Thousands of students woke up Tuesday morning to learn that their school had shut down.
ITT Technical Institute announced Thursday that it was permanently closing all 130 campuses across the country, following a decision by the federal government that put sanctions on the school.
The closure affects more than 300 Wisconsin students. 250 attended the Greenfield campus.
"I am furious," said Linna Drehmel, who has been at the school for the past year working toward a degree in drafting and design.
She says the school sent an email Thursday morning to let students know it had closed.
"I'm in shock and I'm still reacting," said Drehmel. "I've got to make some plans, do some research, if it's even possible to transfer my credits now."
According to a press release, the school permanently closed following sanctions placed on it by the U.S. Department of Education barring the school from accepting students who use federal financial aid.
This comes after a growing number of state and federal investigations of ITT Tech's recruiting and accounting practices.
"When they lose that ability, now you have only the ability for students to come who can pay out of pocket," said Trevor Kubatzke, Vice President of student services at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. "And in higher education this day in age and in the community we live in, our students just can't do that."
The press release from ITT Tech states, "we reached this decision only after having exhausted the exploration of alternatives, including transfer of the schools to a non-profit or public institution."
It further reads, "We were not provided with a hearing or appeal. Alternatives that we strongly believe would have better served students, employees, and taxpayers were rejected. The damage done to our students and employees, as well as to our shareholders and the American taxpayers is irrevocable."
"It's reprehensible what the Department of Education has done," said Drehmel, who also participated in a federal work-study program at the school. "ITT Tech in my opinion has done nothing wrong. They're ruining lives over this."
Kubatzke says MATC is welcoming all ITT Tech students to find out if they can transfer to a program there.
The school has financial aid advisors and counselors waiting to work with students one on one, and the school offers credit for both prior learning and work experience.
"[We're] really trying to put a package together for them so they now have a new plan," said Kubatzke. "Becayse that's really what they're missing, their plan is now gone."
When a school closes, some students may be eligible for a loan discharge, meaning they don't have to pay it back and in some cases would receive reimbursement for payments already made.
"It's not a common thing," said Camille Nicolai, director of admissions and financial aid at MATC.
She says students can meet with financial aid specialists at the school to find out what to do next.
"I would walk you through that process what we need," she said. "I'd also walk you through the admissions process, you would talk with a counselor about different program options here and get you registered for classes."
MATC says it has many similar programs to ITT Tech.
"I would encourage them to hold tight and we'll work with them the best that we can to either move them in here to get them going on a path," said Rich Busalacchi, dean of the School of Business at MATC.
This closure also means about 8,000 employees nationwide are losing their jobs. MATC says they are always hiring and encourage employees from the Greenfield ITT Tech campus to check online for job openings.
The Department of Education has information for students specifically related to this closure on its website.
MATC also set up a special email address for ITT Tech students to ask questions. Students should email MATCITT@matc.edu.
You can also contact MATC by phone at 414-297-6050.