Some nursing students from the now-shuttered ITT Technical Institute have been forced to travel about three hours each way, each week, just to complete their education.
ITT, a for-profit school, closed all of its campuses -- including one in south suburban Orland Park -- and filed for bankruptcy in September 2016.
"A lot of us were losing hope and a lot of us were scared and afraid," said nursing student Scot Muncy.
Thousands of students nationwide had two options: start over with their student loan debt forgiven or keep the credits and the debt.
Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind., took 21 of these nursing students and agreed to accept their nursing credits.
As a result, for three days a week, the students leave behind their families and jobs to finish their education and travel from the Chicago area to Marion, Ind. - a three-hour commute each way.
"The commute is a little rough," said nursing student Rashanique Taylor.
Despite the hours on the road, a silver lining is that Indiana Wesleyan's program offered a bachelor's degree. When ITT closed, some nursing students were weeks, even days from finishing their associate's degrees.
"It turned out to be a blessing in disguise," Taylor said.
Since January the students have carpooled the long drive and sharing accommodations in Marion.
"It's very difficult, but to me it was worth because I do want this degree," nursing student Kathy Thomas said.
The commuting time is not lost time. It's group study time.
"We keep pushing day by day, we're really excited to see the finish line this time," Muncy said.
Wesleyan administrators realized the students had a long commute so they clustered the students' schedule and offered some financial assistance.
The nursing students, some of whom will graduate next year, said they appreciate the offer, but wish a school in Illinois had made the same offer.
Nursing students from shuttered ITT Technical Institute travel hours to finish degree
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