I.T.T.: is it worth it?

I’ve been wanting to go back to school for a while. I don’t have any sort of degree at all; I’ve been lucky so far in being able to get around that when looking for work, but it’s starting to catch up with me (Kids, stay in school!). ITT has courses that interest me and a schedule I can handle. My question is, is it really worth it? Or is ITT just a successful version of all those ‘technical training schools’ that cropped up during the 90’s?

I somehow think I’d be better off attending courses at the local community college, but that would take years to get anywhere…

So, has anyone here been to ITT? Was it worth it? Did you actually learn anything or is it just meant to get you a dead-end job as quickly as possible so you can pay back your loans? Any experiences would help…

I don’t know anyone who is going to ITT (wait! I know one, but knowing that guy he’ll probably drop out), but I do have friends that went through similar programs at other schools (Uni of Phoenix, Meric College, etc.)

I think like anything in education, it’s what you are willing to do with the information you’ve been given. Most of my friends that went through those programs are doing very well for themselves, but mostly because they were willing to work their tails off to get up the ladder. So, I’d say if you’ve really got the drive to do it and are willing to go the extra mile to make it work for you, then go for it.

My husband is an ITT graduate in electronics engineering technology. He has done well enough career-wise, but will never rise about technician status without a BS degree. (a moot point at the moment, as he is currently a stay-at-home dad) This frustrates him a bit.

The education he got was very thorough, and that’s sort of where my complaint comes in.
ITT reps used to come to our high school classes and sell their institution as a faster, easier, lower cost alternative to traditional college.
Yes, my husband only had to go to school for two years. He went four hours per night four nights per week while working full time. There was a week off in the summer and a week off for Christmas IIRC. No summer break.
Easier? For EET he still had to take english comp, physics, a little basic calculus, and psychology (again, this is my recollection from 10yrs ago) in addition to his core electronics classes.
And cost? In two years he racked up about $25,000 in student loans. He still doesn’t have an officially recognized “degree.” For that amount of money you could just as easily get an associate’s degree from a local state run or community college, most of which offer nigh school for non-traditional students (assuming you’re working a day job).

My take on it? I won’t say ITT is a bad school. They have good job placement and teach marketable skills. I still wouldn’t recommend them.

Can I ask why you think it would take you years to get anywhere via community college? If you take the same type of course load as ITT, you’d be done with a 2yr degree in 2yrs, and it would be significantly cheaper. Unlike ITT there’s a high chance that your course work would transfer if you decided you want to keep going at another college or university.

My mother went back to school at community college at night while being a stay at home mom to my brother and I. It took her 3 yrs to get a 2yr degree, but she never needed to take out a loan. With her AS in computer programing she’s done very well for herself and makes a very tidy salary in a good job with great benefits.

YMMV, of course.

First off, thanks for the replies!

Well, it’s primarily because I can’t get financing for a heavy course load at the comm. college, so I’d have to spread it out to what I can afford. I’m caught in the middle; I make too much to get financial aid, but I don’t make enough to just swallow the costs right away myself.

However, you raised a point that concerns me. ITT’s recruiters have been telling me that their degrees are actual accredited degrees. What you said seems to contradict that. I don’t want a ‘certification’, dammit, I want a degree that I can build on. :slight_smile:

Time to do some more digging, I think…

There are ways to get financing for a CC. And in the long haul, that financing will probably be cheaper that what you get from a private for profit school.

The most important pieces of advice for selecting a college is to make sure you are comfortable with the program, understand the outcomes of the program, get everything that you are promised in writing prior to signing a contract (and I mean EVERYTHING), and finally, talk to the accrediting agency about the insitutions standing and a professional group about your chances of landing a job with the credentials that you will receive.

When my husband attended ITT there was some handwaving about eventually being able to continue his 2yr degree into a “real” BS. It never really happened. He also didn’t pursue it that eagerly, either. Accredidated or not, my husband was able to get a decent job as an EET, which was the whole goal of his attendance. Keep in mind that this was 10yrs ago and I know some of the programs have been tweaked.

If you do want to build, though, I strongly suggest community college. If it takes you a year longer, that’s worth it to not have to pay through the nose on student loans for the next ten years. I promise. (our combined loan payments are like a car payment and my husband’s payment is twice what mine is - only two more years to go sigh)

If your going into a trade, ITT and others like it may be useful, but if you’re working toward a bachelor’s degree, forget it. Both my nephew in law, and my former stepdaughter fell for the sales pitch from these type “schools”. They were promised that their work was transferable and that their respective schools were fully accredited, it was all a pack of lies. My nephew tried to take legal action, but finally gave up. Both these kids worked hard and got excellent grades, and all for naught, they just wasted two years of their lives and several thousand dollars each.

My husband attended in his late teens for about one semester before deciding it was a big rip off and a waste of time. It is very expensive compared to community college, where he attended after that. He was left with a big student loan and nothing to show for it, the classes were not transferable. I went to a private college for 4 years for less cost than ITT tech.

My sister in law worked in their financial aid office for a few years and she felt uneasy about it, she often felt the students were paying way too much for what they were getting. She left there as soon as she got another job offer at a regular college.

I am sure there are people who it worked out fine for, but I don’t know anyone who has had a good experience. I think you are better off getting a 2 year degree from a community college.

It’s starting to sound like that old “If it sounds too good…” line again. Sigh. :slight_smile:

A.R. Cane, Solfy: I appreciate the candor. I want the degree, not because I particularly care about a bit of paper but because potential employers do. I’ve had to pass on a few opportunities lately that could have literally doubled or tripled my income (which would be nice), that I’m am plenty qualified for, but which I can’t get past the automatic screening system which rejects anyone who does not have the requisite degree… and I don’t want to risk lying on my application just to get past that.

I’ve got friends and family who work for the government, at a branch where there’s an opening right now, and I can’t even get past the first hurdle because the posted requirements list an AA degree as a minimum. I’ve got more than enough experience, have all the right skills for the job, want to do it, and can’t even get an interview because my app is automatically round-filed by the automated system before anyone sees it (I’ve verified this with the HR department there, unfortunately).

So, yeah, I need an actual degree, not a fake-degree. I’m still looking into whether or not it’s real these days, but it’s not looking hopeful (via ITT, I mean).

I highly recommend community college over any kind of “institute” that advertises during Maury Povich.

When I did my 2 years of CC and got my associates, the University I transferred to was then forced to accept my environmental science credit even though it went against their degree plan simply because it had already been approved and applied to my AA. It gave me my Associates degree as opposed to any kind of certification, which is far more impressive in a job interview situation, let me tell you.

And most importantly when I was still in school working towards my Bachelors I was paid more per hour at the crap jobs I worked simply because I had a degree and could command the extra $.50-$1 per hour over those people I worked with who did not have the degree. It doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but at 20 when I was working 18 hours a week to buy groceries and gas that extra smidgen of pay per hour made a huge difference. I know that my Bachelors has dramatically increased my earning power and I make far more right now than I would have without the degree.

Do the community college thing, trust me it is much cheaper. In KC something like ITT costs like 20k+, but the community college charges like 80 dollars a credit hour. most A.S programs run 64-66 Credit hours, so you are looking at a total cost of 5000 - 5300, even at twice that tuition and books, you don’t come close to that 20k+. Plus if you decide to further your education, most community colleges transfer to in state universities.

If you’re looking at getting an AS or AA degree from ITT as a means of furthering your career then it’ll probably help. But a degree from ITT carries about as much clout in the business world as one from a community or vocational college does; it only costs a buttload more. You (the OP) stated that you can’t financially afford a heavy course load at the local CC, but have you really compared the credit cost per hour at ITT to your local CC? I bet ITT is 3-4 times more expensive, and the way their class curriculum is scheduled (20 hrs/week) –you can’t take classes piecemeal- you’ll be paying a plenty good chunk of change each quarter. Then there are books & materials fees on top of that. You have to buy their books at inflated prices, and oh yeah… you can’t sell them back when you’re done with them.

Don’t forget those recruiters work on commission. They’ll tell you anything to get you to sign up –even that they are “accredited”. Maybe they have some type of sham accreditation but ask by who and the real test is, ask if their credits are transferable to another university or CC. The real answer is no.

Their financial aid department is usually first-rate. They’ll succeed in finding every type of grant you may be eligible for. Then they’ll manage to get student loans for any leftover amounts you can’t cover. They work hard at this because the payoff for them is pretty rewarding if they get you enrolled.

The coursework is fine, probably as good as any CC. The instructors are hit and miss. Some have extensive real world experience in the fields they teach, others are those who can’t make it in the real world. Only in the last 10 years or so has ITT required their instructors to have at least a BS (ITT BS degrees included). I have a suspicion that they rarely fail anyone, because they want you to graduate (so they get more money). Just show up for class and you’ve got a good shot at a degree.

They probably teach practical career placement skills (interviewing techniques, resume writing, inter-personal communication, etc.), more so than a typical CC program does. They also have a job placement director that will provide reasonably good assistance in helping you get placed in an entry-level position. If you’re already in the field, then you’ll probably do better on your own in finding a job.

Is the much greater cost of their program worth it for these little perks? After you get done paying off a sizeable loan for 10 years, and you’re not any further career-wise than someone with a cheaper CC degree (who can further their degree) -you’ll likely think not.

I don’t really know about ITT - but about 20 years ago, I worked in financial aid for a similar, for-profit technical college. The place I worked did offer actual degrees- an associate’s in applied science. Any students trying to enter a 4 year program with that would have lost some credits- it was all technical courses with the exception of one English course. The tuition back then was about $10,000 for the 18 month program. The programs are now 4 semesters in 16 months, and tuition now runs $4895 a semester or $400/ credit for part-time students. That’s over $20,000 for an associates degree. By comparison, my city’s public 4 year technology college ( which also grants asssociate’s degrees) charges
$2000 per semester full time, or $170/credit part-time. The community colleges are $1400/semester or $120/credit.

BTW, as far as financial aid goes, it’s unlikely you’ll be any better off at ITT than you would be if you attended a non-profit community college at least half-time . The FAFSA calculates an Expected Family Contribution, which stays the same no matter which institution you attend. ( the College Board website has an estimator, if you’re interested) Each institution then sets a cost of attendance , which includes room and board, books, tuition, transportation, personal expenses. ( A single institution may have multiple costs of attendance based on dependency status, and whether the student lives on or off campus). The EFC is subtracted from your cost of attendance to determine your financial need- no Federal need-based program is going to cover your EFC , whether you go to ITT or the community college and it’s unlikely a state program will.

I went to ITT in from 85-87. I wanted to be a drafter and although I was an A student in high school, I didn’t want to go to college. I received my AA in Drafting Technology and have been steadily employed in the field for over 20 years.

I’m not a particulary ambitious person when it comes to moving up the career ladder, although right now I am the CAD Manager where I work, so the lack of a BA hasn’t affected my career in the least. I work so I can pay my bills and persue my personal interests, and I like drafting, so it worked out well for me.

It wasn’t any cheaper than going to a community college or full time university, but it worked out well for me. I was taught everything from structural physics to board drafting (and a little of that new-fangled Computer Aided Design stuff), with a well rounded approach to what drafters do and how they should do it. I had good teachers, but like an earlier poster pointed out, the school is only as good as the faculty. And it was 20 years ago…


I went through the NJATC (National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee) program for I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers)

There were three guys in my class who had graduated ITT and hadn’t been able to do anything with it. They came out of that school knowing exactly dick about practical applications, and I was the one helping them with the coursework. Essentially, starting over again after wasting two years. Starting in exactly the same place I was for what should be no good reason.
YMMV, but that’s what I know about it.

I.T.T. Student here.

I was in a regular CC a few years back, but due to costs and time, could only get about one or two classes a semester. Then a family illness and a relocation enforced a two year hiatus on my schooling.

My I.T.T. campus has no book/lab fees; everything is covered under the tuition cost, which is considerably higher than my CC cost, but also a lot more focued.

My instructor are all technical professionals, and very good at what they do. They go the extra mile for the students, especially the ones who are truly trying; I can’t say the same for all of my CC professors.

I.T.T., like my time as CC, is full of kids who don’t want to be there; kids who do want to be there, and adults (working parents) trying to get ahead.

Like any education, you get out what you put in.

According to what I’ve been told, any institution which accepts government money is obligated to accept any other institution that accepts government money’s credit hours, for like couses of study. But there’s a catch; institution A may lay out Course of Study “A” differently than institution B’s Course of Study “A,” and therefore isn’t obligated to accept institution B’s credit hours.

Slight differences in what’s covered under a particular topic, or even the emphasis of a particular subject within a broad topic, may be grounds for one institution to not accept another institution’s credit hours.

Since I’m a straight A student at I.T.T., I’m learning stuff, stuff that is already beginning to lay the groundwork for bigger payoffs in the not-so-distant future with my current employer. If my Area Service Manager doesn’t appreciate me, our local sales rep does; I can break down tech-talk into people-talk, which helps convince customers to buy our products and services. I can be turned loose on small projects unsupervised, and if I need to call tech support, I have the basic understanding and technical savvy to get through it with a minimum of fuss. I can assist on larger projects, and my work is beginning to get noticed by project teams at higher levels in the organization. Most of that is native talent, but knwledge and training from I.T.T. has helped a lot, too.

Could I do better than I.T.T.? Most definitely. If I had the time. Or money.

I’m not bitching; I’ve made deliberate choices in my life which were fucking asinine, and fucked up my life, and prevented me from partaking of golden opportunities when they were presented to me. I could kick myself for some of the mistakes I’ve made.

But I have to live with those mistakes, and try to make the best of what I have, going forward. And I.T.T. suits my purposes well enough.

All-in-all, I’d say that if you’re younger (late 20’s/early 30’s), and have the time, starting in a CC and transferring up to a more traditional institution would probably be a better choice, even for a purely technical education.

But you can do lots worse than I.T.T.

I’d like to see a cite for this, if you don’t mind. I don’t think the government requires such a thing, as you can get funding for many colleges that aren’t accredited.

The catch pretty much cancels out any obligation, unless there are strict guidelines to what it means to be laid out differently.

Actually from what I know from transferring credits from a CC to a University by experience is that Class A (not course of study) may be identical to Class B, but still not accepted by the college. And to make it even more confusing, Class A may be accepted by one department of the University as transfer credit, but going to another department (switching majors), they may say that it doesn’t transfer (this happened to me, I “lost” like 15 credit hours transferring from Biochemistry to Computer Science).

Also, according to this site, an “associate degree” costs 37k at ITT. The KC area CC costs something like 80-85 dollars a credit hour, so unless your books for 2 years costs 30k, you are spending way over what a CC would cost.

And how can somebody claim they don’t have time to take classes at a community college? You can take evening classes just as well at a CC, and to get federal funding, you only have to be going half time. That is two classes a semester. I’m sure thats much less than ITT.

It is rather easy to determine if ITT degrees are accredited. Ask them to show you the school’s accreditation certificates. You should also be able to investigate this yourself online by checking out the various accreditation institutions.

You can also pose some simple queries to your local community college, or a university you would consider attending. Ask them if they would take transfer credits from ITT courses. You will then have the real answer.

I have 2-3 classes per quarer (11 weeks) at I.T.T., 4 CrHrs. per class, 4 quarters per year. That’s two years for a 96 CrHr asociates.

The closest equivalent (to my I.T.T. program) at local CC is 69 CrHrs. At 2-3 classes per semester, averaging 3.5 CrHr per class, I’m well over two years for an associates. Even upping it to a full 4 CrHrs per class, 3 classes a semester, two semesters a year, and I’m still not out in two.

I had three years chopped out of my life, '03 to '06 (no, it wasn’t jail, or prison, or anything like that!) which I’m trying to make up for as quickly as possible. I.T.T. is doing that for me.

As far as the transferability thing, let me get back to you. I’d heard it from a friend that had worked in banking for many years, so I’ll look him up and get back to you.