One of the most pressing questions for thousands of students left in the cold by last week’s closure of ITT Tech campuses nationwide is whether other colleges would accept the credits they earned at ITT Tech.
Former ITT Tech students attending one community college session in Orange County received a disappointing answer.
“The short answer is: possibly,” said Ben Olague, an outreach program specialist with Golden West College in Huntington Beach.
Golden West College was one of five Orange County community colleges who sent staff on Thursday to an all-day information session for former ITT Tech students.
Olague said the college wouldn’t accept all the classes outright. Former ITT students would have to take a test to demonstrate the knowledge imparted in their previous classes.
Some former ITT Tech students attending this session said they’d only enroll in the community colleges if the campuses accepted their ITT Tech credits.
“It’s very important because we wasted two years of our lives, almost, and for it not to count, and for us to start all over again it’s just a waste of time and money,” said Abraham Hernandez, an ITT Tech network administration student who was two quarters shy of finishing his degree.
Hernandez and three of his friends who enrolled at ITT Tech’s campus in Orange said they’d enroll at for-profit DeVry University, where they can transfer ITT classes to a bachelor’s program.
The community college reps at this session said their campuses and ITT Tech are overseen by two different accreditation organizations, so it's harder to know if classes at the for-profit are of the same rigor as those at the community colleges.
Golden West College’s faculty looked at course descriptions, homework, and other aspects of ITT Tech classes after it shut down.
“And what they’re finding, essentially, the rigor that was offered at ITT doesn’t necessarily line up with that at regionally accredited school in the area” like Golden West, Olague said.
Some colleges are making exceptions.
Santa Ana College is offering to transfer 30 units of ITT Tech credit towards a paralegal degree for students wanting to transfer.
“I wouldn’t have accepted them in the past,” said Rick Manzano, chair of Santa Ana College’s legal studies department. But the college wants to help former ITT Tech students out in what some officials at this session are calling an educational and financial crisis for thousands of students.