COLUMBUS, Ohio — Some Ohio colleges are fielding queries from potential transfer students left stranded in the midst of their studies when the for-profit chain ITT Technical Institute closed its campuses.
The for-profit college closed its more than 130 campuses across 38 states after the U.S. Department of Education banned it from enrolling new students paying tuition with federal financial aid. The college had nine campuses in Ohio.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Assistant Education Secretary Ted Mitchell say students can work with state institutions to transfer ITT credits into similar programs. Transfer fairs are also being organized on college campuses in the state.
Options for students:
The 40,000 current ITT students aren't left with many options and many could be stuck with student loans to pay off and no degree. The good news is that their federal loans could be wiped away.
Loan cancellation: Current students, or those who had withdrawn in the past 120 days, can apply to have their federal loans canceled, the government said Tuesday. To do so, first contact your loan servicer to find out how to apply for the cancellation. You'll likely need to submit a copy of your academic transcript. Parents who borrowed a Parent PLUS loan from the government to help their child pay for ITT are not eligible for loan cancellation.
It also does not apply to private loans. If you borrowed money from a private bank, you should contact that lender to ask if they might offer some debt relief.
For more information about how to receive a loan discharge from the federal government, check its ITT announcements page.
Transfer credits to a new school: This might not be easy, but those who are close to finishing their program may want to explore this option. On its website, ITT itself says that "credits earned are unlikely to transfer." The DOE said it was working with colleges near ITT campuses that have similar programs to help facilitate transfers.
If you are able to continue your program of study elsewhere and transfer your credits, you may not be able to have your federal loans discharged.
Currently enrolled ITT students will be contacted via email by the DOE with more information about their options.
Alumni: Those who graduated or withdrew from an ITT school more than 120 days ago are not eligible for federal debt relief because the school closed. They could, however, apply for what's called a "borrower defense to repayment" cancellation. In that case, the former student must prove that they were defrauded by the school. You will be asked to provide details about how the school may have violated a state law -- and unlike the case with Corinthian, that's not something the DOE has proved.