How Long Would You Wait to Get Your Life Back? An ITT Student Loan Truth | Blog
August 24, 2021
“What other business entity would I wait 5 years for an answer? It’s frustrating,” said Juaquin Brown, a former ITT Tech student who has been waiting 1,714 days for an answer (yes, he’s been counting) on his borrower defense application.
When it comes to students seeking justice after being defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges, unfortunately the agony of waiting for justice is par for the course.
“You have U.S. citizens begging for help and I have been doing that for 1,714 days and I’m over it. I just want it fixed and I want to move forward.”
Predatory for-profit colleges like ITT have defrauded students for years, targeting low-income families and intentionally making the enrollment process fast-paced and confusing because their goal is to make as much money as they can with as little return as they can offer. Students are then left with thousands of dollars in debt and worthless degrees.
“Everything about ITT was a lie. And those lies didn’t just affect me, it has affected my entire family. Even with the federal loans cancelled, my credit has been severely negatively impacted. My mom is getting harassed by debt collectors threatening to garnish her wages and close her bank account,” said Jorge Villalba, another former ITT student.
“I have two degrees from ITT [associate and bachelors] that I can’t do anything with. It’s one thing to get a degree that you chose not to use, but I literally cannot present my resume. ITT defrauded all of its students and everyone knows it,” said Juaquin. His degrees mean so little to him that Juaquin actually sent the current Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona copies of both his diplomas soon after the Secretary took office, with a letter asking the Department of Education to take action on ITT debt and to restructure the current borrower defense process.
So when the Department of Education recently announced that they would cancel the loans of 18,000 former ITT Tech students, it was encouraging – but still leaves many behind. The reality is, canceling the debt of just 18,000 former ITT students only covers 2% of all defrauded ITT students – students who are also still waiting for relief and are also owed justice.
After the announcement, ITT students had several questions, and many of those questions still haven’t been answered. Borrowers still don’t know who is getting relief, or how they’ll find out if they qualify as one of the 18,000 borrowers.
“If my ITT loans were cancelled, I would acknowledge that it’s helpful and great, but this process isn’t working,” says Juaquin. “They need to have a process that everyone can walk through that is clear and precise. It would be great if they forgive all 700k ITT students but the question then would become why did it take so long and what other steps would you take to help these students to talk to their creditors and whatever other loans they have? The Department has a responsibility to help students adjust. They have to do more, but they also need to ask what they can do to not continue having this issue in the future.”
When that relief does come, it can indeed be life changing. Jorge Villaba was one of a select few ITT students to have his federal loans cancelled through borrower defense in 2017. “I felt like a huge weight was lifted in my life, and I’m not so stressed out like I was before. I no longer have to live with the worry that I will never be able to pay this debt. I can move on with my life and plan my future.”
Every student who was defrauded by ITT deserves that opportunity.
So, how long should they wait to get their lives back?