College campuses in National City and Vista are among more than 130 ITT Technical Institute locations that closed their doors Tuesday.
The closures come amid a U.S. Department of Education investigation and sanctions over recruiting and accounting practices.
“Therefore, after evaluating the impact of these new requirements on our institution, we have made the very difficult decision to discontinue our operations effective immediately,” the school wrote in an email to students Tuesday morning.
“Just found out this morning, just like everyone else that I am no longer a student,” Nick Billings said. He’s one of many students who showed up at either the Vista or National City campus to talk to staff, pick up his transcript and just get more information about what’s happening—or not happening—at the school.
“Some people say its kind of a scammy school, you know they didn't really give you a good education. All the classes I took here I thought were quality. I learned a lot.”
Like many others, Billings was expecting to start the fall term on Monday, Sept. 12 and finish up his last term in his associate program.
Just last week the U.S. Department of Education banned the for-profit college from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid. Federal officials also ordered the school to pay $152 million to the government to cover student refunds and other liabilities.
“The name stands out, ITT Tech. You know, I never thought they would go out of business,” Gabrial Carucci said.
Carucci is a disabled navy veteran who recently dropped out of Southwestern College to study at ITT.
“They're more one on one, they have smaller classrooms, smaller and they would pay more attention to me. So that was appealing to me that I would be in a smaller classroom setting and hands on training.”
Carucci was pursuing a network administration program at ITT when she learned about the abrupt closure.
Another former student, Jon Arnesto was supposed to finish up his associates program this term.
“For now just wait, I have no options right now,” he said.
Now the school where he and so many others have put in hours of time and thousands of dollars, no longer offers that "education for the future"
The closures impact more than 8,000 employees and thousands more students at more than 130 campuses across 38 states.
“I at least thought I'd be able to finish my program,” Billings said. “I wasn't expecting it to just, you know the ground to be pulled out from under you that quickly.”