ITT to close all Ohio locations

ITT Technical Institute, the for-profit college chain with locations in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati, announced today it is closing its 130 sites nationwide.

“The actions of and sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education have forced us to cease operations,” ITT’s parent company, ITT Educational Services Inc., said. “We reached this decision only after having exhausted the exploration of alternatives, including transfer of the schools to a nonprofit or public institution.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education banned ITT Educational Services from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid. The school has been the subject of state and federal investigations focusing on its recruiting and accounting practices.

ITT was ordered to pay $152 million to the federal department within 30 days to cover student refunds and other liabilities in case the company closes. The chain, based in Indiana, is still paying another $44 million demanded by the department in June for the same reason.

John Ware, executive director of the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools, said ITT has nine locations in Ohio with about 2,000 students enrolled.

Ware said the state board has been working on a plan to help students effected by the closing.

“We anticipated this was a possibility after the feds made their announcement two weeks ago. We have been working with ITT and the Department of Education so we can let students know their options,” Ware said.

Students enrolled at the school have two basic options: They can try to transfer to another school or apply to be discharged from their federal loans. In most cases, area schools will not allow students to transfer all of their credits from ITT.

Sinclair College spokesman Adam Murka said his school has started receiving inquiries from ITT students. Sinclair began classes two weeks ago, but Murka said students could enroll in a shorter “B term” that is offered this quarter.

An email will be sent on Wednesday by the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools to all enrolled ITT students explaining their options, according to Ware. Ware said ITT has set up a web portal to explain options, but students have complained to Ware’s office that it is not working.

There is no one answering phones at the school’s Stop Eight Road location north of Dayton in Vandalia.

ITT has more than 40,000 students who remain eligible for federal aid. The company said it was letting go a majority of its 8,000 employees nationwide. More than 200 work in Ohio.

The school offers two- and four-year degree programs in information technology, drafting and design, electronics technology, business and health sciences.

Ware said the number of career colleges registered in Ohio has dipped from a peak of 311 five years ago, to 250. And the number of students served by those schools has been cut almost in half in that span, from 96,744 to 51,718.

The Art Institute of Ohio in Cincinnati and Brown Mackie College’s Cincinnati and Findlay campuses recently stopped accepting new students as well.

After 100 years in Dayton, Miami-Jacobs announced in July it would no longer accept new students at its Dayton, Springboro, Troy and Sharonville campuses.

“We will assist students in transferring to other schools if they choose to continue their education and training elsewhere,” spokesman Chuck Vella said in July. “This was a difficult but necessary decision.”

Miami-Jacobs kept its Columbus and Cleveland campuses open for students.

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