BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — ITT Technical Institute, which has more than 140 locations in 35 states, is ceasing operations immediately, it announced Tuesday.
“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 approximately 50 years of continuous service,” a release states. “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.”
Last month, the Department of Education banned the for-profit college from enrolling new students using federal aid after state and federal investigations on its recruiting and accounting practices.
At that time, ITT was ordered to pay $152 million to the department within 30 days to cover student refunds and other liabilities in case it closed. The chain, based in Indiana, was still paying another $44 million demanded by the department in June for the same reason.
Education Secretary John King said the government was trying to protect students and taxpayers following “troubling” findings about the company. A group that accredits ITT found in August that the chain failed to meet several basic standards and was unlikely to comply in the future.
Last year, ITT Tech enrolled 45,000 students and reported $850 million in revenue. It’s one of the biggest for-profit chains in the nation, and it has been under increasing scrutiny from the education department following allegations of misconduct.
The Massachusetts attorney general sued the company in April, alleging that it misled students about the quality of its programs. The federal government had previously sued the chain, saying that it pushed students into high-cost private student loans knowing they would likely end in default.
“We reached this decision only after having exhausted the exploration of alternatives, including transfer of the schools to a non-profit or public institution,” the statement went on to say. “Effective today, the company has eliminated the positions of the overwhelming majority of our more than 8,000 employees. Our 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.”
Under President Barack Obama, the Education Department has led a crackdown on for-profit colleges that have misled students or failed to deliver the results they promised.
In 2014, the department cut off federal aid to the Corinthian Colleges chain amid allegations of fraud, leading it to close or sell all of its schools.
There are two ITT Tech campuses in Maryland, one in Owings Mills and one in Hanover.
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