By the time ITT Technical Institute closed its doors earlier this month, the for-profit college had been selling tenuous diplomas at exorbitant prices for more than 20 years burying low-income and first-generation students in insurmountable debt, and evading regulators since the early 1990s. This is the mirror image we should have seen before letting in the rush of private profiteering in higher education sector.
ITT collected $178 million over two years just in federal education funding for veterans — even while the company projected 33% of its students would ultimately default on their loans — and last year 70% of the school’s total revenue came directly from federal financial aid programs. Even in India, there are private engineering colleges run solely to capture government funds meant for under -privileged sections of society. Neo-liberal economic policies are meant to allow looting of public money by private profiteers,
The college cheated tens of thousands of students across 136 campuses in 38 states. ITT operated as a business. The company had a product (bachelor’s degrees), customers (students), shareholders, and quarterly revenue goals. ITT charged an estimated $77,000 for a bachelor’s degree. One student said that he “will now spend the rest of his life paying back loans for a degree that is practically useless,” after compounding interest turned his $70,000 loan into $200,000 in debt. India or US the money bags squeeze common people in the same manner.
Like many other former students he was placed in a job that did not require professional training — specifically, a game-testing position that didn’t even require a high school diploma, while ITT “placed” another student in a $5.95-an-hour telemarketing job. Her assessment of ITT? “It was totally worthless.”