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ITT Is No More

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2lx9kr7

One of the Obama’s administration’s signature late achievements is going after for-profit colleges.

Embattled for-profit college company ITT Educational Services, Inc. is officially shutting down its academic services, the company announced on Tuesday. Most of the 8,000 employees working for the company’s for-profit college, ITT Technical Institutes — which has about 40,000 students attending around 130 campuses in 38 states — will lose their jobs.

The shuttering of the college comes as no surprise. Last week, ITT Tech stopped enrolling students at all of its campuses after the U.S. Department of Education prohibited the company from enrolling students who rely on federal student aid. And although this was the final nail in the coffin, ITT has been dealing with increasing scrutiny of its operations for years.

Last year, the department put ITT on the heightened cash monitoring list for filing its financial information late and the Securities and Exchange Commission announced fraud charges against two ITT executives. The SEC’s director of its division of enforcement, Andrew Ceresney, claimed that the executives “made numerous material misstatements and omissions in its disclosures to cover up the subpar performance of student loans programs that ITT created and guaranteed.”

In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued ITT for predatory student lending, arguing that the college encouraged students to take out expensive private loans that they would most likely default on. And this year, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sued ITT for misleading job placement rates.

Good riddance. I feel terrible for all the people without the cultural capital to know better think that this was a good option for them and took out loans to do so.

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  • I guess Long Island University has a new pool of scabs to recruit from.

  • roberts

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    • (((Malaclypse)))

      At least one ITT ad-writer has landed with his feet on the ground, and his hands reaching towards someone’s pockets. Grifters gotta grift.

    • Warren Terra

      Yeah, those services, including the “clearing of criminal records”, certainly sound “LEGAL”, don’t they?

      Anyone know whether gmail has a policy about advertising involving the use of their service to solicit customers wanting to commit federal crimes?

      • Gregor Sansa

        Just for any morons who might be reading these comments and inclined to respond credulously to the given email: aside from being illegal, the services advertised also range from extremely implausible to outright impossible.

        However, if anybody wants to run a counter-419 on this tool, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they fell for it.

        • Matt McIrvin

          The name is a nice nod to all internet traditions, though.

      • cpinva

        plus, he’ll get you that 4.0 you should have had in college!

        “university grades changing”

  • The Temporary Name

    I feel terrible for all the people without the cultural capital to know better think that this was a good option for them and took out loans to do so.

    Yes. This is a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of dreams.

    • osceola

      As an employee of a community college, I have met people who fell for this but at least got out. At operations like this the “advisors” are actually salesmen who work on commission on how much student loan $$$ they can sign up. The students are stuck with the debt, and default when they drop out.

      The Army has a program in which they educate troops (especially those about to be discharged) how to avoid these scams. Unfortunately, more are still out there.

      • Warren Terra

        For a while at least some of the worst offenders in the for-profit vocational-education racket were targeting people leaving the military, because the vets had these one-time grants or loans the “educator” could suck dry while failing to provide a worthwhile education or credential. I was always impressed by a business model that involved aggressively defrauding a bunch of people trained to use guns, some of whom might be emotionally scarred from their time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Mike G

        Don’t forget their upmarket cousin, the University of Phoenix.
        A friend of mine was a college advisor and looked into doing the same for UoP, but quickly realized they were looking for boiler-room hucksters paid mostly on commission.

        And your tuition isn’t exactly going to educational resources. One of the Sperling family who own UoP (big Dem donors BTW) live in my area and I know someone who does business with them. They have a staff of 30 to run their estate.

  • space_junk

    I’ll miss all those commercials with doughy white guys testifying to how before ITT they were stuck in a dead end job, but now they can provide for their family, plus they have a boat and jet ski and truck and dirt bike.

    • Ken

      It does make me wonder what (if anything) will fill up the newly-vacant local TV ad space.

      • Peterr

        Advertisement #1: “At InfiLaw, we are at work preparing the next generation of lawyers for the legal demands of the next generation. Yes, it can be expensive, but we’re worth it, and so are you . . .”

        Advertisement #2: “Have you been in an accident? Has your dog taken a bite out of your neighbor? Been on a bad date that cost you time, money, and your dignity? Call me, William U. Quickly, Esquire, and let’s talk about how to protect yourself in court while going after anyone who did you wrong . . .”

        Advertisement #3: “The Mar-a-Lago Club sits royally amidst 20 valuable acres of manicured lawns, vibrant gardens and sweeping sea-to-lake vistas. Mar-a-Lago is the only private club world-wide to attain the prestigious 6-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, and is considered to be one of the world’s most sought after private clubs. My Mar-a-Lago Club is the epicenter of the social scene in Palm Beach, providing unparalleled service and entertainment and reliving the rich history of the great Marjorie Merriweather Post Estate. Membership at the club provides the highest privileges and an elite lifestyle reserved for a select few.”

        Operators are standing by.

      • Campaign ads.

    • NewishLawyer

      The things I miss by not watching TV.

      I remember that DeVry (maybe) used to run ads on TV but it just showed an old guy standing in front of a metalwork shop or an autobody shop talking about learning to be an autobody mechanic or welding or something.

      The one ad that seemed scammy was about guys learning how to do video game design or something

      • Humpty-Dumpty

        The one I wonder about is the DAVE school, which is heavily promoted on a podcast I listen to. One the one hand – for-profit. On the other hand they’re actually on the backlot of Universal Studios in Orlando, and claim a really high placement rate. But we know how easily that stat can be manipulated.

        …okay, after actually poking around the website a bit, it seems pretty sketchy. $50K for a 1-year program. And it’s run by an outfit called Florida Technical College whose internet reputation is less than glowing.

    • MikeJake

      Most of the for-profit college ads I’ve seen seem to primarily feature non-white women in business attire, promising some vague notion of career success and ability to provide for one’s children, in contrast to my local community college’s advertising, which offer specific occupational tracks (mainly medical industry careers). It’s very treacly and cynical.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Here’s a recent one that seems to glorify never sleeping. Two jobs, school, and kids?!

        https://youtube.com/watch?v=v2IkZZmd6RA

      • JL

        I’m reading Cathy O’Neill’s new book, Weapons of Math Destruction (about sketchy uses of “Big Data”), which has a section on for-profit colleges. One thing that came up there is that poor moms and moms of color (and especially those who are both) are a huge target market for for-profit colleges. They’re motivated and lack the cultural capital to know that they’re being scammed. So that fits in with the ads that you’ve seen.

        • MikeJake

          MathBabe’s got a book. I’ll have to check that out.

          I can see why a young mother stuck in some bullshit job might take the bait. The ads are practically screaming at them “Why haven’t you signed up for classes already?! Your life could be so much easier. You’ll have an Adult Career, and your kids will be taken care of.” Of course, how the school gets you there is very Underpants Gnomes.

          • space_junk

            I can see why a young mother stuck in some bullshit job might take the bait. The ads are practically screaming at them “Why haven’t you signed up for classes already?! Your life could be so much easier. You’ll have an Adult Career, and your kids will be taken care of.” Of course, how the school gets you there is very Underpants Gnomes.

            I remember so many of these during daytime TV when I lived in Las Vegas, in between the ads for personal injury attorneys (call Glenn Learner…one call and that’s all).

            They targeted mainly young non white women with kids, hawking a new life as a medical assistant, medical front office.

  • NewishLawyer

    I suspect that this is going to result in a lot of short-term pain but is ultimately a good.

    It would be nice if the government helped ITT students transfer to more valuable programs.

    • Warren Terra

      It would be nice if the government helped ITT students transfer to more valuable programs.

      Well, the Obama administration had a plan to make community colleges affordable or free, and they also offer vocational education (I don’t know if in exactly the same fields). But “a plan” doesn’t mean much in the face of Congress.

    • Peterr

      They are doing just that. From the DOE’s webpage on the actions against ITT comes this excerpt:

      We are committed to helping you as you consider next steps. Most immediately, you have two basic options to choose between:

      1. If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. Your federal loan debt will be wiped away and you will have the option of restarting your education somewhere new. We will post and update information about how to receive a discharge at our ITT announcements page.

      2. If you wish to continue and complete your program at a different school – especially if you are close to graduating – you may be able to transfer your credits. It is important to note that transferring your credits may limit your ability to have your federal loans discharged. Closed school discharge may be an option if you enroll in a different program that does not accept your ITT credits.

      Both of these options have pros and cons, depending on your unique circumstances, so it is important that you consider your specific situation carefully.

      Being able to start/continue elsewhere with your ITT-based loans wiped off the books is a very big deal.

      • Brett

        They’d better do something like that. An older version of the ITT website was warning that credits are “unlikely to transfer”, which means that even if the loans were discharged students would be left with nothing to show for potentially years of study – just a pile of worthless college credit.

        • MartinAlexander

          The biggest issue is that almost all community colleges are regionally accredited while ITT is accredited by a national career related accreditor and a lot of regionally accredited schools will not accept credits from a national career related accredited institution. Each school can accept or reject credits from any other school.

          • NonyNony

            Also ITT’s accreditor – ACICS – is a part of the problem – because they have been letting colleges they accredit slide for years. Corinthian college was one of the schools they accredited and when Corinthian collapsed it became very apparent that the accreditor hadn’t been looking at the things they should have been looking at when it came to student outcomes.

            • it became very apparent that the accreditor hadn’t been looking at the things they should have been looking at when it came to student outcomes.

              Surely they were deliberately looking away? (Who accredits the accreditors?)

              • NonyNony

                The Federales for the most part. They get to decide which accreditors’ seal of approval is sufficient to allow the college to receive student loan money.

                Of course because of how Republican ideology has infested everything, they are reactive for the most part. They only started looking into ACICS when Corinthian failed and discovered how sloppy they were being and how little they were looking into what their schools were doing for their students.

                • cpinva

                  “They only started looking into ACICS when Corinthian failed and discovered how sloppy they were being and how little they were looking into what their schools were doing for to their students.”

                  fixed that for you. being a for-profit, my guess is that mostly what they were doing was emptying their student’s wallets just as quickly as they could.

  • Matt McIrvin

    I was wondering how the name of ITT, which used to be this huge technology company, became associated mostly with a fly-by-night pseudo-college. I guess it was the end result of a bunch of cycles of insane expansion and divestment: ITT was originally a telecom company (International Telephone and Telegraph), then became this gigantic conglomerate owning all sorts of unrelated businesses, then spun most of them off.

    It appears that a more or less unrelated rump version of ITT still exists, mostly manufacturing components for the defense industry. ITT Tech is another former subsidiary that got spun off and kept using the name under license.

    • Morbo

      At one point I bought pumps from them (professionally, not personally), but it looks like that would probably be bought from Xylem now. Their wikipedia table of contents is a thing of beauty.

      • Schadenboner

        Who did you buy your personal pumps from, then?

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Oh my. That wikipedia link just goes to show you that history is biased! (shake fist)

    • DonN

      ITT had an amazing and sordid history that involves; Worldcom, Alcatel, Hartford Insurance, Starwood Hotels, Harris and many more. It really deserves a movie. ITT tech schools should have been killed long ago. I really hope people get their money back more easily than with Corinthians.
      DN

      • Schadenboner

        I heard there were actually Two Corinthians.

        (Hey, sorry, that joke is a pillar of my stable…)

        • Schadenboner

          (Hey, sorry, that joke is a pillar of my stable…)

          I’m such a Doric about bad jokes…

  • King Goat

    Not a fan of these for-profits, but not excited to see 8,000 people lose their jobs…

    • witlesschum

      No doubt. The solution to that is more programs to help people retrain, find new jobs, etc. Which shouldn’t be an “and a pony” type ask, but in the current political reality, is.

    • Schadenboner

      They were recently advertising for a networking instructor in the Milwaukee area. Wasn’t really going to apply, now glad I didn’t bother.

      Once again the conservative lazy-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

    • Randall Smith

      The article did only say “most” of the 8,000 would lose their jobs. Somehow, I’m sure the executive suite will find a way to distribute some bonuses before turning out the lights.

      • MartinAlexander

        Actually as part of the sanction the USDE handed down the company isn’t allowed to pay bonuses or raise salaries…although I wonder if this will continue during its closure.

  • josiah

    When I first moved to California, I worked with a staffing agency that eventually placed me at Corinthian Colleges. This was the worst job I’ve ever had and literally hated myself every day when I came home from work.

    I was a “student services associate.” Those 1-800 numbers that flash on the commercial – you would be calling me.

    I can attest to some really deplorable tactics to get people to sign up. We mainly tried to capture enough information so that we could bother them about working in the future. We were instructed not to answer any questions but refer to a host of talking points. I probably have the training manual for it somewhere.

    I wrote a bloggie about it as soon as I left and am glad to see it shut down. I have all sorts of stats about how terrible they are.

    Anyway, I left that job and never came back after Christmas in 2012 taking an internship with the ACLU instead.

  • Dagmar

    ITT was in the student-loan business, not the education business. I represented an ITT student more than 30 years ago. Half the time he showed up for classes, there were no teachers.

    • josiah

      This is very common at for-profit universities.

  • Noob

    Question: If the Obama administration can realize the mistake of for-profit schools like ITT, why are they pushing charter schools so hard? Or am I misunderstanding their take on charter schools (via Arne Duncan), and/or taking too big a leap?

    • liberalrob

      Charter schools compete with the government-run public school systems covering education through 12th grade. For-profit trade “schools” like ITT Tech and DeVry operate(d) in a different environment.

      One of the big disappointments of the Obama Administration is their advocacy for charter schools. That has no business happening in a Democratic administration.

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