Stone Academy students forced to find new programs after nursing school closes; how to make sure you’re finding the best one
(WFSB) - More fallout from the closing of the Stone Academy schools in Connecticut.
The business shuttered its three campuses earlier this week.
Hundreds of Nursing and Medical Assistant students are left in the dark.
Now those students are scrambling to find other schools to finish their educations.
The Office of Higher Education tells me that because of rising concerns at career schools in CT, they began looking into all of them last year.
“It was a shock. We found out an hour after we left class,” says Angela Ford.
Angela Ford had just started her Medical Assistant Program at Stone Academy last month, when she learned the Academy would be closing for good.
“If they knew it was going to close that way, then why did they sign us up?,” says Angela Ford.
Before Ford and other students can officially transfer somewhere else, the State Office of Higher Education says they need to audit the transcripts of more than 800 students to know how many of their credits will actually count.
Stone Academy closed down after the state found issues like questionable passing rates, teachers that are not properly qualified and insufficient attendance records in the Academy’s Licensed Practical Nurse Program.
The state had been working with Stone to try and fix its compliance issues.
“I look at it like this, maybe it happened like this for a reason,” says Ford.
OTHER CT PROGRAMS:
Stone Academy has let students know of other schools that may take them.
One is Goodwin University, but some students were concerned after learning the former owner of stone now runs Goodwin.
We were told Goodwin’s President has not been associated with Stone Academy for two years.
Another school that Stone Academy suggested its students consider is Porter and Chester Institute.
But the Department of Public Health says they also found violations at Porter and Chester including failure to ensure there was sufficient faculty and failing to ensure textbooks were current.
At some Porter and Chester campuses, pass rates in 2022 were also lower than Stone Academy’s.
In a statement CEO Jim Bologa said, in part, “Porter and Chester Institute works very hard every day to constantly improve our practical nursing educational program so as to deliver competent, entry level, Licensed Practical Nurses to the State of Connecticut.”
As for protecting future students? State Senator Derek Slap asked Tim Larson Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education that question:
Larson replied: “We are going to endeavor to do an audit. We currently don’t have resources, we’re working with OPM. We’re deciding who is going to pay for this audit, stone or us. I think we have adequate staff, where we don’t - we contract for that. I think that’s probably the best way to do it.”
We asked the Office of Higher Education how students can protect themselves from potentially going into another questionable program?
They said students can find pass rates for all CT schools right here:
They advise students exploring other programs to use those pass rate as a gauge of the quality and/or health of the program.
The Office of Higher Educations is also urging students to complete this survey because they are currently working to take possession of student records so that academic and clinical statuses can be assessed for each and every Stone student.
This is the survey:
Partial Tuition Refund:
If you have paid out of pocket for your education at Stone Academy, due to the school’s closure, you may be eligible for a partial refund. To apply for a refund from the State of Connecticut Student Protection Account, please visit: https://veoci.com/v/p/184154/workflow/yw5km2acbzkf.
Refunds will be proportional to the portion of your program not yet completed.
For example, a student that has completed 50% of their program, will receive a refund of half of the tuition paid. Refunds will be of tuition only; no refunds will be issued for fees or supplies. You will receive an official transcript from our office for the course work that you have already completed.
Loan Discharge from the US Department of Education:
If you are currently receiving federal financial aid and would like to have your federal loans discharged, please visit https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closedschool for instruction on how to request a discharge. If you have any additional questions concerning your federal financial aid, please call (617) 289-0133 or email NYBostonSPD@ed.gov. If you need to access information about your federal student aid history, you can log in to your account at https://studentaid.gov/.
Adjustment to your Veteran Affairs Benefits:
If you are receiving VA benefits for your education at Stone Academy, please visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Restoration.asp#:~:text=When%20will%20my%20entitlement%20be,your%20entitlement%20is%20restored%20immediately for directions on how to have your benefits reinstated.
FULL STATEMENT FOR PORTER AND CHESTER:
“There is an undisputed need for nurses in Connecticut and nationwide. Porter and Chester Institute is committed to educating and training students to become licensed practical nurses. Porter and Chester Institute works very hard every day to constantly improve our practical nursing educational program so as to deliver competent, entry level, licensed practical nurses to the state of Connecticut. We will continue to work with oversight agencies to build career paths for licensed practical nurses in an effort to address the critical needs of the healthcare profession and the workforce.” Porter and Chester CEO Jim Bologa.
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