ITT Technical Institute wants to establish what they call "Early Career Academies" that would offer students an "opportunity" to earn an associate degree in network administration or software development "alongside their high school diplomas". They're facing some push-back.
Like the rest of the for-profit college sector, the value of ITT's educational offerings is coming under increased federal scrutiny.
About one in five for-profit borrowers default on their federal student loans within three years, compared to 13 percent at public institutions. The federal government has recently sought to regulate for-profits based on this measure. The regulatory pressure, combined with bad press, has added up to a decline in enrollment and revenue.
Part of the decline as well is related to the fact that people who enroll in for-profits like ITT Tech find that their "credits" don't transfer to other schools, which means that despite the high cost, the students find themselves having to start over at accredited schools. Many simply give up, saddled with debt and with no career prospects.
"As their traditional higher education provider business has declined, they need to find other avenues to make up the revenue lost," he explained. "They also want to avoid the regulatory burden that running a college entails. So you see ITT look to the charter schools. You see Apollo [University of Phoenix] look to invest capital in start-ups. Kaplan has international plans. All of these strike me as strategies to offset the declining prospects of growing enrollment ... and the regulatory and financial problems that they have been facing."
Characterized by aggressive marketing, pushing high-interest "student loans", and consistently misrepresenting the career prospects for their "graduates", these proprietary "colleges" are increasingly under the gun; ITT Tech itself was recently sued by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over just such practices. That case is still in litigation.
But it's easy to see why the "colleges" are all starting to sniff around for other money-making ventures.