Economy affecting ASU nursing program

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TEMPE -- Getting accepted into a college program usually has a lot to do with grades, but with today's economy even the best students aren't guaranteed a spot in class.

Universities across the nation are scaling back as much as they can because of a budget shortfall and Arizona State University is no exception.

A recent report indicated ASU was attempting to cut back $24 million and the hatchet is apparently still swinging because 3 On Your Side has learned the school's nursing program is also being sliced and diced.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," Aubrey Chase said. "I've always wanted to help people."

"I love helping people," Kimber Roebke said. "I love interacting."

Roebke and Chase can't think of any other career that would suit them better than nursing so Chase enrolled and was accepted in the nursing program at Arizona State University while Roebke is still applying and waiting to get in.

"I was really confident that I would be starting ASU's nursing program," Roebke said.

But that confidence turned to tears when Roebke received a notice recently saying she would not be admitted.

"It's hard when you want something so bad and you work so hard and you pay so much money and you invest all your time," Roebke said.

"I'm just lucky that I made it in basically before the economic crisis," Chase said.

She's right. Chase was admitted into the university's nursing program when the economy was good. However, Roebke isn't so lucky because the university is cutting costs and one area it's cutting is the nursing program.

"Because of the shortfall in money in Arizona, they are going to cut back on the enrollment seats in the nursing program," she said.

Roebke now realizes it's all about timing and wishes she would have applied earlier.

"I really think I would have gotten in if it wasn't for cutting back so many students," Roebke said.

As for Chase, she admits although she made it into the program before the cuts, she feels the long-term effects will be devastating.

"When I read that, I thought this is going completely against what our economy needs, we need nurses," Chase said.

We may need nurses but by scaling back on the number of nursing students by around 25 percent, ASU is expecting to save around $350,000.

However, keep this in mind, while ASU is cutting programs, ASU's president, Michael Crow, got a raise.

His salary, his car allowance and his housing allowance, according to a recently published report, indicate Crow is pulling down around $700,000 a year.