Nursing Students Sue ITT Tech Over Misleading Enrollment Practices, Substandard Program

Image courtesy of Greiner Construction

The lawsuits continue to pile up for embattled for-profit college company ITT Education Services. Just days after the Massachusetts Attorney General filed a suit alleging the operator of the ITT Technical Institute brand engaged in a slew of abusive and misleading practices, a group of 11 Tennessee nurses have filed their own complaint accusing the company of deceiving students during the recruitment process about the school’s accreditation prospects. 

The 11 nursing students claim in the complaint, filed Wednesday in Davidson County Circuit Court, that ITT Technical Institutes and Breckinridge School of Nursing in Nashville deceived students into enrolling in the nursing program despite knowing they would get a subpar education, The Tennessean reports.

According to the complaint, since at least 2014, the school has misled countless students into enrolling at the campus by promising that the program would be fully licensed by the state and accredited in the near future.

Recruiters also allegedly claimed during enrollment that class credits earned in the program would transfer to other academic institutions.

However, the 11 students suing the company say the accreditation never materialized and their credits were essentially worthless.

Credits earned by the students were not transferable to other institutions and the degrees obtained by some students could not serve as a basis for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or other advanced degrees at other academic institutions, the suit claims.

To date, the nursing school has not received program-based accreditation and the Tennessee Board of Nursing has repeatedly refused to approve the school, The Tennessean reports.

The students claim that ITT enrolled them even though the school was unable to provide an adequate education to prepare them to graduate and pass a state-mandated, post-graduation examination.

In fact, according to the complaint, the school’s program provided such substandard teachings that it led to “abysmal (state-sponsored National Council Licensure Examination) passage rates and abysmal job prospects.”

In addition to the misleading enrollment process, the students claim the school pushed them into expensive loans.

One student says she took out $13,000 in student loans in order to participate in the two-year program. After she filed grievances with the school, The Tennessean reports, the woman decided to enroll at a different school where her credits did not transfer.

“They were willing to take out big loans to further their education based on false statements and misrepresentations by ITT officials who preyed on these students’ hopes and dreams,” a lawyer for the students tell The Tennessean. ”Now these students have been left holding the bag while ITT walks away with their tuition money.”

With the lawsuit, the students are seeking a refund of all costs associated with enrollment and tuition.

ITT Education Services tells The Tennessean in a statement that the company will “vigorously” defend itself.

“As students continue to be recruited around the country by political activists and others targeting this higher education sector, ITT Technical Institute finds itself being increasingly attacked with pile-on allegations of misrepresentation,” the company said. “All students, at enrollment, must sign multiple and regular disclosures about their programs of study — including accreditation and the transferability of credits. ITT Tech will vigorously defend itself against any such complaints and provide the necessary documentation to set the record straight. We’re hopeful that our day in court will shine light on the claims made and provide an accurate and complete picture to the public.”

The complaint is just the latest in a string of lawsuits filed against ITT Education Services and its ITT Technical Institute brand.

Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Attorney General sued the company for allegedly harassing and misleading thousands of students in the state.

In May 2015, the SEC filed fraud charges against current and former executives with the company for their part in concealing problems with company-run student loan programs.

According to the SEC complaint [PDF], the loans performed so poorly by 2012 that the company’s guarantee obligations were triggered. However, instead of disclosing the issue to investors, the SEC alleges that ITT and the executives engaged in a fraudulent scheme and made a number of false and misleading statements to hide the magnitude of ITT’s guaranteed obligations to the loan programs.

Before that, in February 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued ITT for allegedly pressuring students into predatory loans and misleading students on future job prospects and salaries.

In January, an unsealed whistleblower lawsuit against for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute accused the school of operating a “systematic scheme” to defraud the government by using a litany of abusive, deceptive practices to enroll students.

Middle Tennessee nursing students sue ITT Technical Institute [The Tennessean]

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