(FOX 9) - Minnesota students who enrolled at ITT Technical Institute between 2005 and 2016 will have their federal student debt discharged, sparing more than 1,300 borrowers in the process.
The action by the U.S. Department of Education comes in response to an application that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and a bipartisan group of 25 state attorneys general submitted in 2021 as part of a multi-state investigation to discharge federal debt for students that ITT defrauded before it closed in 2016.
Further investigation found systemic fraud at ITT Tech that violated Minnesota law.
"Minnesotans take out federal student loans in good faith to help themselves and their families get ahead – and ITT Tech took advantage of them," Ellison said in a press release for the announcement. "They operated a large, for-profit chain of schools that used aggressive, often misleading sales tactics to sign people up for programs that provided little value and buried students in debt. When ITT began to be held to account for their misdeeds and abuse of taxpayer dollars, they quickly folded – leaving students holding the bag."
Throughout Minnesota, $26.3 million in federal student debt for 1,380 Minnesota borrowers who attended ITT will be discharged without borrowers having to do anything.
Nationwide, $39 billion in debt for more than 208,000 former students of the now-defunct school will be discharged.
ITT was one the largest for-profit college chains in the nation, with 130 campuses across 38 states, including campuses in Brooklyn Center and Eden Prairie. The company abruptly shut down after facing heavy sanctions from the Education Department amid accusations that the company pushed students into risky loans and misled them about the quality of academic programs.
In 2021, more than 900 former students of the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University received more than $42 million in financial relief when similar investigation found the universities had misrepresented its programs to students.