Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald to request that the VA fully reinstate the GI Bill benefits of any veteran who has used their benefits at ITT Technical Institute during the current calendar year, and has not yet obtained a degree or credential from the institution. On September 6, ITT Technical Institute permanently closed due to lack of compliance with federal accreditation standards, ultimately displacing nearly 1,000 students and 662 Hoosier employees.
“We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude, and one way we show that is through the post-9/11 GI Bill, which allows these brave men and women to earn an education at the institution of their choice when they return from serving our nation,” said Governor Pence. “Because of the closure of ITT Technical Institute and through no fault of their own, nearly 300 Hoosier servicemen and servicewomen, along with approximately 700 other students, are now prevented from completing their chosen pathway to a career. To assist all students affected, I’ve directed the Commission for Higher Education and the Department of Workforce Development to work together to develop a solution for these displaced students.”
Governor Pence has also directed the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to find a way to use available funding in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for students to take Prior Learning Assessments, in the event that their earned credits won’t transfer to the new institution of their choice.
“The last thing we want to see is a student, who has worked hard and overcome barriers to attend school, face even more hurdles as they work to find a new path to earning a degree in their chosen field,” said Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb. “That is why I fully support Governor Pence’s directive that the state’s lead education and workforce agencies find ways to ensure that these students don’t have to pay out-of-pocket simply to receive the necessary assessment to continue their education.”
“The Commission for Higher Education is committed to the academic and financial welfare of these displaced ITT students,” said Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers. “Working in partnership with Indiana’s higher education institutions, DWD and the Governor’s office, we are working to ensure all of these Hoosiers have the opportunity and support needed to finish their education.”
In addition to developing support systems for the students of ITT, DWD has activated their Rapid Response Teams to assist displaced ITT Technical Institute employees in the 5 affected regions of the state. They are reaching out to employees to connect them with local employment opportunities as well as providing resume assistance, interview workshops and skills assessments.
For up-to-date information, students can visit www.in.gov/che or 888-528-4719. Veterans can call the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs at 317-232-3910 for additional information. For up-to-date information on rapid response activities and available assistance, employees can call/email based on their affected region: Carmel/Indianapolis – email@example.com; Fort Wayne – 260-469-4308; Newburgh – 812-492-4509; South Bend – 574-237-9675, ext. 2541; Merrillville – 219-462-2940, ext. 41.