Students from ITT Tech looking to continue their education can get a helping hand from George Stone Technical Center in Pensacola.
All 137 ITT campuses across 39 states have been closed, after the U.S. Department of Education barred the for-profit from enrolling new students who depend on federal aid. The sanctions came after ITT's accrediting agency threatened to withdraw accreditation
According to the Department of Education, ITT received an estimated $580 million in federal money last year.
“We watched it with everyone else, and our first reaction was, ‘Man, this is really tough on those students,’” said George Stone Principal T.J. Rollins. “We started talking about what we could do to help these students out, because a lot of them are going to want to continue their education somewhere else.”
The closing affects about 200 students in the Pensacola area, and 45,000 nationwide plus ITT’s workforce. GSTC offers certificated programs, many along the same lines of study as offered by ITT. Counselors are standing by.
“Meet with the students, find out what it is they want to do,” Rollins said. “We’ll then sit down with them and go through the credits they’ve earned over at ITT, and see how that would transfer over to our programs.”
Since GSTC is a clock-hour institution and ITT a credit-hour institution, Rollins says they have to look at the substance of what their students have done and how that can be applied as credit to their programs. Another step is letting them know what’s available, such as four different computer technology programs.
- Computer Systems & Information Technology (CSIT)
- Cybersecurity, Applied
- Network Support Services (CISCO)
- Network Systems Administration
Rollins says their programs differ from those at ITT, but adds that they’re still in their fields of study. The cost factor is also totally different. Since GSTC is a non-profit institution that’s part of the Escambia County School District, compared to the for-profit status of ITT, their costs are lower and they offer financial aid.
“If they were a Pell Grant recipient [at ITT], they can just go into their form online and put in the code of our institution” said Rollins. “, We can have it sent here, and we can review it with our financial aid department.”
Many of the students at George Stone who qualify for financial aid are able to pay for their entire program because of the low cost there. And along with funding, George Stone Principal T-J Rollins says they also offer open enrollment, which isn’t bound by the calendar.
“We enroll students at the beginning of every month, so they don’t have to wait until January until another semester opens up, like at other colleges,” Rollins said.
More information on available programs is at www.GeorgeStoneCenter.com. An online application is there, along with links about the “Career-to-a-Year” programs. ITT students can call 850-941-6200, ext. 2129.