No one should find joy in ITT Technical Institute pulling the plug on its 130 plus campuses including the Lathrop location that has been around since 1997.
There are a lot of reasons behind the federal government refusing any longer to provide students attending ITT campuses federally guaranteed student loans. Those loans, along with federal Pell Grants, accounted for 80 percent of ITT’s revenue.
Putting aside overly aggressive recruiting of students and federal concerns with the financial management of ITT for a moment, the main issue is the inability of a number of ITT graduates to land jobs that make their student loan debt worthwhile.
A similar federal decision last year ended up with the closure of Heald College that had a solid reputation of training students for the business world dating back to 1863. That reputation didn’t continue after they were acquired by Corinthian Colleges.
So how is this a bad thing?
The answer is simple. The federal government is holding only for-profit colleges to the fire when it comes to students landing jobs in their chosen field of study upon graduation that will allow them to pay off their student debt.
How many college grads do you know who are flipping burgers, holding down three part-time jobs or who aren’t gainfully employed?
There are a lot of highly educated public college grads out there who were misled as well.
It may not be quite as blatant perhaps as some for-profit college recruiters that give the spiel you’ll be making big bucks when they sit down with prospective students on a one-on-one basis. It’s much more subtle. Actually, it is so subtle that it’s borderline brainwashing.
Kids are told from an early age that college equals success. And let’s be honest here. When most of us talk about success and a college education it isn’t about self-fulfillment or following Mother Teresa’s footsteps. It’s about making money. Lots of money.
And how is that working out for college graduates with taxpayer guaranteed loans? There is $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. And if you listen to anyone on TV, social media, or read what they have to say in newspapers a lot of those students with the debt can’t afford it whether they went to non-profit or for-profit schools.
The public schools-college complex pushes kids toward college when it is clear the pay day in terms of dollars isn’t worth it. By the time a for-profit recruiter has high school graduates sitting across from them they have been primed.
The damage is in the brainwashing. And the major benefactors aren’t ITT shareholders but the professors making salaries well into the six figures at public universities and campus administrators making close to $500,000 a year.
They command such salaries because non-profit public colleges have no incentive to reduce costs or do things differently when it comes to degree programs because the federal government keeps upping how much a student can borrow without demanding the public colleges to work on cost containment.
The bureaucracy as well as public colleges share blame as well for crippling student debt as well as college graduates that can’t land the high paying jobs needed to pay off their loans.
And while no one is arguing the federal government shouldn’t hold for-profit colleges responsible, they are only the tip of the iceberg.
So instead of applying the same standards to public schools the bureaucrats and politicians that are making bigger student loan debt possible, a growing number of elected leaders want to make college free for everyone.
That way the only big loser will be taxpayers and the only winners will be college professors and administrators. Tuition free college may cover the “debt” students incur since there would be none, but it would not do a thing to make sure they land the high paying jobs.
And since college would be free the federal Department of Education could pat itself on the back for making it possible for someone to get a masters’ degree in anthropology so they can land a job flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.