CHARLESTON -- Twelve Mountain State University nursing students are suing the university after they claim the nursing program failed to inform them about losing its full accreditation status.

The students are Kelly Nunley, Destany Pettry, Melanie Rillins, Amanda Self, Cortina Stickler, Stacy Lilly, Mallory McCormick, Amanda Lester, Derek Hall, Rachel Hellms and Jerry Hunter.

The students were admitted into the university's nursing program for a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree and were scheduled to graduate in May 2013, according to 12 complaints filed Oct. 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The students claim when they were admitted to the program, they were informed that the program was accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, but later discovered that the nursing program did not have full accreditation status.

The university further represented to the students that graduates of the B.S.N. program were eligible to apply for the National Council Licensure Examination and that successful performance on the exam is required for licensure as a nurse, according to the suits.

The students claim when the nursing program lost its full accreditation, it chose not to inform the students. Instead, the students were given materials indicating that the nursing program was accredited by the NLNAC and the WVBRN.

The university's accreditation ceased in March and will no longer be accredited when the nursing students are scheduled to graduate in May 2013, according to the suits.

The students claim the university also added a new requirement for nursing students wishing to sit for nursing boards, meaning the students must now take and pass an Assessment Technologies Institute exam as a requirement for graduation. The students claim the test is generally taken to prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam, but is not usually graded and a passing score is not required for graduation.

However, the university has not added the ATI exam requirement, but has not prepared the students for the exam, according to the suits.

The students claim the requirement was added simply to prevent them from graduating.

The university will contend that the students were unable to take the NCLEX-RN exam because they failed the ATI exam, not because the university lost its accreditation, according to the suits.

The students are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Stephen P. New and S. Douglas Adkins.

The cases have been assigned to Circuit Judges Tod J. Kaufman, Charles E. King, Louis H. Bloom, James C. Stucky and Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 11-C-1744, 11-C-1746, 11-C-1747, 11-C-1748, 11-C-1749, 11-C-1750, 11-C-1751, 11-C-1752, 11-C-1754, 11-C-1755, 11-C-1756, 11-C-1757

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