It isn’t a good time to be a for-profit school in Ventura County as ITT Technical Institute will be closing its doors nationwide, with one location in Oxnard, adding more local students without a school along with those from the Brooks Institute closure.
The announcement comes after the U.S. Department of Education in July banned ITT from enrolling students who rely on federal student aid, which include Pell Grants and Title IV loans, effectively shutting off 80 percent of the school’s cash revenue.
ITT operated 130 campuses in 38 states, including one in Oxnard. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the Oxnard campus had 261 undergraduate students, with a slight majority being Hispanic. For the 2015-2016 year, per student tuition reached $18,048. Neighboring Oxnard College’s population of just over 7,000 undergraduates paid $1,338 (in-state residents) or $7,050 (out-of-state) tuition for the same year.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Sept. 6, ITT Tech blames the Department of Education for the closure.
“With what we believe is a complete disregard by the U.S. Department of Education for due process to the company, hundreds of thousands of current students and alumni and more than 8,000 employees will be negatively affected,” said ITT Tech in a statement. The statement goes on to read that the company has terminated a majority of its employees and that “these federal actions will result in the closure of the ITT Technical Institutes without any opportunity to pursue our right to due process.”
For-profit education has taken a hit in recent years as the federal government has cracked down on aggressive recruitment practices. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, the average annual cost of attendance at ITT Tech in Oxnard was $22,468, including room and board plus materials. The average salary for the students who graduated (on average, 47 percent of the student body) was $38,400 over 10 years, with an average monthly student loan payment of $287.
City’s independent auditors satisfied reporting requirements
The city of Oxnard can breathe a sigh of relief as State Controller Betty Yee found that Eadie & Payne LLP, the firm hired by the city of Oxnard to audit the city’s finances, satisfied federal reporting requirements for the 2015 single audit report it completed.
In July, Yee issued a statement that her office would conduct a “quality control review” of the city’s independent auditors after they had failed to meet the March deadline to file the single audit, filing instead in July, which put them in the spotlight for scrutiny.
“Having audited the city of Oxnard’s June 2015 records and having issued our reports, we are pleased with the ‘no findings noted’ letter from the State Controller’s Office,” said Eden Casareno, Eadie & Payne’s partner in charge of government services. “We look forward to beginning the 2016 audit for the city.”
The city’s financial issues were first brought to the attention of the state by members of the firefighters union, with which the city has had rocky relations over contract negotiations. Members of the union have questioned whether the city’s financial situation is or was as dire as City Manager Greg Nyhoff had suggested upon stepping into the position. Budget cuts resulted in sidelining a two-man fire truck despite the union’s protest, among other things.
Nyhoff instigated an audit of the city’s finances in 2014, and when the State Controller initiated an audit of that audit, it gave the city the unique distinction of being just one of two cities in the state to receive such an audit in the past five years, the other being Bell, which had been embroiled in drama involving the misappropriation of city funds since the late aughts.