TOWN OF AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Nearly two dozens students at ITT’s Getzville campus were less than a month from graduation, each having completed all their coursework to earn an Associate’s degree.
But like the tens of thousands of ITT students across the country, they were out of luck. Two years of course work could all be for not.\
“You’re basically screwing over not just myself, but people I call brothers and sisters, who are now wondering where do I go from here?” said Louis Irmisch, a Buffalo veteran who was set to graduate in early October.
Irmisch and classmate Amanda Brayley are two of nearly two dozen former students at ITT Tech who’s school was shuttered just before they received their diploma.
“We do a whole thing,” said Irmisch, who attended ITT on the GI Bill. “Our families can be there. We get a diploma, pictures taken, the whole 9 yards, and now that’s not even happening.”
The department of education says ITT was riddled with problems, with its finances, it’s leadership and its ability to serve students. The government says in recent years, they’ve also been the subject of several state and federal investigations.
ITT issued a statement the day they made the decision to close, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. Department of Education, saying the government improperly imposed sanctions on the school.
They even called the action “inappropriate and unconstitutional.”
Rather than fight it, ITT chose to close up shop, and close the door on the futures of tens of thousands of students.
“I worked for two years really hard to get my degree,” Brayley said. “Now you’re telling me I don’t get it? I busted out into tears instantaneously. And now it’s just turned to anger.”
Both Louis and Amanda are exploring avenues and other local colleges. But they’re having a tough time in determining whether their credits will transfer equally, or which institutions would offer the same course of study. So far, none do.
“I can’t find anybody who offers that kind of course study in the local area, and even if I walk in the door and say I went to ITT, now the question is are they going to take those credits and or my going to have to start over as a freshman again?” Irmisch said.
There will be a ceremony early next month for the group of “graduating” students. They’ll have their cake, they’ll have their cap and gowns, they’ll have the tassels. But there will be one very important thing they will go without: Their diplomas.