Students sue Florida nursing school, alleging they were blocked from NCLEX

A group of nursing students is suing HCI College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., alleging the school deliberately blocked students from taking the National Council Licensure Examination to inflate passage rates and increase profits.

The suit, filed Dec. 2, claims the school rolled out a new nursing program at its West Palm Beach campus after its original program was placed on probation for low NCLEX pass rates and failed to achieve accreditation. The new program allegedly had the same instructors and curriculum.

"By hiding behind this 'new' program, defendants bought themselves five more years to come into compliance with [Board of Nursing] requirements for accreditation and appeared to wipe the slate clean on the dismal pass rates graduates of the 'old' program achieved," the lawsuit alleges. "It also did not disclose the 'old' program's probationary status to prospective students."

The suit claims HCI unfairly dropped students from the new program or forced them to retake classes that were not transferable to falsely inflate NCLEX passage rates and attract more students under false pretenses. 

The plaintiffs are requesting HCI cancel their student debt and refund payments. They are also seeking additional damages and an injunction that would allow all affected students to take the NCLEX test. 

HCI College disputes these claims and alleges the suit was initiated by a disgruntled former faculty member.

"The facts are that HCI College has never sought to block its nursing students from graduating or passing the NCLEX exam, nor has it ever misrepresented its accreditation status," a spokesperson told Becker's. "HCI College is accredited, and its graduates are fully prepared and eligible to sit for the NCLEX."

More than 300 HCI students have passed the NCLEX test over the past three years. 

HCI College's West Palm Beach campus reported a pass rate of 89.1 percent in calendar year 2022, compared to a Florida average of 61.3 percent and a national average of 77.9 percent, according to a statement shared with Becker's.  

"This lawsuit is without merit and when the facts come out, that will be clear," HCI said. "We look forward to our day in court to prove the merits of our healthcare programs."

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