State commission says school operating unlicensed campus, leaving nursing students in limbo

(WSVN) - It’s enough to make some nursing students sick. They shelled out thousands of dollars only to learn their school wasn’t even licensed by the state. 7’s Brian Entin has our special assignment report “Degree of Concern.”

Yanithe Vincent, president of Hebron Technical Institute: “Can you step out of our location please?”

Brian Entin: “Why aren’t you calling us back?”

The president of Hebron Technical Institute wasn’t talking but her nursing students had plenty to say about their education

Magalie Pompee, nursing student: “That was a waste. A waste.”

Magalie and Marie wanted to become registered nurses.

They live in central Florida and enrolled at Hebron’s location in Kissimmee.

The school’s main campus is in Miami Gardens.

Marie Etienne, nursing student: “My dream is to become an R.N.”

But their dreams were shattered after finding out the Kissimmee campus was operating without a state license.

They fear the classes they’ve attended — and the money they’ve spent — may not count toward their degrees.

Marie Etienne: “I spent $7,700 so far, just for tuition.”

Magalie Pompee: “September, I paid them $550. October, $550. November, $550. December, $580.”

The Commission for Independent Education oversees Florida’s for-profit colleges.

Last month, they called out the school’s president, Yanithe Vincent, for operating the unlicensed central Florida location — even after they told her to shut it down.

Levi Williams, Jr.,Commission for Independent Education: “I can’t begin to tell you how upset I am because I don’t think it was by accident.”

Vincent came before the commission to ask permission to offer new degree programs, but instead of giving her the green light…

Levi Williams, Jr.: “Stop, stop, stop, stop!”

Yanithe Vincent: “Please!”

Levi Williams, Jr.: “Stop! Stop. Stop. You’re not helping yourself. Stop. I need this fixed and I need those students put on notice so they are not embarrassed and they are not wasting anymore money.”

Vincent tried to argue her case.

Yanithe Vincent: “I was not aware of the full operation that was taking place.”

She told the commission the students from Kissimmee were driving to South Florida to attend classes.

Magalie Pompee: “I hope one of these people are going to confront her and tell her what she is doing is wrong.”

We were there when bus loads of students arrived, but the commission questions whether their travel could be for nothing.

Since they enrolled in an unlicensed school, their prior classes might not count.

Magalie Pompee: “Two-hundred and forty-four miles I drove down here. I cannot do it anymore.”

Brian Entin: “I’m here from 7News. We’re here to see Ms. Vincent.”

The school president was not answering our questions.

Brian Entin: “Were you running an unlicensed campus?”

Yanithe Vincent: “Excuse me, sir.”

Brian Entin: “Can you call me back?”

She kicked us out and locked the door.

The Florida Department of Education press secretary tells 7News they are, “…evaluating the means to address the unlicensed activity and to assist the students.”

Magalie Pompee: “She is wasting my time. My energy. My family. I mean, everybody is suffering for me to have that piece of paper.”

Brian Entin: “So what happens next for all of those students? The State Board has asked the school for a list of all their names. What the state does next … and whether the students will get refunds is still not known.”

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