Students and employees have written critically about the school's high tuition and low academic standards. ITT Technical Institute charges among the highest tuition in the industry. It also has the industry's highest rate of loans that go into default within two years of attendance. In 2014, the tuition for attending an ITT Tech campus ranged from $45,000 to $85,000. According to ITT Tech literature, credits earned at ITT Tech are unlikely to transfer to other colleges.
On February 26, 2014, the CFPB sued ITT alleging they used high-pressure tactics to coerce students into high-interest private loans that were likely to end in default. ESI is also being investigated by at least a dozen state Attorneys General.
ITT Tech was founded in 1946 as Educational Services, Inc. and has been headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, since 1969. From 1965 until its IPO in 1994, ITT Tech was a wholly owned subsidiary of ITT Corporation (as "ITT/ESI"). By 1999, ITT Corp. (which had merged with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide the year before) divested itself completely of ITT Tech's shares but the schools still use the "ITT" name under license. It operates over 130 ITT Technical Institutes across the US, which primarily provide career-focused degree programs to approximately 60,000 students.
California Regent Richard C. Blum (Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband) has been a significant shareholder of the stock despite allegations of conflict of interest.
In August 2014, the US Department of Education placed ESI under "heightened cash monitoring" failing to submit financials and compliance audits tied to its administration of federal financial aid. CEO Kevin Modany also announced his resignation.
ITT Tech offers AAS, bachelor's BAS, and master's (business-only, online) degrees. ITT Tech is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. It may be impossible to transfer credits from ITT to a traditional university; per the ITT Web site, "it is unlikely that any credits earned at an ITT Technical Institute will be transferable to or accepted by any institution other than an ITT Technical Institute." ITT's brick-and-mortar offerings include more than 130 locations in 35 states.
Investigations, lawsuits, and controversies
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In August 1998, 15 former students alleged misrepresentation, fraud and concealment by ITT arising out of their recruitment and education at ITT campuses. In September 1998, ITT settled all of the claims.
On February 25, 2004, federal agents raided the company's headquarters and ten of its campuses. The investigation negatively affected the company's stock and triggered several class action lawsuits by investors.
In October 2005, ITT agreed to pay $730,000 to settle a lawsuit with California in which employees alleged that it inflated students' grade point averages so they qualified for more financial aid from the State of California.
An investigation by WGBA-TV (NBC26, Green Bay, Wisconsin) found evidence of widespread grade inflation. In one instance, a student got 100% on a computer forensics assignment by emailing the professor a noodle recipe. The station believes this to be a way to increase federal student aid funding.
In early March 2011 WTMJ-TV (NBC4, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) ran an investigation finding teachers lying on attendance records so they could get cash bonuses paid by ITT Tech. ITT Tech formerly used an attendance policy as part of a requirement to get financial aid to show student progress.
In 2012, ITT Tech was one of the for-profit colleges investigated by the Harkin Commission.
In 2013, a complaint was filed against ESI and two ESI executive officers in US District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding securities. The Massachusetts Laborers' Annuity Fund filed a similar complaint and the cases were consolidated. The Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Retirement Fund were the lead plaintiffs.
Students continue to allege that private loans with JP Morgan Chase and other banks are predatory.