WHEN STUDENTS GRADUATE or drop out of college, they typically begin repaying the student loans they borrowed to finance their education. But sudden college closings, like ITT Technical Institute’s closing in 2016, leave thousands of students in the lurch, uncertain about the future of their loans.

What happens to student loans after a school closing isn’t just a concern for former ITT Tech students. The list of closed colleges is becoming a lengthy one, including for-profits like Argosy University and Corinthian Colleges. Small private nonprofit colleges continue to struggle – like Hampshire College in Massachusetts, which considered merging with another school to avoid closing – and larger public colleges like the University of Wisconsin system are consolidating.