Here's an interesting video chronicling State Superintendent Tony Bennett's July 23 visit to ITT Tech in Indianapolis, where he extolled the for-profit school as an attractive option for Indiana high school graduates.
"We understand the skills available at ITT Tech are exactly the type skills necessary to drive Indiana's economic development engine in the years to come," Bennett said.
And here's what the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions said about ITT Tech in its scathing new report on for-profit colleges:
Complaints from ITT's students reflect concerns with academic quality. One ITT student complained, "The complete and total lack of preparation, effort, and desire to perform on the part of the instructor has made this course without any doubt in my mind the largest waste of time, money, effort, and resources since I have begun attending this school." Another student said, " rather frustrated with the class I took, felt that I learned nothing and do not feel a bill for $2,500 is a fair amount to be paying for a rather inadequate education."
Another student complained, "The online teachers do not know anything about the subject they teach, at least that has been my experience. The online teacher cannot answer simple questions, instead they insult you and tell you to refer to the book … This is a horrible school. The faculty hates their job.
A different student complained, "I also want to bring up your career services and recruiters! Your recruiters guarantee ITT will find you a job. Wrong! That is false advertisement," and added that "your school robbed me blind and the fact that your name is now on my resume employers won't even look at me!"
ITT is one of the most expensive companies examined by the committee, and it is not clear that the value of the education justifies the cost. The cost of attending ITT is so high that the company has created its own loan program to enable students to borrow money in excess of Federal lending limits.
While the retention rates for both the Associate and the Bachelor's program are slightly better than average, the company has a high rate of student loan default, with 26 percent of students defaulting within 3 years of entering repayment. This likely reflects the high cost of the programs offered, and an inability on the part of some students to find jobs that allow them to repay the debt they incur. The company makes this work by utilizing some of the most disturbing recruiting tactics among the companies examined, and by taking very creative approaches to complying with the 90/10 limitation on revenue received from Federal financial aid programs.
Meanwhile, the company devotes the largest share of revenue to profit of any company analyzed at 37 percent. Taken together, these issues cast serious doubt on the notion that ITT's students are receiving an education that affords them adequate value relative to the cost, and calls into question the $1.1 billion investment American taxpayers made in the company in 2010.
Perhaps during his reelection campaign, Bennett can explain how ITT is such a good option for Indiana high school graduates and why the continued investment of billions in tax dollars in for-profit colleges like ITT makes sense, even as Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller works to ensure Indiana students and taxpayers are protected from for-profit college abuses.