Former Knoxville ITT Tech student relieved by school closure

The closure of all ITT Tech campuses nationwide has a number of former Knoxville students praising the U.S. Department of Education.

The for-profit college chain is shutting down after the Department of Education banned it from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.

In a letter to ITT students, Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. cited the "significant concerns about ITT's administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial viability and ability to serve students" in the last two years.

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The move impacts more than 130 campuses nationwide, including five in Tennessee, and more than 8,000 employees across the country.

The company said in a 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."

When WBIR 10News posted the closure on Facebook, dozens of former students reached out to us. The vast majority said they were grateful the school was closing because it left them saddled with debt and a worthless degree.

Brandon Turner, 28, decided to enroll in the ITT electrical engineering program after 8 years in the Marine Corps. After a year and half in the program, he dropped out.

"It was a waste of money, waste of time, effort. I completely used it (GI bill benefits) for nothing, literally," Turner said.

He said the the curriculum and the equipment were subpar and when he tried to voice concerns, the administration told him the school and equipment were up to industry standards.

Tuesday, when the school announced it was closing, he felt relief.

"When I heard, I was happy because I felt like finally somebody is doing something about this school that's taking people in and completely just using them and you get nothing for it," he said.

Turner now hopes this will give him a second chance.

"I would love to get my GI bill back and get to use it at a good school," he said.

In the letter, Sec. King said ITT Tech students may be able to transfer their credits and complete a program at a different school. He said if students have federal student loans, they may have the option of wiping away the loan and restarting their education somewhere new.

ITT Tech sent an email to students Tuesday saying they can either apply for a closed loan discharge, or transfer earned credit or hours to another school to continue their education in a similar program. 

The email listed a website, studentaid.gov/ITT,  for students to find resources and information. There is a national webinar for ITT Tech students on Wednesday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Eastern time. The webinar will be recorded and available to be viewed later. 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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