MADISON, Wis. — ITT Tech, a for-profit college, announced on Wednesday that they were closing immediately, leaving hundreds of Wisconsin students in limbo. The chain of schools had been under scrutiny by both federal and state government officials from some time, including a prohibition on enrolling new Wisconsin students issued by the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board, investigations of their business practices and sanctions including a ban on federal aid.
Meanwhile, a triumvirate of top Wisconsin Republicans — Gov. Scott Walker, Attorney General Brad Schimel and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson — have all provided, “aid and comfort” to predatory for-profit colleges like ITT.
Walker appeared at a campaign photo-op at the now closed ITT-Greenfield campus and in his 2015 state budget proposed eliminating the Educational Approval Board, the state agency with oversight of for-profit colleges which is now working to assist Wisconsin ITT students.
Wisconsin top cop Brad Schimel has remained curiously silent as Attorneys General in other states have investigated the unscrupulous business practices of for-profit colleges and refused to join his 2014 election opponent in calling for a crackdown on predatory for-profits.
For his part Sen. Ron Johnson, who continually proves he can get worse on the issues of higher education and student debt, has actually called for more for-profit colleges as a solution to the $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross:
“ITT Tech is an unscrupulous, predatory scam that’s just left hundreds of hard-working Wisconsin students trying to do the right thing and get a higher education without the school they were paying for.
“But Scott Walker, Brad Schimel and Ron Johnson have all provided aid and comfort to for-profits like ITT, proposing to eliminate oversight, refusing to investigate and even calling for more schools like them to prey on students.
“It’s time for these guys to stop coddling bad actors like ITT and start protecting Wisconsin students and their families and crack down on the for-profit college industry.”