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Salem International University Nursing Students Awaiting Answers Regarding Nursing Program

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SALEM -

The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses revoked and later reinstated accreditation for the Associate of Science in Nursing program at Salem International University.

But not all students are back on track to graduate.

Michelle Sylva said she is still waiting for answers, after those decisions were made.

"No time frame has been given, nothing has been given. No answers have been available to us at this moment, so we're all sitting ducks," Sylva said. 

President John Luotto said he wished he had answers to give, but he and the entire faculty are still awaiting approval from the board to move forward with the program.

"Part of my dilemma is this uncertainty," Luotto said.

As of now, 40 students will graduate on time with the degree they planned on receiving because they made it far enough into the program before the accreditation was revoked. But 60 others, like Sylva, still don't know what will come.

Luotto said each student's fate is different.

"Depending on what cohort they are in, they may have one class, they may have four, they may continue to graduation, they may have to stop. If you're confused, it's understandable," Luotto said. 
 
Luotto said the school is working with students on transferring to other institutions. But Sylva said that option is less than ideal, even though it may be her only option.  She already made calls to other schools, and said she was disappointed to find out that she may not be able to use all that she invested at SIU already.

"The ones I have been able to talk with on the phone, they told me they can't guarantee anything," Sylva said.

Another issue she faces, is spending time and money applying to other schools and no guarantees that she will get accepted if she does.  Sylva said driving to another school may also cost her more in gas and hinder her from working a job she needs to pay the bills and feed her children. 

There's another problem she faces; Sylva said she's scared and apprehensive about going elsewhere after the experience she had at SIU.

"Scary. Honestly, truly scary. I invested my time, my energy. My life. I committed to succeeding in this nursing program, and now I'm afraid to go somewhere else and go through the same thing. I really am," she said.

Sylva invested almost a year of time and nearly $10,000 at SIU.  At this time, SIU is not offering refunds to students in the program.

"I'm am liable to pay that back. I just feel that someone should be liable to steer me in the right direction, offer me guidance," Sylva said.

Luotto said he will work with each individual student on figuring out the best option and course of action.  

"My advice to all of them has to been, complete your current semester. After that, we are all going to be in a holding pattern.  If they want to be a nurse, go out and do that. I am going to do everything in my power to make right of what I feel is wrong," Luotto said.