State outlines next steps for Stone Academy students, but many still frustrated

Just days after former Stone Academy students learned they’ll have to take many of their classes all over again, state leaders walked them through next steps on Thursday. But after the online presentation, many students are still confused – and growing frustrated.

John Craven

Jul 27, 2023, 9:23 PM

Updated 295 days ago

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Just days after former Stone Academy students learned they’ll have to take many of their classes all over again, state leaders walked them through next steps on Thursday. But after the online presentation, many students are still confused – and growing frustrated.
“A LOT OF NUMBERS”
Maclioni Lopez, of Norwalk, was almost finished with nursing school in February when Stone Academy abruptly shut down. He finally got his transcripts from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education last week, but he's still confused about what they mean.
“A lot of numbers mixed in with credits, grades, money, percentages,” he said.
OHE leaders held a webinar to walk students through transferring to the state’s two remaining nursing schools and applying for tuition refunds – but didn’t allow any of them to ask live questions.
"I see many hands raised. However, we are going to take all those questions written in an email form and not answer those individual questions this morning," OHE executive director Tim Larson told former students. “There's no question that the state of Connecticut needs you in this profession, and we want to do our level best to keep you moving forward,”
INVALID HOURS, UNQUALIFIED INSTRUCTORS
Many Stone Academy students will have to take classes all over again. An independent audit, released last week, found that 76% of their hours were invalid and 21% of their instructors were unqualified.
Students can apply for more than a $250,000 in state refunds for invalid credits. Meantime, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is hoping to recover millions more through a new lawsuit, and the U.S. Department of Education is looking into federal student loan relief.
“Stone has peddled this narrative that the state shut them down,” Tong told reporters on July 13. “That's utter nonsense. Another lie.”
Stone Academy called the lawsuit “baseless” and again blamed state regulators.
“Stone sought to wind down in an orderly manner, proposing multiple teach out plans to avoid any disruption to its student body, but OHE ordered the closure to occur within two weeks without any teach plan in place,” attorney Perry Rowthorn, a former deputy attorney general, said in a statement. “Those agencies have completely bungled their regulatory responsibilities, approving programs and practices at issue in the lawsuit, misreading regulations and repeatedly in the last months altering their positions on applicable regulatory requirements.”
TRANSFER TO OTHER SCHOOLS?
Former students can transfer to Lincoln Tech or Griffin Hospital’s nursing school. But they'll have to apply, and some may have to start all over.
“To have a transfer credit, we would take your transcript, we would evaluate it,” said Patty DeLucia, Lincoln Tech’s nursing dean. “We would compare it to Lincoln's curriculum.”
Both schools said they would work with Stone Academy students to get them enrolled quickly.
“We can't even begin to understand what these past five months have been for you, knowing the level of injustice you have experienced at Stone Academy,” said Griffin Hospital nursing administrator Amanda Bell.
“TRYING TO REACH SOMEBODY”
Larson said Stone Academy students can submit follow-up questions here, but Lopez complained that state officials are slow to respond.
“Time passes by and you keep asking,” he said. “Sending emails, trying to reach somebody.”


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