Feds Offer Options to Students Affected by ITT Tech Closures

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by Annie Wu

The for-profit ITT Technical Institute closed its schools across the country Tuesday, affecting some 3200 Ohio students at nine campuses across the state. To assist those students, the federal government is offering two options to move forward.  Those with federal loans can apply to have the debt wiped clean or they can transfer their ITT credits to continue their education at another college.  

"But I caution students to look closely at their credits to make sure they fully understand which ITT credits transfer and which do not," says US Senator Sherrod Brown who hosted a conference call with US Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell on Wednesday.

Mitchell says his office is working with community colleges and the Higher Learning Commission – an accreditation agency -- to try to give schools flexibility in accepting transfer credits.  On Tuesday, the Department of Education spoke with community college presidents around the country, including Cuyahoga Community College.

"...encouraging them to open their doors to ITT students, to make their financial aid and academic counselors available to ITT students," says Mitchell.  "Tri-C already had created an outreach program for ITT students following our actions last week.  They have continued to redouble those efforts."

A spokesperson for Tri-C says it has developed a website specifically for ITT students and it’s still possible for new students to enroll for its semester beginning September 12. 

A spokesperson for Stark State College in North Canton says it’s ready to serve and support ITT students in need of a transition plan.

The US Department of education is also holding webinars to inform ITT students of their options.

The federal government estimates some 35,000 ITT students across the country took up to $500 million dollars in loans.  ITT has put up $90 million in surety funds that the US Department of Education says could be used to cover the cost of student debt relief. 

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