ITT Tech shuts down, closes Bay Area campuses

A company that operated vocational schools with two Bay Area locations has shut its doors, company officials announced Tuesday morning.

Indiana-based ITT Technical Educations Services Inc., which boasted more than 130 ITT Technical Institute campuses across 38 states, offering degrees in nursing, information technology and criminal justice, among other programs, has closed all of its campuses, including ones located in Concord and Oakland.

In a statement, the company said it was forced to lay off more than 8,000 of its employees, in addition to leaving an estimated 40,000 students without a school.

ITT officials said in the statement:

“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after approximately 50 years of continuous service.”

The company blamed the U.S. Department of Education for the closure, citing sanctions the department had placed on them, including increasing a surety bond to 40 percent of the its Title IV federal funding.

Additionally, the department had placed the company on a Heightened Cash Monitoring payment method, which would have provided additional oversight of the company’s cash management, according to the statement.

ITT officials said:

“We have also always worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and to uphold our ethic of continuous improvement. When we have received inquiries from regulators, we have always been responsive and cooperative.”

In the statement, the company referred to the government’s actions as “inappropriate and unconstitutional.” In a letter addressed to ITT students, U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. said the school had increasingly been the subject of numerous state and federal investigations.

Over the past two years, the education department had began placing financial oversight measures on the school because of “significant concerns about ITT’s administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial viability and ability to serve students,” King wrote in the letter.

In August, the school’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, concluded the school was not in compliance with the council’s criteria, King said.

King urged students of the now-defunct school not to give up on their education:

“Restarting or continuing your education at a high-quality, reputable institution may feel like a setback today, but odds are it will pay off in the long run.”

The statement also promised to provide resources and information in the coming days to students wishing to continue their education.

In July, the company shared its 2016 second quarter financial and operating results, reporting that its earnings per share had fallen to $0.35 during the first six months of 2016, compared to $0.47 in the first six months of 2015.

Additionally, new student enrollment had decreased in the second quarter by 21.6 percent compared to the same period in 2015, according to the report.