GRAMBLING, LA (KSLA) - Just two days before graduation, dozens of nursing students at Grambling State University were told they won't be graduating on Friday. Since then, university officials have offered them an alternative solution.
University leaders say the students were aware of the policy on allowing them to take the state exam only once, but they still plan to help these students eventually reach their goals.
Grambling has recently undergone a series of policy and program changes. Back in April, the university and the Louisiana State Board reached an agreement to allow the nursing program to continue.
In April, Grambling's current pass rate on the state exam was about 75 percent. In order to remain open a pass rate of 80 percent is required. In attempts to raise standards, policy changes were made and just one day before graduation some students aren't happy with those changes.
Students began pressing for answers on Wednesday after being told that they wouldn't be graduating.
"It was explained to them that you can only take the test once. Some students took the test twice and some didn't pass on the first test, they passed on the second," said director of communications Tracy Wright.
The students removed their stethoscopes and picked up sharpies to make sure their voices were heard and interim president Dr. Cynthia Warrick finally answered.
"Dr. Warrick has decided that she will pay the cost for them to go to Northwestern," said Wright.
KSLA News 12 is told that 20 out of 25 students did not meet the requirements to receive a degree, but they will be allowed to walk during Friday's ceremony.
The students have signed an agreement that allows them to participate in commencement as long as they agree to participate in a summer remediation course at Northwestern State University.
"To me, this is an advantage to them because they're entering a life and death type of field. I think they should embrace this opportunity," said Wright.
Upon successful completion of the summer course and passage of the exam at Northwestern State University, the nursing students will then receive their nursing degree from Grambling State University.
Grambling could not say where the money would come from to fund the summer course, but say the cost will be fully covered by the University. About 500 students are expected to graduate during the spring commencement.
It will be held at the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center at 10 a.m.
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron will be the guest of honor.