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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a brave move for Martha Hernandez Trenzado – going back to school in her late 40s.
But she was determined, and for the last two and half years she spent her nights in class at the Hialeah campus of ITT Tech.
In spite of health issues, she maintained good grades, reached her goal and finished.
“I really pushed myself,” she said. “This is my livelihood. I basically worked so that I could pursue a better life for myself my husband and my children, and now I don’t have that.”
She’s now locked out after the school announced it is permanently closing all its campuses.
The school blamed the U.S. Education Department’s ban on ITT from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.
But when they shut their doors, they left thousands of students like Trenzado with a lot of questions.
“Nobody’s been able to tell me, ‘Yes, you’re going to get the diploma you earned. Yes, you worked for it, it was a struggle and you’re going to get it.’”
She doesn’t even know if she’ll be able to get proof of her work.
No transcript, no diploma, not even a graduation ceremony that she passed out invitations for.
“The ceremony would’ve been great, but it’s about having that piece of paper that acknowledges,” she said. “I can’t even take the state board exam because I don’t have this paper.”
A paper that she believes can open doors to a career and more money to help pay for medical bills and the more than $40,000 of tuition she’s paid ITT Tech.
“It’s hard. My voice cracks because I put in a lot of effort and not only myself but the other students that were with me,” she said.