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Phoenix nursing school reportedly stops admitting new students amid investigation

The state nursing board has been investigating Aspen University for allegations unknown to the public because of confidentiality laws.
Updated: Feb. 9, 2022 at 6:46 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Phoenix nursing school under investigation and in hot water with the state board could lead to closing their doors. The state nursing board has been investigating Aspen University for allegations unknown to the public because of confidentiality laws. On top of that, the rate of their students passing the nursing exam was way below the state’s requirement last year.

The violations could lead to the school closing its nursing program to new students. The students who spoke to Arizona’s Family said it’s already happened. “I wanted to be a nurse for many, many years,” said Angela Arnold, a student at Aspen University.

Arnold finished her prerequisites and is ready to learn how to be a nurse at the school’s core nursing program, which starts next week. However, she said school officials called a mandatory meeting for her and 55 other students who were slated to start. “They told us they had to close the nursing cohort and not accept any new students,” said Arnold.

Arizona’s Family dug deeper and found that Aspen University was at the center of a state board nursing investigation. The details are yet to be released due to confidentiality laws. The board was also concerned that Aspen’s students were not passing the NCLEX, an exam you need to pass to become a nurse. Only 58% of students passed in 2021, way below the 80% state requirement.

“They weren’t even close,” said Arnold. So far, no action has been taken against the school, but the board voted to offer a probation settlement. The 800 students in the core nursing program can complete the course and take the NCLEX, but the 700 in prerequisites would not be allowed to advance. It leaves students like Arnold and those 55 other students in limbo since they passed prerequisites and would not be allowed in the nursing program.

“I was devastated, I cried for two days, and I didn’t know what I was going to do because a lot of the colleges don’t accept credits for the prereqs from the other colleges,” said Arnold.

She said the university sent her an email, offering her enrollment at their other schools across the country or 65% off tuition if they’re able to accept new students in the future. Still, Arnold, who works in the Valley with a family, said those options don’t work for her.

“We paid all that money to do our prereqs, we don’t get that back, and now we have to pay even more money,” said Arnold. “It’s just not right.” Aspen University has until next Friday to respond to the board’s offer. If they accept, they cannot accept new students into the nursing program and must maintain an 80% pass rate for NCLEX for one year.

Aspen University posted a message from its president on Facebook Thursday.

A message from Aspen University's President, Dr. Cheri St. Arnauld. Aspen University is working with the Arizona Board...

Posted by Aspen University on Thursday, February 10, 2022