U.S. Education Department
Good morning/afternoon. My name is Chris Wolfla and I’m from North Vernon, Indiana. I spent six years in the Navy as a medic and completed two combat tours with the 1st Marine Division. I received a medical discharge after being injured in 2012. While I was recovering from spinal surgery, I decided to put my hard-earned GI Bill to work and get a college education. I chose to pursue a degree in Information Technology and after my surgery, online classes worked best. I chose ITT Technical Institute. I chose wrong. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. Because even though ITT has been shut down, other for-profit schools like it need to be better regulated or denied taxpayer funds, including veterans’ benefits.
I did finish school but because of issues with ITT, I still don’t have my degree. I ended up completing my courses at Bellevue University, one of the few schools that actually accepts credit transfers from ITT. But Bellevue couldn’t give me my degree because ITT refused to release my transcripts to them. I still haven’t received a reason why. Further, ITT soaked up all of my GI Bill money and then took out student loans for me without my knowledge. I remain in $23,000 in debt with no degree to show for it.
I ended up going to trade school and am currently an electrician, but I was unemployed for a long time and had trouble staying above water with the interest payments they require on the loans that I didn’t authorize. I don’t know how they get away with it. Honestly, these people should be in jail.
I was made aware, after the fact, that there were numerous lawsuits pending against ITT for fraud in Indiana and other states. The school was finally forced to shut down in 2016. Honestly, these people should be in jail. I filed a Borrower Defense claim on my $23,000 shortly thereafter but I’m still waiting on a resolution from the Education Department. I don’t know what to do or where I can get help.
Unfortunately, my story is all too common. These schools target and exploit military veterans for their GI Bill benefits, deliver a subpar education, then leave us with worthless degrees or no degree at all. It’s their business model. I proudly served my country and earned my GI Bill and this is how I ended up. If you want to support the troops, please scrutinize these schools and defund them when they do us wrong.
Thank you for your time.
Download Chris’s testimony here:Copy of Chris Wolfla Testimony Education Department (1)