ITT stops enrolling students at area locations

ITT Technical Institute is not enrolling new students at all of its locations following a ban last week from the U.S. Department of Education, the school announced on its website.

ITT, a for-profit college chain, has locations in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education banned ITT Educational Services, the company that operates ITT, from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid. It did not ban the school from enrolling other students.

Department officials announced the action on Thursday amid a series of measures that could threaten the survival of the chain, which has been the subject of state and federal investigations focusing on its recruiting and accounting practices.

A person who answered the phone at the Stop Eight Road location north of Dayton in Vandalia could not say if the school was open for students and referred all questions to a corporate spokeswoman.

ITT has more than 40,000 students who remain eligible for federal aid. Should ITT close, the Education Department has suggested it will forgive the federal loans of existing students.

ITT has been 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.

The education department also has prohibited ITT from awarding its executives any pay raises or bonuses, and it must develop “teach-out” plans that would help current students finish their programs at other colleges if the chain shuts down.

Under the new measures, current students can continue receiving federal grants and loans.

Education Secretary John King said the government is taking action to protect students and taxpayers following “troubling” findings about the company. This month, a group that accredits ITT found that the chain failed to meet several basic standards and was unlikely to comply in the future.

“It simply would not be responsible or in the best interest of students to allow ITT to continue enrolling new students who rely on federal financial aid,” King said during a telephone conference with reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.