The case is of Denise Parnell, a very young single mother, who joined roughly a year ago, a course titled patient care technician program, which the school promoted for helping the students to become certified nursing assistant at School of Health Careers, a for-profit school, situated in Illinois. The said course is just going to be completed. On 2nd June in one of schools letter made known to the students that they shall not be in a position to take the test of CNA, because the course is not approved for the state of Illinois.
Denise Parnell is living with her aunt. To carry on her education she had secured loans worth $13000 out of which $8546 is the Federal loan. This all led to wastage of money as well 1 year time.
Consequently Parnell and three of her classmates have filed proposed class action suit against the school for mis-representing the Patient care technician course. Rising to the occasion, Illinois State Board of Education has taken up the investigation.
Glaring lapse has taken place at a time, when there is lot of criticism stressing strict regulation for profit schools, which entrap low income students, who go further down on debts with degrees of questionable value and utility to them.
In contrast supporters of for Profit schools claim their courses a source to students for accessing higher education and vocational learning through their trainings. The US Department of education such schools to make disclosures in respect of job-placement rates, student’s debt data and their income.
Allegations & Responses:
At the time Parnell got enrollment in this school of Health Careers at Illinois, she along with her other classmates received school published material, which had very clearly mentioned that after graduating Patient Care Technician program of the school, shall be in a position to take the State Board Examination for becoming a Certified nursing assistant.
US Senator Dick Durbin and others associated with law drafting asked for a report on for-profit schools regarding the standard of these school teachings as well as to what extent the federal revenues are used in these institutions as student federal aid.
On 2nd June, 2010 the President of School’s parent Company, Forefront Education informed the students and the faculty of the school, communicated that some school staff had committed error and labeled this as “Unauthorized wrong information”.
The mistake has been accepted and apology expressed by the parent school president and stated that the matter does not end with just an apology and still said that the best efforts shall be made that the students can take the CNA examination.
The above letter has also proposed to the affected students to attend a certified Nursing Assistant course at Chicago and the school shall pay the expenses besides additional $1500.00 to cover any unanticipated cost in this respect.
At the same time the Illinois School of Health Careers stated that their patient care technician course was not designed for becoming CNA.
A further explanation by the Parent Company President about the objective of the course mention the course to be of 8 months duration, formulated so that the students after graduation get entry of working in nursing homes or any health care facility, where one shall be taking care of the patient, who are themselves not in a position to take their care.
IDPH has not recognized the qualification of graduates of the school as Patient Care Technicians for directly caring for the patients in nursing homes and long term caring in nursing homes and hospitals.
The fact is that The Illinois School of Health made an application to IDPH for approval of the course for Certified Nursing assistant in the month of January, 2010 after 6 months from the commencement of the course. It is stated by the Company President that the application was made on the insistence of the students studying the course.
Parnell has filed a law suit in Cook County Circuit Court and many other students have also joined her. The problem of miscommunication has taken very wide dimension effect on the course.
The Illinois School of Health Careers in their published catalog of 2009 academic period have categorically stated that students enrolling in Patient Care Technician course shall get the training to perform basic patients caring techniques, which are needed by Certified Nursing Assistant and shall be qualified to work as nursing assistant.
The State Board of Education had sanctioned the patient care technician course in the year 2007 during the month of September. The school did not start implementing the course and admission of students before June 2009. The school after commencing the course has been admitting 30 students every month.
Further it was responsibility to in the mean time obtain approval from IDPH. The two different organizations approving the same course can leave certain gaps, which can be misunderstood or misrepresented.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit have claimed $5 million from the school for tuition, expenses incurred and loss of time in remaining in the course. It is estimated 350 students are affected by this glaring lapse on the part of school authorities.
In case the State Board of Education’s looking in to the matter comes to the conclusion of wrongdoing, this can result into sanctions and warning the school, suspension of Patient Care Technician Course and the school shall be on probationary status or revoking of school’s earlier approval.
The present of the Parent Company of the school stated that corrective steps have been taken and now the school staff is telling the new incoming students beforehand about the true position.
Further the president of the parent company has stated that the communication has been sent to the concerned persons that they are going to resolve the situation and help the student to be successful in their careers.
The Career College Association representing 1600 schools for profit blamed the press for their views in respect of growing industry of for profit schools although there are some bad instances for which the concerned school and students hold some responsibility.
Gazing at the few spent balloons on the mother’s day Parnell had tears in her eyes and was not in a position to console her. She was very passionate to become a certified nursing assistant this year.