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ITT Tech and the Need for Closing Institution Completion Pathways

News of ITT Technical Institute's closure, which has displaced tens of thousands of students, has sent shockwaves throughout the country. Beyond the direct affect the closure has on ITT Tech students, it also affects the higher education community and the employers that need skilled and educated workers.

Fortunately, institutions throughout the country have started to work with former ITT Tech students and plan courses of action to allow their transfer. Owing to the differences in curriculum requirements and academic standards, however, this process won’t be seamless. Students who have already spent time and money in pursuit of their education need clear completion options and advising, and institutions receiving the students need support and resources to engage with them. These needs represent a natural extension of CAEL’s mission to link learning and work to help adults succeed. In discussions with several institutions over the past few weeks, we’ve recognized the need for a community of practice aimed at creating closing institution completion pathways.

CAEL has taken the opportunity to develop a framework for institutions looking to receive ITT Tech students and help them along their path from college completion to career. The framework looks to recognize and accept credit for what they’ve already learned, support students throughout the transition and communicate the framework to internal and external stakeholders. Of course, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach for every such institution closure. Rather, the framework provides a structure that will guide institutions as they offer support for students to help them reach their education goals. This framework has been built into a model, which could be adapted to meet institutional needs. Some components of the model include supporting institutions in developing:

  • An articulation of credit for transfer purposes, and methods of assessing prior learning
  • The establishment of reporting mechanisms to track incoming students
  • Processes and procedures for student transition support, both academic and personal
  • Specialized advising for students transitioning from a closing institution
  • Cross-institution change management and communication, and ongoing assessment of the impact on the institution’s resources
  • Documentation for accreditors, state and federal agencies, etc. about academic rigor and student success support

This framework provides for institutions to utilize their existing programs, policy and process while leveraging CAEL’s deep expertise in enhancing adult learners’ economic and educational opportunities. As demonstrated through initiatives like its Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program LearningCounts, CAEL’s personalized career and education advising, and initiatives like Complete the Degree, developing effective models for ensuring adult student success is an essential part of CAEL’s mission.

The closing of ITT Tech and its impact on students is a call to action to the higher education community, and we believe the community is ready for it. PLA and robust career and educational advising have become invaluable tools for adult students, the same group of students who primarily made up ITT Tech’s student body. By following the same principles that have made PLA a success for more than 40 years, and by providing useful career and educational advising, we can provide a customizable and scalable model that can provide both students and institutions the support they need to successfully transfer from a closing institution.

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