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State officials seize Stone Academy records for audit as students continue to protest

Not only are Stone Academy leaders not talking to students and staff, they aren’t even communicating with state officials.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — From East Hartford and West Haven to Waterbury, students and instructors from all three Stone Academy campuses are raising their voices to say they won’t stand by and let their dream of becoming nurses be stolen.

For these future nurses, Stone Academy will forever be known as ‘Scam’ Academy. They had shirts printed that said it.

“To not notify us to tell us that they are closing and then continue to take students into the program. That’s a scam. And they should be arrested,” remarked former Stone Academy nursing student Cynthia Brown.

Not only are Stone Academy leaders not talking to students and staff, but they also aren’t even communicating with state officials. “

Not really on anything other than how to pick up the records,” said Tim Larson, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Office of Higher Education.

On Tuesday, the state Office of Higher Education seized all of Stone’s student records to be audited. But students said they shouldn’t be the ones penalized for Stone’s failure to provide valid clinical hours and qualified instructors. 

“We would talk about the teachers and how we weren’t getting a proper education and they would retaliate against us,” said Brown.

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On its website, Stone Academy claims four partner institutions are ready and willing to accept a transfer of student credits. Some say that’s just not true. 

“Students were assured that everything would be fine,” said former Stone Academy instructor Elizabeth Joy. “They were told these schools are ready and waiting for you. Pretty much they could slide right in. That was not the case as I heard from many students.”

In addition, Stone Academy President Joe Bierbaum has ties to two of those four transfer partner institutions including the University of Bridgeport and Goodwin University. 

“We need stronger oversight and scrutiny over these for-profit schools because these predatory practices are stomach-turning. They victimize people twice over. First taking their money and then failing to give them any useful degrees,” remarked U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

In an email sent through a contracted public relations person, Stone Academy claims their top priority is to support students and will be in touch with each of them. Students, however, said that’s just a lie.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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