MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another for-profit college has shutdown, leaving thousands of students in a lurch.
ITT Educational Services closed its doors just days after the U.S. Department of Education banned it from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.
“When I first heard it, I thought it was a lie you know,” said student Carlson Pinder, “just rumors going around.”
Students, left in disbelief, showed up to South Florida campuses – hoping it was just a rumor.
But the company, which operates vocational schools, announced “with profound regret” in a statement Tuesday that it is ending academic operations at all of its more than 130 campuses across 38 states.
The company, based in Indiana, says its move will have an impact on hundreds of thousands of students and alumni as well as more than 8,000 employees.
ITT Educational Services says it was forced to take the action after the U.S. Department of Education issued sanctions August 25th, including a ban on enrolling new students who rely on federal financial aid.
“Being an international student, we actually pay cash for this,” Pinder said.
Now students are scrambling to figure out if their credits will transfer or if they’ll be refunded money they’ve already paid.
“I’ve been a student here since last year and hearing this news has just been horrible for my friends and I,” said another student, Johanna Delafe. “We’ve been together since last semester and just hearing this caught us all by surprise.”
CBS4’s Tiani Jones spoke with a few students who were just months from graduation, and today are worried about their future.
“I filled out a few papers and stuff for some government work and some private banks and so forth. Their people I spoke with told me once I’m done and I can come back and they’ll try and do something for me, but I don’t know. I guess that prolongs it now,” Pinder said.
“We were so close to graduating, we were six months away,” Delafe said. “They tell us, ‘You know, you’re here to be someone. We are going to make you that someone.’”
Earlier this year Mattia College, which had granted medical technology and nursing degrees for the last 22 years, shut down without any warning.
The school left a message hanging on its front door acknowledging that it “has been under restrictive cash management by the U.S. Department of Education” since the summer of 2015, adding that “due to financial constraints we are unable to continue to operate.”
Some faculty and staff members told CBS4 News they had not been paid in two months.
Another for-profit college, Coral Gables-based Dade Medical College, left 2,000 students in limbo when it abruptly shut down its six campuses in October, 2015. At the time, the school had been under scrutiny over its finances and the poor performance of its students on certification exams.