SC State nursing students may not be allowed to graduate

( ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) – Imagine finding out days before your senior year of nursing school that you were out of the program. It’s happening to dozens of nursing students at SC State.

When we asked Monday, dozens of students say they’d been told that they would not graduate come May 10. We did some digging and found out things could be changing.

“I’ve put in three years at school,” said student Tamarah Johnson. “I’ve put in over $60,000 and I’m not gonna get it back and I don’t know what to do now.”

For 21-year-old Johnson, the decision to come to SC State to be a nurse was personal.

“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. I got to see how nurses took care of her and stuff and I thought if I could bring that little bit of joy to a family that it would make a difference and basically they’re telling me to be gone,” said Johnson.

Johnson and several of her classmates say they’ve been told they can’t graduate in May. She says out of about 60 seniors, only a handful can stay in the program.

The state nursing board says SC State came to them saying they wanted to voluntarily shut down their nursing program because so few students were passing exams. The board suggested the school shut the program down sooner and make sure current students meet standards. But the students say they didn’t know they had to meet such high standards.

“State boards told them that we were supposed to make a certain level on a test,” Johnson said. “We were never aware of that. We met the standards SC State gave us.”

The state board says level two scores are required nationally, but a syllabus provided to us from SC State says the students only need to get to level one to pass.

We called and showed up at SC State. After waiting for an interview, we were told over the phone that the school is trying to work something out with the state board.

In the meantime, the students say they’ve been told they can change majors or transfer.

The state Labor, Licensing, and Regulation board says they are reevaluating things — meaning there’s a chance the students could be allowed to graduate. A decision will be made at anytime.