On Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, more than 100 former students proclaimed that they would not repay their federal student loans for the courses they took at ITT Technical Institute. They declared that they are not ready to bear the consequences of the U.S. Department of Education’s negligence.
The students of ITT Technical Institute have launched a debt strike in protest for the injustice that is being done to them. They claim that the federal student loan program was not effective enough to protect them and many others. They stated that the credits they earned at ITT Technical Institute are worthless. The students also complained that, due to this issue, they will be unable to repay the debts they are under.
In August 2016, the federal authorities barred the institute from enrolling new students using the federal loan program to pay for their tuition. The ITT Technical Institute later closed all of its campuses around the country, on Sept. 6, 2016.
As per the authorities, ITT Tech used predatory tactics to recruit students and, more often than not, made false claims regarding its programs and success rates. The institute shut down all of its 136 campuses, in 35 states. As a result, the students launched a strike to make the federal program waive their loans.
The institute released a statement, which reads that it is regretfully discontinuing all academic operations, after 50 years of service. The school further claimed that this incident would negatively impact the alumni, current students, and more than 8,000 employees. This would be a result of complete disregard from the United States Department of Education, toward the due process owed ITT Tech, added the institute.
The federal and state authorities performed investigations on Corinthian Colleges Inc., for deceptive advertising, last year. The U.S. Department of Education declared that the school had misled students, as well as, loan agencies. As a result, the institute had to shut down. Corinthian Colleges Inc. filed for bankruptcy in May 2015. When this occurred, 200 of Corinthian’s students launched a debt strike, so the authorities would waive their loans.
Dept Collective is the activist group leading the current strike. It has organized the strike for 1,400 of the students of ITT Technical Institute who are under the debts as a result of the school’s fraud, as claimed. The ITT Tech students launched this debt strike with the hope of complete loan forgiveness.
The debts of the students could be canceled if the government believes they were defrauded when accepting the loans. This is as per a federal law provision, which had not been helpful earlier as the right was not advertised by the U.S. Department of Education or the loan contractors. The general public was not made aware of this provision until after the Corinthian incident. Since then, tens of thousands of students have filed the application.
Schools from Indiana and Pennsylvania Come to the Aid of ITT Student
The schools from Indiana and Pennsylvania, have come to the aid of the students suffering from the ITT incident.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has teamed up with more than 20 Pennsylvania schools and various organizations. Community colleges and other institutes are willing to either give the students an opportunity to transfer their ITT credits or have another instructor continue with their remaining classes.
As for Indiana, many universities and colleges have offered incentives to students who have been affected by ITT’s failure. The Ivy Tech Community College is planning to waive the test-out fees for the students. Indiana is also offering loan forgiveness to students who had previously attended the community college.
Forgiving the debts of ITT students could mean that the burden would be borne by the taxpayers. After the Corinthian incident, President Obama’s administration started to work on the new standards for such a case. The guidelines have still not been set. The Dept Collective claims that the government has the funds and authority to waive the debts. They added that this could be compensated with the interest from the student loan repayment program.
ITT spokesperson, Nikole Elam, claims that the actions of the U.S. Department of Education were not on the basis of revelations that ITT defrauded the students, even as the students launched the debt strike.
By Abdullah Sultan Usmani
Edited by Jeanette Smith
The Christian Science Monitor: Should the government forgive debt students racked up at ITT Tech?
Bloomberg: Former ITT Tech Students Launch Debt Strike
HTO: Indiana schools offer incentives to former ITT tech students
Penn Live: Pennsylvania schools reach out to help abandoned ITT tech students
CBS Baltimore: ITT technical Institute Closes All Campuses
Consumnes Connection: Shocker as ITT technical Institute shuts down all locations
Image by Dwight Burdette Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain License