I’m here. I’m a good student — honors student — and then I’ve got the good credit and everything I’m paying’s good,” said student Sugandhi Makesh.

“It’s frustrating, you know?” said student Jayson Matias. “Staying up late at night. I’ve got a strong 4.0 GPA, and I worked hard for that.”

Parents were also furious at the development. “I’m scared,” said Corlitha Henley whose son attends ITT Tech, “because if that’s the case, he’s been going to school for over two years, and if his diploma don’t mean anything, and he can’t find a job that he just finished graduating and studying for, then I don’t need to pay them anything. I shouldn’t owe nobody anything.”

“I’ve been here for twelve years,” said Massenet. “You know, I was a full-time instructor and then got promoted to become a chair. Now, I’m let off. You know, so everyone is affected by it. Not just the students, but also the employees.”

Some students told 7News they were about to earn their diplomas this year and thought they would find a job after graduation, but now they have no idea what to do and are not sure if their diploma means anything since their school is no longer accredited.

Not to mention, many of these students have $50,000 to $60,000 in student loans, which they are supposed to be paying off.

According to the Bloomberg report, however, current students will be able to cancel any federal student debt they incurred for their education if they decide against transferring their credits elsewhere. The school advises anyone with concerns to contact ITT Tech’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis.

The Department of Education is also advising people to visit their website if they have any questions.

This is one of the largest college closures in American history, according to Bloomberg, and it affects thousands of South Florida students and employees.

ITT Technical Institute had campuses across Florida in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Hialeah, Davie, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

The department of Education has set up a webinar for Wednesday to answer as many questions as possible. There will be three sessions at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m. The link for the webinar can be found at http://fsatraining.acms.com/ittschoolclosureinformation.

Florida Memorial University has also set up a hotline for ITT Students at 305-626-3753.

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