State Agencies, Colleges Combine Efforts to Help Hoosiers Affected by ITT Technical Institute Closure

Indianapolis – At a press conference, state agency leaders—including Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steve Braun, and Department of Veteran Affairs Director Jim Brown—joined representatives from Indiana colleges to outline efforts to assist the more than 1,000 students and 662 employees affected by the closure of ITT Technical Institute.

“After the abrupt closure of ITT Technical Institute, I directed the Commission for Higher Education and the Department of Workforce Development to work together to help the students now displaced from their education programs,” said Governor Pence. “I’m proud to say that our agencies took swift action and have partnered with five Indiana colleges to help ensure these students have opportunities to continue their studies. It is my hope that affected students will find that our state agencies and many Indiana colleges around the state are ready and willing to help each student find the solution that’s right for them.”

The Cabinet officials were joined by leaders from Ivy Tech Community College, WGU Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University, Harrison College and Oakland City University to share plans to protect the financial and academic welfare of the former ITT students.

“Hoosier students come first. In directing our agencies to lead this coalition, Governor Pence and I have ensured that a gameplan exists to not only protect the interest of ITT students in Indiana, but to provide them all the information they will need to make the best possible decisions for their futures,” said Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb. “We have already called upon the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to reinstate used GI Benefits for our servicemen and women, and the State will continue to aggressively pursue every possible tool to make this transition a smooth one for all our students.”

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has posted information on its homepage (che.in.gov) to serve as a starting point for students with questions about their options moving forward. Resources include students’ financial options as well as information and contacts for the Indiana colleges partnering to help ITT students determine the best options for continuing their postsecondary educations.

“We must ensure the students affected by ITT’s closure don’t lose their resolve to earn a postsecondary education,” Commissioner Lubbers said. “A variety of opportunities exist to finish their degree or credential, and Indiana’s colleges are committed to working directly with these students to help them achieve their aspiration for higher education.”

Ivy Tech Community College President Sue Ellspermann announced Ivy Tech’s efforts and partnership with Indiana colleges to host statewide events at Ivy Tech campuses where ITT Technical Institute students can come and meet with representatives from all participating colleges to explore opportunities for continuing their degrees. The first of these events will be held 4-7 p.m. (EDT) Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at the Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis campus. Details are available at www.ivytech.edu/itt.

“These students live and work in our communities, and as the state’s community college we are committed to reaching out and assisting them in achieving their educational goals,” President Ellspermann said. “We are doing this in partnership with other institutions of higher education around the state to ensure these students are presented with all of their options.”

On Friday, September 9, 2016, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb 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 veterans who used their benefits at ITT Technical Institute during the current calendar year but have not yet obtained a degree or credential.

“Indiana’s veterans should not be unfairly penalized for ITT’s abrupt closure,” Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs Director Jim Brown said. “That’s why I joined with Governor Pence and Lt. Governor Holcomb to ensure we fulfill our promise of a higher education for these men and women to whom we owe a great debt for their dedicated to service to our country.”

The state is also taking steps to support the 662 employees at ITT Tech’s six Indiana campuses and corporate office in Carmel. Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Commissioner Steve Braun outlined the agency’s Rapid Response efforts to assist displaced ITT Tech employees in the five affected regions of the state. Rapid Response teams are reaching out to employees to connect them with local employment opportunities as well as providing resume assistance, interview workshops, and skills assessments.

“ITT Tech’s closure brings a lot of questions and uncertainty from employees, students and the community at large,” said Braun. “Our goal is to address those concerns by pairing displaced employees with knowledgeable WorkOne staff to guide them toward a plan for re-employment as soon as possible.”

 

Resources for Students

  • Visit www.che.in.gov to access all resources and information in one location.

 

  • Transcripts: Students who have been affected by the ITT closure may access unofficial transcripts and records through ITT’s website and should submit a formal request for their official transcript through the Indiana Archives and Records Administration.

 

  • Loan Forgiveness: Some ITT students may be eligible to have their federal loans discharged. Students should go directly to the US Department of Education website to learn about eligibility and steps required to apply for a closed-school loan discharge.

 

  • Adult Scholarships and Resources: For adult learners, Indiana’s You Can. Go Back. initiative provides $1,000 scholarships and a college-match app to help adult Hoosiers find the right program for their unique needs and aspirations. Learn more at YouCanGoBack.org.

 

  • Learn More Indiana: Students should explore their options carefully before deciding to enroll and invest in a postsecondary program. There are many resources available to help Hoosiers make the best decisions aligned to their personal goals, financial situations and scheduling needs. LearnMoreIndiana.org is a State-sponsored online resource for Hoosier students to learn about different college programs and potential return on investment one, five and ten years after graduating.

 

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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