We’ve all seen them. You know those commercials that come on television during early afternoons, promising folks the ability to obtain a subpar education quickly so they can get to work. I, for one, can’t stand those damn commercials.
They have always seemed less than truthful and it amazed me how they were actually getting away with it. Luckily, their unscrupulous practices have been scrutinized lately and as a result, one fairly popular for-profit school has recently shut its doors.
Yeah, that’s right — ITT Tech will no longer be pumping out students and staking claim to $850 million dollars in revenue a year. I can’t say I’m particularly sad about it either.
Now don’t get me wrong — I have no doubt that this school might have worked for some folks. It may have had a positive impact on some student’s lives, but I still believe something in the water wasn’t clean about the favorable statistics they always seemed to claim as true.
I mean if it was so kosher why else would they shut their doors after the Department of Education basically decides to ban them from enrolling students who received federal student loans (besides the obvious reason of losing funding)? What were you doing to elicit such a reaction from the big dogs down in DC?
ITT made one heck of a profit off the belief their students placed in them to assist them with getting their degree or certificate quickly through an accelerated program. The less time one spends in school has its perks as it translates into getting educated, going after a better career, and landing a better paycheck.
Heck, I like the sound of this myself; however, I know all too well that the so-called testimonials in those made for television commercials — performed by actors, nonetheless — sounded too good to be true. A quality education isn’t something you can stuff down your throat and neither should it be. A degree is worthless if the training and knowledge can’t be put to good use in the workforce.
It’s obvious TV colleges, as I like to call them, are appealing to a certain demographic for very specific reasons. These students who like the idea of going to college at night and doing so quickly, have families and full-time job responsibilities.
Or perhaps they are young teenagers who don’t want to pursue a traditional higher education. Maybe they are single parents who are sacrificing time away from their kids to obtain a degree so they can create a better future for themselves.
Whatever the story is, they were drawn to institutions like these because they trusted them to supply them with the knowledge and skills necessary to move forward, not backwards. Unfortunately, the latter is exactly what happens when these type of schools close their doors on the many unsuspecting students that believed they would be guaranteed a job if they attended this school.
Despite my growing frustration over the years with this type of set-up, I empathize with the many students who have been left in the dust amid the speculation that these schools are pretty much garbage. But I’ll lay my opinion to the side for now and discuss some things students can do when these schools close so they can move forward with their educational pursuits.
1) Walk away from your credits.
One option is to walk away from credits. This would totally suck considering the amount of time dedicated to class and studying; however, it would at least spare them the debt. Current and recent students can have their federal loans discharged because of school closure. If you used private loans, unfortunately this won’t be an option. Those who decide to receive a discharge of their federal loans will forfeit their credits and be able to move forward with obtaining their degree somewhere else.
2) Transfer your credits.
The other option available is to keep and transfer credits. This may be appealing to students who don’t want to start all over again. They can work with the Department of Education to have their credits transferred to participating schools. The only drawback is they won’t be eligible for a closed school discharge of their student loans. This option isn’t such a bad resolution for those who used private loans to finance their ITT Tech credits.
This is a rather unfortunate set of events that has disrupted the educational path of over 35,000 students and have left many staff members without a job. However, I’m looking on the brighter side because hopefully this means we are moving one step in the right direction to making sure students aren’t taken advantage of by schools whose only mission is to provide students with a half-assed education that will get them nowhere. Just hopefully this will put an end to the era of TV colleges. Or am I hoping for too much?