When it was announced that ITT Technical Institute would be shutting its doors, it left a number of students in South Carolina unable to transfer credits or get money back on student loans towards an unfinished degree.
Columbia-based vocational institute Training Concepts is giving those students a chance to earn their certification at no cost. The group will be issuing 200 scholarships worth $5,000 for those that qualify.
“When ITT closed it was devastating to students in South Carolina,” Training Concepts spokesperson Chad Todd said. “Our company saw what was going to happen to these students, and we wanted to figure out the best way to help.”
The 15-year old company, based in Columbia, offers technical training so those that were studying at ITT are now able to pick up where they left off in order to receive certifications in the field. They're also looking to help veterans that were affected as many of them used their GI bills to pay for school without getting that money back.
“Every year we try to give back to the community in some way,” Todd said. “This year, we wanted to do something big enough have a major impact. This was something we could support, and make a noticeable difference.”
The vocational school focuses on getting students industry certification rather than B.A. and AA degrees you find at other institutes.
“(Training Concepts) is looking to give people a chance, fast-track them back into the field.” Todd said. “We have been around 15 years, and we’re looking to build and continue relationships with students that will be part of the workforce for the next 15 years. Our main goal is helping people.”
Students who qualify for scholarships must take the classes at the Training Concepts offices in Columbia. For more information, visit www.trainingconcepts.com/giveback.
ITT Tech announced in September it was ceasing operations after being sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Education, which ruled the school was no longer allowed to enroll new students who rely on federal financial aid for educational expenses.
The company reported almost $850 million in total revenue in 2015, and about $580 million of that came from federal aid. Approximately 45,000 students were enrolled in ITT programs in 2015, the Department of Education said.
ITT Tech’s four locations in South Carolina – Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and North Charleston – had about 840 students enrolled in the fall of 2015.
Ashley Heffernan of the Charleston Regional Business Journal contributed to this report.