MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The phones are ringing at college admissions offices all over West Michigan.
“I talked to a student yesterday who was planning to go to class next Monday. And now that’s not going to happen,” said Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Muskegon Community College’s Dean of Academic Affairs.
But there is help available for those ITT Technical Institute students whose campuses abruptly closed Tuesday.
The for-profit school shut down all 130 campuses, including one in Wyoming, after government regulators barred the school from accepting students using federal aid to pay for classes.
The government’s action is part of an ongoing dispute with ITT over the way they ran the school. It put the academic futures of thousands of ITT students in question.
But there is help for those one-time ITT students.
Rinsema-Sybenga says there are about a half-dozen programs offered at MCC that are compatible with ITT Tech’s courses, including CAD design.
“Business management, computer information systems, criminal justice and electrical technology were some programs that they had curriculums for that we also offer here at MCC,” added Rinsema-Sybgena.
MCC is reaching out to former ITT Tech students with an open house set for next week.
It will be held Tuesday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at MCC’s Coopersville Campus, located at 198 East Street.
There are challenges to matching credits earned at ITT Tech to programs at other schools. ITT and MCC have different accreditation, so not every credit transfers.
Rinsema-Sybenga says there may be other options.
“We’re kind of getting a feel for what course we might accept as lifetime experience or prior learning, and looking at which classes we can set a test-out option,” explained Rinsema-Sybenga.
Grand Rapids Community College is also looking for ways to help ITT Tech students.
“Certainly in our workforce area, we have a number of technical classes that students could take advantage of,” said GRCC Dean of Students Tina Hoxie.
“In light of this circumstance that’s happened, we put together a team of people in our admissions area to look at how we might best help students that find themselves in this situation,” she added.
Another challenge: ITT Tech offered four-year bachelor programs. The help provided by community colleges can only work towards associate degrees.
Enter Western Michigan University, which school officials say has attracted a handful of former ITT Tech students.
WMU has also developed a team of admissions and financial aid professionals to help ITT Tech students transfer.
“We have a track record and experience in helping students successfully transfer to WMU in times of similar emergency situations,” stated Dr. Terrence M. Curran, WMU associate provost for enrollment management in a university release Friday.
Western is offering to waive application and late registration fees through Wednesday, Sept. 14.