A huge weight was lifted off the shoulders of many Doña Ana Community College nursing students on Monday.
New Mexico State University announced it would be offering full scholarships for all levels of DACC nursing students who transferred to its Bachelor's in Nursing program.
In a statement released on Monday, Bernadette Montoya, vice president of student affairs and management said, "NMSU will provide scholarships to cover tuition and fees for DACC nursing students who transfer into the BSN program and the scholarship can be renewed through the duration of the program if the student maintains a 3.0 (GPA).”
According to NMSU's website, tuition for a full-time student is roughly $3,000 a semester. By ABC-7's calculations, if every DACC nursing student takes advantage of this offer, NMSU could be forced to set aside more than $1 million for these students' tuition.
Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, DACC nursing students filled the advising office at the Health and Social Services building on the NMSU campus.
Students waited for hours in line, but they said the wait was worth it after officially transferring to NMSU and getting full scholarships.
Just two weeks ago, Paula Harzewski was distraught. She was prepared to start her first year in DACC's nursing program before officials announced it lost its accreditation.
She told ABC-7 DACC officials did not say anything to her about accreditation issues when she was accepted a few months ago.
"As far as the treatment from DACC, we've all come to the conclusion that it was just a circle of lies," Harzewski said.
On Tuesday, Harzewski waited about four hours before she finished all the paperwork to officially transfer to NMSU.
"I am feeling relieved, excited and overjoyed. There's very few words that can explain how happy I am with NMSU," Harzewski said.
That's a feeling that's echoed by many DACC nursing students, but some are still upset.
Students are being placed in the BSN program depending on their test scores and grades. Some students are now facing later graduation dates because they have to start at the beginning.
"It's going to take a little bit longer. I'll graduate in Fall 2014 but I'm going to come out with a BSN not an ADN," said Katrina Estrada, a nursing student who was in her second year at DACC.
Advisors worked to get students into all the classes they need.
Harzewski is starting her prerequisites at NMSU this semester. Then she'll start the BSN program in January. She's scheduled to graduate with a bachelor's degree in just two years.
"We have the solution to a problem that we thought was never going to get solved," Harzewski said.
Harzewski told ABC-7 this is a one-time offer that all DACC nursing students should take.
"I wouldn't gamble with your future. You're taking the chance of them not getting their accreditation back at this point. I don't believe that they will get their accreditation back," Harzewski said.
While it seems as though many DACC nursing students are transferring, DACC officials said its nursing program will stay open. Officials are working on getting the program accredited as soon as possible.