For Amanda Jamski-Jornd, any doubts she had about getting her doctorate will fade away Saturday when she receives her degree in clinical psychology from National Louis University.
Jamski-Jornd is one of 33 students who will be walking across the stage at NLU’s commencement ceremony after being left behind by Argosy University.
Argosy closed its doors in March after the U.S Department of Education ended the school’s participation in the federal government’s student financial assistance program. This abruptly ended the education mid-term of Argosy students nationwide unsure of how to finish their education.
“There was panic among students because there was a lot of unknowns and uncertainty,” she said. “When Argosy closed I remember thinking, ‘Am I ever going to be a doctor?’”
NLU is among several universities that helped former Argosy students transfer over to their schools to continue their studies. About 200 students transferred to NLU from Argosy. There had been about 475 students at Argosy’s Chicago campus.
NLU staff worked hard to help the former Argosy students get registered and settled onto their new campus, Judah Viola, dean of NLU’s college of professional studies and advancement, said.
“There was unanimous support from campus. It was important for us to recognize the challenge and trauma the students had endured,” Viola said.
“Our faculty has really stepped up to be supportive and to welcome the students with open arms. We have done what we can to help them adjust to the culture of our school and to get them to refocus on their studies and what their goals were in the first place.
NLU also hired some 15 faculty members from Argosy. With help from state regulators, the school also took over the Illinois School of Professional Psychology so students could finish their doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, a major the school did not offer previously.
“I’m excited to graduate and it’s a good feeling because even though it’s a new school we are able to walk with the people who we started the program with,” Jamski said.
In February, the Arizona Republic reported that thousands of Argosy students across the country had not been paid nearly $13 million in financial aid funds they were owed from the school. This left many students without any way to financially support themselves.
For continuing student Lauren Jackson, a 33 year-old single mom, not receiving a financial aid check left her on the verge of eviction.
“I depended on the ... check to pay for my rent and after-school care for my daughter. I was facing depression and anxiety and I thought my career of being a doctor was over,” Jackson said.
After Argosy closed, NLU honored tuition rates and most scholarships former Argosy students had received before transferring. Most of the students who transferred to NLU were able to start classes within two weeks of Argosy shutting down.
“We were able to pick up where we left off with a lot of the same professors,” Jackson said. “Now we are pretty much back on track.”