PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When ITT Technical Institute suddenly closed its doors in Pittsburgh three years ago, it left a lot of students like Patrick Richards in the lurch.
“I’m just really concerned right now about what will happen with all my loans,” said ITT student Patrick Richards at the time.
He’s hardly alone.
Students and graduates across the country felt defrauded and on the hook when their for-profit, private schools went belly-up.
“It’s a lot of broken promises. You know they will have a lot of aggressive recruitment mechanisms where they’ll say things like, ‘Our graduates are guaranteed to get a job,’” said Ben Miller of the Center for American Progress.
Miller says some students have had their loans forgiven, but not all.
“Students who were at ITT right around the time it closed have been able to get their loans forgiven,” said Miller. “But you had all these other people that went to ITT for years and have not been able to find jobs and have been in really rough shape, and they’ve been trying to get help through the Department of Education.”
In the last year of the Obama administration, the department structured a way for those loans or part of them to be forgiven.
But President Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy Devos has a different approach.
“Do the opposite of whatever Obama did,” says Miller.
Miller says Devos has, first, stopped investigations into whether students were harmed by these institutions and then added, “The second thing they’re doing is concocting an incredible amount of bad math and statistics to essentially make it impossible for someone who has proven to have been harmed to actually get much relief in the way of canceled loans.”
Devos says the new formula makes sure recipients are not over-compensated.
How to determine the student or graduate’s loss is a difficult problem.
Now Secretary Devos will testify on Thursday before the House Education Committee in Washington and is expected to be grilled on the subject.