ITT Tech is failing students nationwide, and faculty and former students have responded by coming together to hold the for-profit college accountable. In the last week, activists converged on multiple campuses of the education company, which is currently the target of investigations by both the SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The actions, led by Higher Ed Not Debt and SEIU’s Faculty Forward, were an important step in an effort to inform the public of ITT Tech’s poor record of placing students in jobs that would allow them to make the payments on the massive debt that they incur while studying at the college.
The week of action culminated Monday morning in a protest outside of ITT Tech’s annual shareholders meeting in Arlington, Va, drawing national and local media attention. The advocates argued that ITT’s focus on executive compensation and marketing over instruction hampers student success.
Among the group of protesters was Anthony Byrd, a former ITT Tech student. Anthony was only a student at ITT for a month or so when he began to realize that the experience provided by the school was very different from the glowing endorsements that were presented in the TV commercials that initially drew him to visit the school.
“ITT Tech sold me a vision of white picket fences and a high-paying job in the IT field, but as soon as I got their and started taking classes I could see that wasn’t going to happen. I started to talk to other students and they said they were having the exact same experience.”
Matthew Hoffmann, who teaches at Loyola University, participated in an action at one of ITT’s Chicago-area campuses.
“I took action because as an educator, I want to show ITT students that we support them. I want to make sure that their tuition money goes towards their education, not compensating company executives with millions of dollars. I stand with ITT students and their right to a good education at a fair price,” he said. “One of the ITT students who I spoke with told me that most of her classes were online and automated. She wasn’t happy with the level of instruction she was receiving. That is unacceptable when a Bachelor’s degree at ITT can cost $88,000.”
Things at ITT Tech will not start to get better for students until the school commits to focusing on education. Currently, for every dollar that ITT Tech collects in revenue, only about twenty cents goes to instruction. To put this in perspective, consider that the company actually spends more of their budget on marketing than they do on instruction. This is an unacceptable business model for a company that is supposed to be in the business of education.