Statement by U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell Regarding Announced ITT Educational Services Inc. Closure, Education Department Plan to Support Students

Archived Information

Statement by U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell Regarding Announced ITT Educational Services Inc. Closure, Education Department Plan to Support Students

September 6, 2016

Following is the opening statement delivered today by Under Secretary Ted Mitchell in a press call with reporters to discuss the announced ITT Educational Services Inc. closure and the U.S. Department of Education's plan to support students.

Under Secretary Mitchell:

Thanks everyone for joining us today.

As I'm sure you know, ITT Educational Services, Inc. announced today that it is closing its campuses. We are holding this call to talk about what that means for current ITT students, to tell you about our plan to support students, and to enlist your help in making sure these students are aware of their options.

Roughly students have two options:

  • The first option is to have his or her federal loans discharged. Students who are currently enrolled at ITT Tech or who have withdrawn from ITT within the last 120 days may be eligible to have their federal student loans from their ITT program discharged through our closed school loan program. With their federal loan debt wiped away, students can then decide whether to restart their education somewhere new. To get started with the closed school process, students should call their loan servicer or visit studentaid.gov/ITT, which will be up and running shortly. We've taken care to ensure all of our servicers are providing helpful and accurate information about the closed school option to borrowers.

  • The second option is for students to continue their studies at another school. Students who are closer to completing their programs may wish to explore transferring their credits. It's important for students to know that if they 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.

Let me now tell you what we are doing to inform ITT students of their options and to make sure they have support to decide the right next step for them.

First, perhaps most importantly, we are contacting the thousands of students currently enrolled in ITT students today to alert them to the situation and let them know about their options.

In that message, we'll include a basic explanation of what ITT's closure means for them, and we'll link to a set of questions and answers they can review at studentaid.gov/ITT, and we'll make sure they know they can call 1-800-4-FED-AID for immediate assistance. A team of student aid professionals is standing by to answer their specific questions.

Beginning later this week, Federal Student Aid will host a series of webinars for students to walk through these options. The webinars will then be posted on the studentaid.gov/ITT website and will continue to serve as a resource for students as they make these important decisions.

In addition our FSA team will partner with states to host in-person transfer fairs at selected locations to inform students of their options. The details of these fairs will be posted at studentaid.gov/ITT.

In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to work closely with states and other partners as part of our plan.

For example, we are in close communication with state authorizing agencies and ITT to ensure ITT students have continued access to their transcripts. As students begin exploring where to resume their studies, they'll need their transcripts to demonstrate the coursework that they've completed. Getting access to those records should not be burdensome for students.

We are also working with regional and national accreditors who stand ready to help their schools with support on things like transfer of credit and prior learning assessment.

And we are speaking directly with schools to make sure there will be places for ITT students to go if they choose to continue their education elsewhere. I have personally encouraged many community college leaders to reach out to former ITT students, to explore which of their schools' programs are closely aligned to those offered by ITT, and—where it makes sense—to accept former ITT students as transfers. Today, I will send out a letter to a large group of targeted community college leaders whose colleges are near ITT campuses and have aligned programs. And we are holding calls with that group of community college leaders later today.

Each student will have to carefully evaluate his or her individual options and situation. As I mentioned, our 1-800-4-FED-AID is the number students can call to get information and ask questions. We are also working with a number of organizations to help students navigate their options based on their particular circumstances. And we'll share more about these resources in the coming days.

A lot goes into deciding where to go to college. For students who choose to restart or continue their education at another college, we encourage them to carefully consider factors like program quality and cost.

I'll take your questions in just a moment, but let me close with two thoughts:

First of all, we've talked about students continuing their education. As Secretary King said in his open letter this morning, we think that it is important for students to continue what they started. There is nothing more important than a college degree in today's economy and we stand behind the students who have made the decision to continue their education.

Second, we knew that when we stepped up our oversight of ITT, this outcome was a possibility and we have been planning for this contingency. As we said then, it wasn't a decision we took lightly. Ultimately, our responsibility is not to any individual institution—it's to protect all students and all taxpayers. I have no doubt that our decision to take action was the right one in service of these goals. But I also recognize that today's news may cause disruption, confusion, and disappointment to many of ITT's current students. We believe that enabling students to restart or continue their education at a different school will best serve them in the long run, and we remain firmly committed to helping students achieve their educational goals.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will be here to help those students understand their options, sort out their next steps, and connect them with others who can help.

Thanks again for joining us today and I look forward to your questions.