In another blow to the for-profit higher education industry, the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday announced it is banning ITT Technical Institute from enrolling new students who receive federal aid, and requiring the for-profit company to pay $153 million to cover student refunds.
Federal officials have found ITT Tech to be out of compliance with its accreditor’s standards.
In a statement, Education Secretary John B. King said the government is trying to protect students and taxpayers.
“Looking at all of the risk factors, it’s clear that we need increased financial protection and that it simply would not be responsible or in the best interest of students to allow ITT to continue enrolling new students who rely in federal student aid funds,” King said.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has been seeking penalties against the for-profit school, which runs more than 130 campuses across the country, including two campuses in Norwood and Wilmington.
In April, Healey sued ITT for using aggressive sales tactics and misleading students about their job prospects.
In a statement, Healey said the Department’s action sends a clear message: Schools that rely on federal dollars will be held accountable.
Current ITT students have a few options: They can continue their course, transfer credits to a new school that will accept them or wait to see how federal and state investigations resolve.
[Cross-posted at On Campus: the WGBH News Higher Education Blog]