Florida nursing school loses accreditation; students lose credits, money

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The Medical Prep Institute of Tampa Bay, Fla., nursing school lost accreditation and is on probation with the state, but continues to recruit students, according to ABC affiliate WFTS-TV.

"It's ruined my life, pretty much," Elizabeth Ford, a former nursing student at MPI, told WFTS-TV. "I am out all that money. All that time." 

Ms. Ford enrolled at MPI in 2019 after the school offered her a $5,000 scholarship. She later learned the school lost accreditation, meaning other schools wouldn't accept transfer credits and students couldn't receive federal financial aid.

In 2020, the Florida Board of Nursing put MPI's associate degree nursing program on probation for poor passing rates on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensure exam. In 2018 and 2019, only 68 and 69 percent of MPI students passed the test, respectively, compared to a national 85 percent passing rate.

"It's basically a self-learning environment," Ms. Ford told WFTS-TV.

At least six former students told WFTS-TV they were disappointed with the education they received at MPI.  

"We didn't have the correct things, so we could never learn an IV, we couldn't learn Foley care," former student Ashley Ferrari told WFTS-TV.

The students interviewed had a graduation ceremony but none of them received diplomas, according to WFTS-TV. They were told they had to take remediation classes, part of a new policy created after MPI was put on probation.

The school had "the right to change policies at any time" and added the remediation class to ensure students would pass the NCLEX, according to a letter students received from MPI, cited by WFTS-TV. 

MPI said its probationary status was due to student cheating, telling the state: "We have discovered numerous instances of cheating and academic integrity violations. We have made changes through our remediation program and changes to the testing process to ensure academic integrity."

The state has closed the case tied to nine related student complaints it received last year after finding the school response satisfactory, the Florida Department of Education told WFTS-TV.  

Medical Prep Institute continues to recruit new students, telling WFTS-TV a new class would start next month.

Becker's reached out to MPI, the Florida Board of Education and the Florida Board of Nursing for comment but has not received any response. Becker's will update this article with any additional information that becomes available.

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