Nationwide ITT Technical Institute closure includes Everett

EVERETT — A technical college that billed itself as providing “an education for the future” is closing its doors in Everett and across the country.

Everett is one of more than 130 communities in 38 states where ITT Technical Institutes are shutting down.

The for-profit college Tuesday blamed its decision on “the actions of and sanctions from” the U.S. Department of Education. The federal agency said ITT required increased financial oversight in recent years and the company’s decisions have “put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded federal student aid at risk.”

Among other actions, the Department of Education required ITT to boost its cash reserves. In late August, the Department of Education announced it was no longer allowing ITT to enroll new students who received federal aid.

Last year, ITT reported almost $850 million in total revenue, roughly $580 million of which was sourced from federal aid dollars, according to federal statistics. In 2015, approximately 45,000 students were enrolled in ITT programs nationwide. Roughly 280 students attended the Everett campus in recent years.

As of Aug. 1, ITT Everett had 168 enrolled students, according to enrollment figures from the Washington Student Achievement Council, which recently cut off ITT from receiving state financial aid. In 2015-16, more than half of ITT students received a state grant.

In a press release Tuesday, ITT leaders said: “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.”

A voicemail message left at the Everett campus was not returned on Tuesday.

“The school has and will continue to communicate directly to students,” Nicole Elam, a national ITT spokeswoman, said in an email. “Helping students with their records and identify future educational options is our priority.”

Local college as well as state and federal education officials hope to help ITT students left in the lurch.

“Students who were receiving state financial aid were contacted last week,” said Emily Persky, a spokeswoman for the Washington Student Achievement Council.

“We will do everything in our power to be helpful and ensure current ITT students don’t shoulder the burden of the school’s bad behavior,” U.S. Secretary of Education John King said during an Aug. 25 press conference.

Everett Community College could end up enrolling some of the displaced ITT students.

“We know ITT students received a letter today and have already started calling our offices,” Laurie Franklin, EvCC’s dean of enrollment and student services, said Tuesday.

It could be difficult for them to enroll by fall quarter, which begins Sept. 19. Information sessions are being planned and details will be posted on the college’s website. Several factors must be considered, including credits eligible for transfer and financial aid.

“This news came suddenly to us, too,” Franklin said. “We continue to commit to the needs of our community.”

Everett Community College and other schools also have been working with students from Trinity Lutheran College, which closed its downtown Everett campus last spring. The liberal arts Christian college was founded in 1944 and moved to Everett in 2008.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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