CHAMPION, Ohio (WYTV) – Kent State University at Trumbull is working to help former ITT Technical Institute students who were displaced when their campuses suddenly closed last week.
“More than anything else, we wanted to give students an opportunity to encounter a real person to ask questions from,” said Dr. Lance Grahn, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer at Kent State Trumbull.
More than 35,000 students nationwide were affected by the closure, including students at the Austintown ITT campus.
The for-profit college chain, ITT Educational Services, announced campuses would close as a result of a decision by the Department of Education to ban the company from taking new students with federal aid.
Kent Trumbull leaders held a “Let’s Make a Plan” information session Wednesday night, answering questions about credits, programs and more.
“Our hearts go out to these students,” said Jim Ritter, Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Kent Trumbull. “Each one of those 35,000 students represents someone who is pursuing a better life, and now they have to abruptly shift gears and find another option.”
About 30 former ITT students and family members heard from an academic advisor and the school’s financial aid leader.
The good news is that Kent State Trumbull offers three technical degree programs that may work for some of them.
“Students are disappointed. They’re angry, they’re scared and we wanted to help them find a way to finish that project that they had started,” Grahn said.
While local schools are trying to help out, those students face some tough decisions. They can transfer some of their credits to schools like Kent State Trumbull, but receive no loan forgiveness. The other option is to lose the loans, but then they would also lose their credits.
Administrators realize it’s not an easy choice.
“It’s a very tough decision, but we have advisors available all next week and even after that, to work with students on a one-on-one basis to determine what’s best for them,” Ritter said.
Academic advisors are offering their time for free, making sure former ITT students know the next steps.
“At Eastern Gateway, at YSU or Kent State, we’re all here, ready to help,” Grahn said.
To further assist students, Kent State Trumbull said it is waiving its $40 application fee.