Photos: Protesters protest against ITT Tech in Rosslyn
(Updated July 28 at noon)A group of protesters, including students, teachers and members of the Higher Ed rights group, Not Debt, chanted and waved signs outside the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn this morning.
The protest took place as the for-profit ITT Technical Institute college held its annual meeting of shareholders indoors. The protest group of about 20 people received passing car horns as they complained about how ITT Tech handles its marketing, course credits, loans and executive compensation.
“ITT, what is it? Your CEOs should go to jail, ”chanted protesters as cars entering Arlington from Key Bridge.
ITT Tech’s marketing promises students a sought-after degree and transferable course credit, but that’s not always the case, said Anthony Byrd, former ITT Tech student. Byrd attended ITT Tech in 2011 in order to get the course credits he needed to attend Drexel University. However, when he called Drexel, he found that his credits had not transferred.
Other students often leave ITT Tech only to find that their degrees don’t count for much or that their credits are only transferable to another for-profit college, Byrd said. ITT technology said that the transferability of credits is at the sole discretion of the institution receiving the credits.
“I think a lot of the students who attend ITT have no idea what’s going on until they graduate,” Byrd said. He ended up leaving ITT Tech, but he still has debts for his time there, he said.
ITT Tech Has Problem With Students Defaulting On Student Loans, With More Students defaults on loans than getting a degree at many ITT campuses, said Maggie Thompson, campaign manager for Higher Ed, Not Debt.
ITT Tech CEO Kevin Modany spoke to Bryd at the protest, but Thompson said it was important for shareholders to be careful. Shareholders can pressure the school to give more support to students, reduce executive pay and focus less on advertising.
“We really believe schools need to stop investing in executive pay and more in students and education,” she said.
ITT Tech isn’t the only for-profit school with problems with loans and credit transfer, said Dahn Shaulis, an adjunct teacher at Burlington County College. Shaulis researched for-profit colleges and found that there are many instances where students end up failing to repay their loans or cannot use the degrees they have earned.
“These students have been swindled,” he said. “We lied to them.”
This morning’s protest was also supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Student Debt Action group and the Center for American Progress.
ITT Tech vice president of government affairs Nicole Elam said protests are often staged with recruited protesters. ITT Tech has lowered its tuition fees and increased scholarships to help solve debt problems, she said.
“We believe these protests are organized and have nothing to do with providing accurate information to students or shareholders about the debt or the success of our students,” Elam said.
ITT, Modany and another executive were accused of fraud in May, federal regulators alleged that the company had hidden poor performance of student loan programs from shareholders.