Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Should the Government Forgive Debt Students Racked Up at ITT Tech?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Should the Government Forgive Debt Students Racked Up at ITT Tech?

Article excerpt

Former students at the now-shuttered for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institutes are staging a protest by refusing to repay their student loans to the government, hoping to persuade federal authorities to to cancel the debt of those who allegedly suffered fraud at the hands of the school's predatory system.

Some 100 protesters have initiated a "debt strike" after the federal government banned the institution from enrolling students who would pay with the help of federal financial aid, leading ITT Tech to close its doors for good, The Washington Post reports. The Department of Education suggested that ITT's roughly 40,000 former students consider transferring their credits to another school or seeking loan forgiveness.

But many other institutions don't accept credits from the school, and students who seek student loan relief after experiencing fraud often struggle to successfully make a case for themselves.

"We're not irresponsible brats whining about our loans," Joseph Smith, a 2008 graduate of ITT Tech who left the institution with more than $80,000 in student loans, told the Post. "ITT lied to us. It's fraud."

Authorities say ITT Tech provided students with false information regarding the success of its programs and used predatory recruiting tactics to convince students to enroll in classes. Now, those who shelled out tens of thousands of dollars through high-interest federal loans or used funds from the GI Bill to pay tuition want the wrongs made right.

Former students at ITT Tech aren't the first to face the dicey situation. As of June, 26,000 students had filed for loan forgiveness from the Department of Education, according to the Washington Post. Some 14 percent of them had received some approval, and all of them came from former students at Corinthian Colleges, another for-profit education giant that shut down. …

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