Nursing students stuck in licensing limbo after degree scheme

A year after the federal government came down on fraudulent for-profit schools, some students are stuck in licensing limbo, the Miami Herald reported March 17.

Hundreds of aspiring nurses are left in the midst of a standoff between Florida, where they trained, and New York, which administered the NCLEX test, as New York refuses to issue licenses because of questions surrounding the accreditations of the schools they attended.

In January 2023, 25 people were charged for their alleged participation in running the scheme, which involved the sale of more than 7,600 fake diplomas and transcripts from Palm Beach School of Nursing and two other now-closed schools. Twenty defendants have been convicted for their roles, mostly through plea deals, and at least four people have been sentenced in connection to the scheme. In December, a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., found three defendents guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges after a three-week trial. Students who learned at these for-profit schools were encouraged to take tests in states where there was no limit on retakes. 

Many of those students chose to test in New York, which has no limits and has tests in multiple languages. However, a work-around process intended to allow Florida to issue licenses based on the New York test scores has been subject to delays and complaints. Many students have lost job opportunities due to the yearlong delay as they wait for their official scores to be transferred to the state.

"They stopped me for a year with no license, no getting paid, no continuing my education," one student told the Herald.


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