The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

‘Compliance issues’ push trio of Stone Academy closures

- By Liz Hardaway Liz Hardaway may be reached at

Stone Academy is closing its three campuses due to compliance issues, the school and the state Office of Higher Education said Tuesday.

In a letter to students, OHE Executive Director Timothy D. Larson said the institutio­n, which has campuses in West Haven, Waterbury and East Hartford, informed the state agency of its decision to close on Feb. 6. The OHE has regulatory oversight over Connecticu­t’s private career schools, including Stone Academy.

“For many months, our office has been working with the school to address a number of serious compliance issues that included unqualifie­d faculty, invalid student clinical experience­s and recording attendance,” Larson said.

The OHE identified eight compliance violations at the school and notified the Board of Examiners for Nursing, the U.S. Department of Education and the Accreditin­g Bureau of Health Education Schools. Stone Academy initially agreed to an independen­t audit to determine the scope of the problem, but after the U.S. Department of Education put the institutio­n on “Heightened Cash Monitoring 2” status, meaning it would no longer receive certain funds, it decided to shut down operations, according to the OHE.

The OHE plans to work with students to figure out their next steps, including evaluating each student’s academic record so staff can provide guidance on academic status, refunds and potential transfers to other institutio­ns. The OHE will hold informatio­n sessions to help these students.

Connecticu­t Department of Public Health Commission­er Manisha Juthani called the news “extremely disappoint­ing, especially given the need of health care profession­als in the workforce today.”

However, the institutio­n “appears to have done a poor job of educating its practical nursing students,” Juthani said in a news release, noting that the 2022 pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examinatio­n were “far below” the required 80 percent pass rate.

According to the OHE, the institutio­n’s highest pass rate was 70 percent at its Waterbury evening program, and fell to 43 percent for the East Hartford and West Haven evening programs.

“A career that involves caring for others is a true calling, and this news cannot deter the goals these students have set for themselves,” she continued. “We are confident that the Office of Higher Education will help guide them toward a path of success that includes instructio­n from experience­d and highly qualified mentors.”

The OHE is urging students to complete a survey, which was sent out Tuesday, to track how many students were affected and what questions need to be addressed.

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