Some of the roughly 3,200 students in Texas who attended ITT Educational Services Inc., which closed its Austin campus and nine others in the state this week, will undoubtedly find it impossible to transfer their credits or skills to another school and will have to start over again, the state's commissioner of higher education predicted Wednesday.
"There will be some students in a bad situation as a result of this," Commissioner Raymund Paredes said in a conference call with news reporters. "This is a developing situation and nobody knows exactly what the outcomes will be."
What's more, Paredes said, it's possible that some other for-profit post-secondary schools operating in Texas will close because of limitations imposed by the federal Department of Education.
ITT Tech closed its 130 campuses in 38 states on Tuesday after the federal government said it could no longer enroll students on financial aid.
Paredes said the federal Education Department under President Barack Obama has "raised the bar for for-profits in terms of their financial stability, their truth-telling about job prospects and the jobs their students actually get. Those are good things. Whether they've gone too far is yet to be determined."
The commissioner said some former ITT Tech students might be able to transfer to a community college. But he warned that it can be difficult to assess what a trade school student might have learned in a six-week course as opposed to what a college expects for a semester-length course.
"We're going to try to find ways to help these 3,000-plus students finish their programs," Paredes said. "It's a highly fluid situation right now.
"My experience with community colleges is they will try to help these students as much as they can, as they do other students," Paredes said. "There's no doubt there will be some disruption."
Paredes' agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, has asked ITT Tech to preserve academic records for its former students and to help them map out a plan to complete their studies.