BLOOMINGTON -- Five nursing programs in Indiana are in danger of being shut down despite a shortage of nurses in the state. The schools are under fire from the State Board of Nursing for their graduates’ lackluster performance on license exams.
If a school’s pass rate on license exams falls below 80 percent for three consecutive years or more, the school is required to create a correction plan. If it still doesn’t improve, accreditation can be taken away.
The five schools in question have pass rates for their nursing associate’s degree grads that range from 41 to 72 percent, although enrollment numbers vary widely.
All of the schools are for-profit institutions.
Only 46 graduates of Merrillville’s MJS School of Nursing took the exam since 2012, but more than 750 from four ITT Tech campuses attempted a license.
The Nursing Board declined an interview for this story, but Indiana Higher Education Commission spokesperson Stephanie Wilson says it’s a consumer-protection problem.
“You invest all this money into a program that you think is going to get you into a career of your choice. You pass, you get all the way through the program and you cannot pass the licensure exam,” Wilson says.
Indiana’s for-profit pass rate for nursing associate’s degree holders is 58 percent, compared with an 88 percent pass rate at public institutions.
“I don’t think there’s any way you can look at that data and not be concerned at the results, and not see the very clear difference between the sectors,” Wilson says.
Wilson says for-profit colleges attract students who might not be aware of the amount of work it takes to pass the exam. She also says advertising by for-profits could misrepresent how easy it is earn a license.