Congressman Luke Messer

Representing the 6th District of Indiana

Rep. Messer Works to Help Veterans Harmed by ITT Tech Shut Down, Other School Closures

Mar 2, 2017
Press Release

Rep. Messer Works to Help Veterans Harmed by ITT Tech Shut Down, Other School Closures

Student Vets Share Their Stories

WASHINGTON (Thursday, March 2, 2017) — Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) is working to restore GI Bill educational benefits to veterans harmed by school closures, like the recent closure of Indiana-based ITT Technical Institute.

ITT Tech closed its doors in September of 2016, impacting 130 campuses nationwide and an estimated 40,000 students, including more than 7,000 veterans. While many students have been able to discharge loans in the wake of ITT Tech’s closure, veterans have not received any relief or reinstatement of their earned GI Bill benefits.

Messer reintroduced his bill, Protecting Veterans from School Closures Act, to allow veterans to recover their GI Bill educational benefits if they used their benefits to attend a college or university that closes, like ITT Tech.

“Our veterans count on their GI Bill education benefits to earn a degree and find a good job after serving our country,” Messer said. “Through no fault of their own, veteran students at ITT Tech lost this opportunity. These vets deserve our support and a path forward to complete their education.”

Many veterans impacted by ITT Tech’s closure have struggled with transferring credits and, in some cases, have been forced to start their education over. Several veterans across the country shared their stories with Messer’s office.

  • “After two years at ITT Tech, I am starting my degree completely from scratch at Ivy Tech. None of my credits transferred. My GI Bill benefits will run out before I can finish my new degree, and I don’t know how I will pay for it out of pocket.  To spend two years of my life at a place with nothing to show for it is one of the biggest disappointments.” Jason from Indiana, served from 2003-2007 in the U.S. Navy  and served multiple tours in the Middle East
  • “Before ITT Tech closed, I was on track to graduate this June with a project management degree. I transferred to DeVry but it set me back, and now my GI Bill benefits will expire before I can get a degree. Without my benefits that enable me to attend school while supporting my wife and four kids, I’ll have to drop out.” Kevin from Arizona, served from 1990-2010 in the U.S. Navy
  •  “I’m looking at not having the benefits I thought I would have when I started my college journey. I’m worried about how I will afford it, especially after just getting married and with hopes of starting a family. A majority of people I went to school with at ITT were veterans, and I’m sure they’re all hurting pretty bad.” Shelby from Washington State, served in the Army National Guard and served tours in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan
  • “I’ve had to completely start my education over at Phoenix University. None of my credits transferred. This has been a waste of money and has been very frustrating.” Daniel from Nevada, served in the U.S. Army and served two tours in Afghanistan

Messer’s bill, H.R. 1216, has garnered support from veterans groups, including the American Legion, Student Veterans of America and Veterans Education Success.

“Veterans who attended failed institutions have had their GI Bill taken away from them through no fault of their own,” National Commander of the American Legion Charles Schmidt said in his letter of support. “They deserve more from us, and it is critical that we provide protections for the full benefits they earned while serving America honorably.”

“For student veterans who experienced the hardship of being left with no degree of value, lost GI Bill benefits, and a poor prospect for future employment, something must be done,” President and CEO of Student Veterans of America Jared Lyon said in his letter of support.  “We are very pleased that Rep. Messer has taken up the charge of this challenge.”

“[This] bill is very important in establishing a practical means to ensure veterans can successfully complete their program of study and realize their full potential, following service in our Armed Forces,” said President of Veterans Education Success Carrie Wofford, in her letter of support. “A grateful nation owes them no less.”

Messer previously led the charge to restore Pell Grant eligibility to students who were using the grants to attend ITT Technical Institute. At Messer’s urging, the Department of Education agreed to restore Pell Grants to an estimated 16,000 former ITT Tech students enabling them to finish their degrees elsewhere.

Hoosier veterans can share their stories with Rep. Messer’s Office by calling 202-225-3021.