by David Safier
[U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr.] said Tuesday that his agency did not take its action lightly and that federal officials were committed to helping ITT’s students.
“The school’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded federal student aid at risk,” King said in a blog post.
“We made a difficult choice to pursue additional oversight in order to protect you, other students and taxpayers from potentially worse educational and financial damage in the future if ITT was allowed to continue operating without increased oversight and assurances to better serve students,” he said.
King said current or recently enrolled students could be eligible to have their student loan debt forgiven and might be able to transfer ITT credits to another school.
The Education Department on Tuesday sent an email to ITT’s 35,000 enrolled students to alert them of the closure and options available to them, said Ted Mitchell, the undersecretary of education.
The department has a team of employees ready to answer telephone questions at 800-4FEDAID, has a special website for ITT students and is planning a series of webinars to help them figure out their options, he said.
“We think that it is important for students to continue what they started,” Mitchell told reporters on a conference call. “There’s nothing more important than a college degree in today’s economy.”
Students who were enrolled or had withdrawn from ITT within the past 120 days have two options, Mitchell said.
They could apply to have their federal student loans forgiven. Information is available at the department’s ITT website of by calling the loan servicer.
Students also could try to transfer their ITT credits to another school. But if those credits are transferred to the same program of studies at another school, the loans for the ITT credits would not be eligible to be forgiven, Mitchell said.