Department of Education Announces New Resources, Continues Efforts to Aid Students Impacted by Recent School Closures

Archived Information

Department of Education Announces New Resources, Continues Efforts to Aid Students Impacted by Recent School Closures

September 19, 2016
On September 19th U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell participated in a press call to discuss ongoing efforts to support students impacted by recent school closures. He was joined by Chief Executive Officer of Beyond 12 Alexandra Bernadotte and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. To access the press call recording, please click here.

The U.S. Department of Education today joined Beyond 12 and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) in announcing the launch of a new online package of supports to aid students affected by college closures. The resources, available at NextStepsEdu.org, will match students with experienced financial aid and academic counselors throughout the country who can provide critical guidance as they determine how best to continue their studies.

“Here at the Department we won’t stop working to ensure ITT students remain inspired to pursue the promise of a higher education,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. “I am grateful to the Beyond 12 and NASFAA teams for their leadership, creativity and commitment to aiding students affected by school closures.”

Beyond 12 helps students pursue their higher education dreams by tracking student progress, connecting them with resources and supports and providing individualized, virtual coaching. With a network of K-12, college and non-profit partners, Beyond 12 is currently tracking the postsecondary progress of more than 40,000 students and coaching nearly 2,000 students nationally. With roughly 2,500 postsecondary member institutions nationwide, NASFAA is an active network of nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals dedicated to the principle that no student be denied access to a quality postsecondary education for lack of financial resources.

"We stepped up because we saw an urgent need for the education community to rally around students caught in the demise of their school,” said Beyond 12 CEO, Alexandra Bernadotte. “We are proud of this initiative and pleased to share our experience to provide displaced students with the help they need to make informed decisions about their next educational steps.”

Next Steps EDU advisors will respond to questions from students, by email, phone and text message, about academic, financial aid, and federal loan discharge options. All advisors are professionals working in the field of education and will be pre-screened and trained before being matched with students.

“When students are in need, financial aid administrators answer the call,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “NASFAA is pleased to be involved in this effort and thankful for the financial aid administrator volunteers who are eager to help displaced students understand their financial aid options moving forward.”

Also, the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Labor have partnered with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid to help in building awareness of options and resources for students. Representatives from the VA have joined webinars to assist with questions that are unique to veterans and service members impacted by the closure. The Department of Labor will provide information to its network of nearly 2,500 American Job Centers (AJCs) about options available to former students from recent school closings. Additionally, employees displaced by school closings can access reemployment assistance services at their local AJC.

The Department has developed a resource hub designed for financial aid professionals on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. There, financial aid professionals and other partners, including Next Steps EDU advisors, can access resources to aid in their efforts to assist former ITT students, such as state-specific tuition refund guidance and credit transfer policies for accreditors nationwide. The Department will continue updating this hub with new FAQs, and additional state-specific resources. Counselors with questions about how to support ITT students should email supportITTstudents@ed.gov.

Building on Efforts to Support Former ITT Students

Shortly after ITT Technical Institutes announced the closure of its 130 campuses, the Department contacted the roughly 35,000 enrolled students to share guidance about their options for continuing their education. Students enrolled at the time of the announced closure, or students who withdrew after May 6, 2016, may seek closed school discharge of the federal loans they incurred while enrolled in ITT. To begin that process, students should contact their federal loan servicer, or complete the application mailed by their servicer. With their federal loan debt wiped away, students can begin anew at another institution. A second option is to attempt to transfer credits to another school and resume their studies. Students who are closer to completing their programs may wish to explore transferring their credits. If students are able to transfer their credits into a similar program of study, some or all of their loans will no longer be eligible for discharge.

A second email was sent to these students on Sept. 14, reminding them of the webinar and transfer fair schedules, and encouraging them to contact the Department with questions or visit our ITT student resource page for more information. And, in partnership with the VA, Federal Student Aid has hosted 11 webinars for former ITT students with five more scheduled. To date, federal student aid professionals have had almost 22,000 interactions with ITT impacted students.

In a blog post entitled, “Helping ITT Students Find a Way Forward ” Under Secretary Mitchell details additional steps the Department has taken to support former ITT students, including outreach to colleges nationwide, encouraging them to consider accepting ITT students. The Department is also partnering with state authorizers and engaging institutional accreditors to enlist their support.