SAN ANTONIO – Coastal Bend College, a small state school in Pleasanton with an enrollment just over 5,000 students, held an orientation day Tuesday for up to 100 former nursing students from Career Point College in San Antonio.
The for-profit vocational school abruptly closed last October after questions were raised over its handling of federal financial aid funds.
“Our nurses, our faculty, our administrators, picked up the ball very quickly and ran with it,” said Barbara Scanlon, director of Coastal Bend’s nursing program, who held the same position at Career Point.
Scanlon said many of her former students told her, “'Oh, thank God, you’re here.'”
Scanlon said like dozens of students and faculty at Career Point, she was left wondering what to do next. She said it was a shock that day, but turns out, “It’s also a blessing.”
While helping to organize the day-long event before classes begin next week, Scanlon said Coastal Bend is giving those students renewed hope.
Mark Allred, who was both an instructor and student at Career Point, said, “I lost the best job of my career and I lost my scholarship in one day.”
Allred said he hopes to get his degree as a registered nurse by the end of the year.
Allred, who lives near the Pleasanton campus, said, “It was very convenient, affordable and we could finish what we started.”
Since that the nursing curriculum is said to be very similar to Career Point’s, Donnath Garza said, “Being able to find out I can continue where I left off and not start at square one was a big relief.”
After checking out other schools, Adriana Camacho, Garza’s classmate at Career Point, said what she appreciates most about Coastal Bend is “not having us in limbo.” She said rather than putting them off, Coastal Bend has given students answers to the many questions they have about making the transition.
Scanlon said the State Board of Nursing has been supportive as well, making certain all the necessary criteria is being met.
Since many of the ex-Career Point students were nearing graduation when the school shut down, they were already planning for the state exam.
Scanlon said the students will absolutely be allowed to take the test.