LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – When Leslie Jones made the decision to pursue a nursing degree – the mother of three knew it wouldn’t come easy with her busy schedule. She was doing patient intake at Suburban Hospital and felt inspired to become part of the compassionate care she continually saw from the nurses working around her.
At the advice of a co-worker, Jones enrolled in ITT Technical Institute’s nursing program in March 2015 and started studying full-time at the location off Dixie Highway. Little did she know, 18 months later, she would be locked out of the classroom and doubting if any other institutions would accept her nursing credits.
Jones stood outside the building Tuesday morning audibly questioning, “What am I going to do now?”
It’s the question being asked by 40,000 students and 8,000 employees around the country after the for-profit institution decided to abruptly shut down all of its operations – disrupting students’ education and putting the company’s employees out of work.
“I’m mad that I’ve wasted time and money. I’ve wasted time away from my family,” said Jones.
Hours earlier she had received an email from the school informing her that all of ITT Tech’s campuses were closing nationwide. There was no remedy or warning – just goodbye and good luck.
“I feel like the staff had to have known this was coming and to not give us a heads up – it’s just really betraying to us,” Jones said. “We’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into all of this – for nothing.”
The move comes on the heels of major sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education. The agency recently banned ITT Tech from enrolling students who depend on federal aid and ordered the for-profit institution to more than double its reserves. ITT Tech said Tuesday the financial burden was too much to bear, leaving them with no choice but to pull the plug on its operations nationwide.
“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services, Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after approximately 50 years of continuous service,” ITT Tech said in a statement. “With what we believe is a complete disregard by the U.S. Department of Education for due process to the company, hundreds of thousands of current students and alumni and more than 8,000 employees will be negatively affected.”
ITT Tech said the “very difficult” decision was made after exhausting other options, which included transferring the schools to a non-profit or public institution.
By the time Jones made it to ITT Tech Tuesday, she said she had already called multiple institutions in the Louisville area, only to find out they would not accept her nursing credits. She said a number of schools would only consider offering credit for general education classes completed at ITT Tech.
“Everybody’s just trying to better their situation, get a better education, get a better paying job and now we’re just stuck,” said Jones. “If we go anywhere else we’re gonna have to start all over.”
The decision to accept transferring credits is up the receiving institution. ITT Tech has articulation agreements with a number of schools that could help students as they search for a place to continue their education.
Locally, Sullivan University and Spencerian College issued a statement Tuesday saying they were poised to “help as many ITT students as possible to continue their education this fall.”
Students can request an official copy of their transcript through the ITT Tech student portal.