HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A major for-profit higher education group is shuttering more than 100 campuses across the country, including seven in Pennsylvania, and laying off some 8,000 employees.
Now students and alumni are left wondering what’s next.
The main door of the Harrisburg ITT Technical Institute campus was unlocked Tuesday, but the halls were empty and signs were posted saying the school would be closed Monday and Tuesday for Labor Day. The branch, though, is closed for good.
“Right now I’m going online to pull up my latest bills,” Charles Boyd said, scrolling down a website on his laptop outside his Harrisburg home.
Boyd has plenty of bills from his two years studying computer electronic engineering technology at ITT Tech.
“This one here is my first one,” he said, pulling up a bill. “As you can see, it still shows $34,446 still left to pay.”
That’s a loan from the government.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education told the for-profit company it had to stop accepting students like Boyd with federal financial aid because of questionable recruiting and financial practices.
Tuesday, parent company ITT Educational Services, Inc. shut down all 130 branches and canceled fall classes.
In a statement, the company blamed the federal government’s decision. “The damage done to our students and employees,” the statement reads in part, “as well as to our shareholders and the American taxpayers, is irrevocable.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Education said the 2,000 ITT Tech students statewide can try to finish their degree at another school. But it’s unclear how that process would work and how many credits will transfer for students finishing their educations elsewhere.
“It is tough to predict how many credits would transfer and we would do those evaluations on a student-by-student basis,” Steve Infanti, spokesman for Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, wrote in an email.
Infanti said the college offers scholarships for transfer students. And the state Education Department said some of them might even be eligible for loan forgiveness.
“It makes me mad, but it also makes me a little sick,” Boyd said.
It’s not clear what might happen to his loan or, for that matter, his resume.
“You know, I have my transcripts, but what does that mean?” he said. “They’re not even going to be a school anymore, so does the associate’s degree I got from them mean anything?”