More than 40,000 students and 8,000 employees of ITT Educational Services Inc. are grappling with the loss of jobs and educational opportunities after officials at the proprietary school chain announced Tuesday it would close all of its campuses amid heightened scrutiny from the federal government.
“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 more than 50 years of continuous service,” the company said in a 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.”
DOE announced last month that it was cutting off federal aid to new students on all ITT campuses, including at least five in the D.C. region.
That extraordinary step followed much high-profile scrutiny of ITT’s practices. Just days later, the company announced it would cease enrolling new students.
While it’s unclear what options remain for the tens of thousands students enrolled at ITT institutes across the country, officials said its “focus and priority with our remaining staff is on helping the tens of thousands of unexpectedly displaced students with their records and future educational options.”
In a message to current ITT students, U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. wrote that they have two options: apply to the department to have their loans discharged or transfer their credits to a different institution.
“Whatever you choose to do, do not give up on your education,” King wrote. “Higher education remains the clearest path to economic opportunity and security.”
The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that two ITT employees had filed a lawsuit asserting that the company had violated a federal law requiring that 60 days notice be given for any large-scale layoffs. The suit seeks class-action status.