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Founded in and with approximately campuses in 38 states of the United StatesITT Tech was one of the largest for-profit educators in the US before it closed in late While some students have received debt relief through U. ITT Technical Institute charged among the highest tuition fees in the industry.
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When he first moved to Miami, Waltter Teruel says, working as a recruiter for ITT Technical Institute was a welcome change from his life in New York where he had been selling antiques and life insurance.
What former employees say itt tech did to scam its students
Recruiters used scripts set out in detailed PowerPoint presentations and got long lists of prospective students to call. But soon the welcome change faded. When ITT Technical Institute closedemployees began to share tightly deed sales tools, like those PowerPoints, that offered a glimpse into the strategy that helped the company grow to more than campuses across the country. But those same tactics ultimately contributed to the company's downfall, when the Department of Education ruled, in part because of its aggressive recruiting, ITT could no longer enroll new students using federal loans.
Teruel says that if you searched online for construction, or HVAC work, for instance, you might see a popup add from ITT asking if you wanted to study and work at the same time. He says if you filled in your information, you'd get a call from one, or maybe 10, recruiters. The rule set out in the ITT training materials instructs recruiters to call "a minimum of three times a day for the first three days.
The goal was to reach people as soon as possible after a lead was generated, and then get them to come in for a meeting. Teruel says recruiters were supposed to frame the meeting in person as a "coming attraction" and avoid answering too many questions on the phone. He says recruiters would try to appear as if they were swamped with meetings, "How about today at 2 o'clock, or tomorrow at 11 o'clock in the morning?
And it got personal. On-campus visits began with a questionnaire, the WITY, or "what's important to you. If an applicant said "I'm tired of making minimum wage," or "I want to better support my family," recruiters would remind them what brought them there in the first place.
The company's aggressive online recruiting is part of a trend that has reshaped some operators within the for-profit education industry. Many schools now rely on third-party data brokers to deliver names and phone s for their recruiters to call. So-called "lead generation" companies draw on public records, credit card information, and social media profiles, then use sophisticated modeling to identify desirable prospects based on everything from age and gender to neighborhood housing density, political affiliation and interest in gospel music.
Shireman managed the federal response to for-profit career training for the Department of Education during President Obama's first term. He's now a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, who points out that federal loan limits are higher for adults, who may not be able to rely on their parents' financial support. A Senate Committee report on some for-profit colleges found that many operators spent more on sales and marketing than they did on actual instruction.
Alyssa Calixto, who completed a nursing program at ITT shortly before the colleges closed, remembers her recruiter in St. Petersburg, Fla. Several attempts were made to reach out to ITT Tech for comment on this story. None of them were returned.
ITT Tech's total enrollment more than doubled from to During the same period, it also expanded its course offerings into new areas like game de and law enforcement. Many of these new programs did not lead to jobs with a "return on investment," says Georgeta Railic, former director of career services at ITT's Hialeah campus outside of Miami, who spent nearly 20 years with the company. During the recession, Railic says, she watched with dismay as the school eliminated entrance exams and admissions screening for some programs.
Many students finished without job prospects that would allow them to pay off their loans. Students who enrolled in the criminal justice program, for example, may not have been aware that no associate degree is required to become a police officer.
And even with associate degrees, Railic says, poor credit and failed background checks kept many students from getting hired at local police departments. Instead, many wound up in low-paying private security jobs.
Both the nursing and criminal justice programs were ultimately suspended at many ITT campuses. Still, Railic says she kept hoping the school would stick to the IT and engineering programs where students had the best prospects for employment. But something in the corporate culture changed, she says. Share Tweet .