COD to aid in cleanup of the ITT Tech crisis

Bridget Kingston , News Editor

In response to the recent wave of stranded students after the abrupt closing of ITT Technical Institute, College of DuPage will host an Educational and Career Planning opportunity on Sept. 22 in SSC 2206 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will provide adversely affected individuals with the opportunity to speak with COD faculty, staff and administration about continuing their education, career advisement and handling of federal student loans and debt.

COD President Ann Rondeau stated in an email that the college feels a responsibility to respond to requests from the Illinois Community College Board and Higher Learning Commission to aid the ITT Tech students in any way possible.

“Above all,” Rondeau said, “as Illinois’ largest community college, it is our higher calling to help these people. I have been very pleased with how readily our faculty leadership, administrators and staff have moved to respond to this situation.”

The federal government stopped providing financial aid for ITT Tech students, forcing the for-profit institution to shut down on Sept. 6. The sudden shut down of over 130 campuses left 40,000 ITT students across the nation searching for new schools and 8,000 employees without a job.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Earl Dowling explained that the series of events to take place on Thursday completely depends on the individual.

“We developed this program for them.” Dowling said. “We’re going to bring together all the people on campus who know what they’re talking about to give them whatever services they may need.” Counselors, advisors and faculty from the student records and financial assistance offices will come together to help the former ITT students evaluate the next steps in their educational career.

Illinois was home to four ITT campus locations: Orland Park, Oak Brook, Arlington Heights and Springfield. They served about 1,400 students. It is expected that COD will gain the majority of its potential ITT Tech students from the Oak Brook campus, which is located 10 miles east of the college.

ITT Tech’s fall term was set to begin Sept. 12. Since the majority of colleges and universities have already started up fall classes again, the students are left scrambling to find last minute options.

Questions are also being raised about outstanding federal student loans and the deep debt many students will soon face.  U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. acknowledged these concerns in a blog post addressed to ITT Tech students directly the day the institute closed its doors.

If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT,” King said, “you may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. Your federal loan debt will be wiped away, and you will have the option of restarting your education somewhere new.”