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UNT offers to transfer in students following ITT Tech shutdown

UNT offers to transfer in students following ITT Tech shutdown

September 21
19:54 2016

UNT will begin welcoming new students after ITT Technical Institute announced Sept. 6 that they were closing all 137 campuses across the nation. The shutdown was the result of several federal sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education for misuse and abuse of financial aid funding, causing stock values on the institution to plummet and go bankrupt.

“Basically it’s like the Federal Government is dishing out money. Like your parents, if they dished out money and then see that you’re not using it correctly or you’re abusing it, then they’re going to quit giving it to you,” Associate Director of Admissions Myra Hafer said. “Probably 90 percent to 95 percent of their students [were] on financial aid, and they’re a proprietary school, meaning they operate for money. So they recruit and go after students with financial aid because they know that they can get money.”

After the shutdown of all 137 campuses, nearly 40,000 students, some set to graduate the week of the shutdown, were unable to complete their degree plans due to their ITT Tech credits being almost nontransferable. Because UNT is a member of the North Texas Community College Consortium, the university compiled a list of ITT Tech students and began reaching out to them in hopes that they would transfer to UNT.

The NTCCC is a regional network that provides professional development opportunities for its member institutions.

“One of the challenges we faced was there really wasn’t a place to reach out [to students] because ITT very quickly began pulling things down,” Celia Williamson, Associate Vice President for Enrollment, said.

As soon as the announcement regarding the shutdown was made, NTCCC downloaded catalogues, degree programs and any other information they could capture off of the ITT Tech website. The NTCCC hosted a meeting the week following the shutdown for all the surrounding community colleges in order to share information.

Thanks to the proximity of an ITT Tech campus in Richardson, TX, the NTCCC started connecting with students impacted by the shutdown and began recruiting them to UNT and other North Texas community colleges. UNT’s degree programs allow former ITT Tech students to transfer their credits whereas many other universities do not.

“These students are very appreciative of us accepting them and for trying to get them here,” Hafer said. “It’s not only in the Metroplex area, but all over the U.S. that they have reached out to UNT. I think they just saw that we were a caring institution, and I believe that made a difference. If nothing else, they’ve told people out there that we care.”

With the degree plan available at UNT, ITT Tech credits, when transferred, can bring in an entire associate degree with only a handful of other classes needed to receive a bachelor’s degree.

“Most of the credits that are generated by ITT Tech and similar technical schools are Work Force credits, or Technical credits,” Williamson said. “Those credits can only transfer into certain academic programs at UNT, and typically those are Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science degrees because the companion degree at the community college is called an Associate of Arts and Science [degree]. There’s a whole range of associate degrees that they can get with those Work Force or Technical credits.”

So far, 12 ITT Tech students have been enrolled in the Fall 2016 semester, with members of the Office of Enrollment and the Office of Admissions currently in contact with a couple hundred more across the nation.

While at first it would seem like a better option to transfer their credits, Hafer said starting over on their major might be the better choice depending on the student’s progress.

“If they come to us and they use their ITT credits and they had debt, then they’ll have to start paying that back,” Hafer said. “If they come to us and they don’t use them or go for another major, then they have financial aid forgiveness.”

Hafer explained that most of the transfer students who are close to getting their degree will choose to go ahead and use their credits. Students who are not close are the ones who would benefit from looking at different majors.

An Open House will be held at the UNT Frisco campus location on Sept. 21 to help ITT Tech transfer students get connected with the academic program, how to transfer credits, understanding their Financial Aid and how to apply any Veteran’s benefits. For Williamson, the Open House is also a chance for UNT to officially welcome these new students to the Mean Green Family.

“It’s got to be a pretty traumatic experience for the students to be just starting classes and then walk into a situation where they have closed doors and no opportunity to even talk to their institution because it’s been completely closed down,” Williamson said. “They’re sitting there thinking they had this path in front of them and then that door gets closed. What we hope is that they’ll begin to see that even though that was a traumatic event, there are things they can do that even go beyond what they think they can do. We’re hoping they see it as a silver lining.”

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Steven Payne

Steven Payne

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