ITT Technical Institute is shutting down, the second major for-profit closure in 2 years

ByJames Dennin

ITT Technical Institute, a roughly 50-year-old for-profit school with more than 130 campuses nationwide, is shutting down, the company announced on Tuesday.

There will be no fall classes, and most of its 8,000 employees were laid off, the company said. 

"Our focus and priority with our remaining staff is on helping the tens of thousands of unexpectedly displaced students with their records and future educational options," ITT Tech said in its statement. 

The closure comes shortly after its accreditor wrote the company a letter asking for it to defend its status as it faced litigation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, enrollment at the school has fallen by half since 2010, and shares of the company's stock — which traded at more than $45 in January 2014 — dropped below $0.40 a share last week.

ITT Tech is only the latest casualty in what has been a long regulatory crackdown on the for-profit education industry. 

As Vox's Libby Nelson pointed out on Twitter, two of the largest for-profit schools have closed in the last two years while others have consolidated their operations.

Spearheaded by then-Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and released in 2012, the Harkin Report was the product of a two-year investigation into for-profit schools that claimed to have found "overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit," Harkin said in a statement upon its release, the New York Times reported then.

Numerous studies subsequently found alarming problems with for-profit schools, including a study released in May that found attending a for-profit school actually lowered earnings for graduates over the course of five years, Inside Higher Ed reported at the time. 

Luckily for the students at ITT Tech, many of them will likely be eligible for discharge on their student loans, and even those who attended before the closure may be able to apply for relief as well.