The presidents of both colleges said Tuesday they had already instituted a corrective plan. Its the first time either has been cited, according to the Secretary of States Office which facilitates the Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Practical Nurses.
The board announced Tuesday that it had voted last week to warn the two schools. If the passing rate for their graduates taking the test the first time remains below 80 percent next year, they could lose permission to offer the program.
For Augusta Techs Waynesboro campus, the passing rate was 62.5 while the Coastal Georgia rate was 75 percent. The national passing rate for those taking the test the first time is 87 percent, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing which administers the exam.
Terry Elam, president of Augusta Tech, said the school has raised its entrance requirements for the nursing program and limited how many times a student can retake a course after flunking it. But he said half of the 12 students dropped out of the program at the Waynesboro campus.
"When that happens, the people that dont pass affect your passing rate," he said. "... We kind of knew this was coming."
The Waynesboro campus pass rate was 89 percent in the two prior years. But in 2004, the rate at the Augusta campus dipped to 68 percent and to 71 percent at Thomson that year.
At Coastal Georgia, the 2006 passing rate was 94 percent.
Dorothy Lord, president of Coastal Georgia, attributed the dip in the passing rate there to challenges some students have in juggling their various commitments.
"High on the list of problems is the necessity for prioritizing working, studying, and family obligations while enrolled in a very demanding program of study," she said. "Additionally, students may underestimate the level of time and academic commitment required to succeed."
Atlanta Technical College was also put on notice for its low first-time passing rate. It was the second year in a row that the rate there fellow below 80 percent.