N4T Investigators: Brown Mackie not accepting new enrollments - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Brown Mackie not accepting new enrollments

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Tucson – More problems for Brown Mackie College. 

The for-profit school has announced it is not accepting new enrollments here and at about two dozen other campuses nationwide. In other words, they will eventually close, probably in about two years, when, as a spokesman says, "There are no more students to teach."  

Brown Mackie has laid off 200 employees nationally, including eight in Tucson. As we reported on June 8, a lawsuit against the school has been filed by 11 former nursing students. 

Katherine Ritchie is one of the plaintiffs, and the first to speak publicly about the case in an interview with the News 4 Tucson Investigators. “Since I was three years old,” Ritchie says, “I wanted to be a nurse. It was a dream of mine and many others in my class. You know, we wanted to help people.”

Ritchie says her dream was shattered by Brown Mackie.  After paying $25,000 in tuition for the Tucson location's practical nursing program, Ritchie was barred by the State Nursing Board from taking the licensing exam. The board found the program deficient, and said Brown Mackie failed to ensure that students were safe in the actual care of patients. 

“I was devastated, shocked, didn't know really where to go from there, couldn't believe this happened, Ritchie said. 

Vince Rabago is Ritchie's attorney. Rabago said, “Almost two years of their lives were taken and these students were left with nothing.” 

The lawsuit charges Brown Mackie with Consumer Fraud, Breach of Contract, Breach of Good Faith and causing emotional distress. Among the claims: Brown Mackie gave students veterinary supplies to teach them how to care for humans.

Ritchie says, “Well it was shocking. I mean, you would think a school like that, you know, they have money, you would think that they would buy the proper supplies.”

The lawsuit claims Brown Mackie's admissions test for prospective nursing students was a "sham" because everyone who took it was admitted, even if they didn't get the required score.

A Brown Mackie spokesman declined an interview request and had no comment on the suit. It comes a year after an investigation by the State Board of Nursing found the program so poor the students had to be retrained at the school's expense. The suit claims the retraining was also deficient.

Ritchie says, “I want to do everything I can to make them pay for what they did to us.” She is now studying to be a respiratory therapist, at another college.

There is a pretrial hearing in this case in August. We will keep you posted on significant developments. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call our tip line, 520-955-4444.  

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