The Pratt Community College ADN program continues to improve NCLEX pass rates.

The nursing program at Pratt Community College continues to move towards its goal of getting national accreditation for the program.

The PCC nursing department presented the update to the Board of Trustees at their regular monthly meeting Nov. 20.

"We're making steady progress in rebuilding the ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) program," said PCC President Michael Calvert.

Nurses are required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination to become nurses. The benchmark passing rate is 75 percent for the first time taking the test. The PCC pass rate for ADN students a year ago was 31.25 percent. The latest pass rate for the third quarter is 81.92 percent, said Kim Hansen, PCC Director of Nursing.

This is the first time in five years the PCC ADN pass rate is above the national benchmark. The pass rate percentage is expected to increase a little more at the end of the fourth quarter.

The entire nursing staff has worked hard to rework the program to get PCC on track for national accreditation. The ideal for accreditation is three consecutive years with ADN graduation rates constantly above the national percentage. This is the first of three years and the outlook is positive for the ADN program, Calvert said.

To help make the rework successful, the ADN program was suspended for a year while teachers and staff worked on the program. The State Board of Nursing will be on campus Nov. 30 to check progress for the ADN program. They will return in late February to make a final determination if the ADN program has met their criteria.

The college is very optimistic the State Board will approve of the progress in February and hopes to be taking applications for the ADN program for the 2018 Fall Semester, Calvert said.

The PCC practical nursing program continues to thrive with latest NCLEX pass rates at 90.9 percent.

The college consistently monitors many parameters including students that enroll in the fall then re-enroll for the spring semester. This Persistence Rate for full time students at PCC is 84 percent for fall 2016 to spring 2017. This rate is slightly higher than the persistence rate for peer colleges.

The Persistence Rate for students enrolling in the fall then re-enrolling for the next fall is 43 percent and that is just slightly below the peer rate.

These rates are part of the National Community College Benchmark Project that compares colleges and universities persistence rates across the country. It gives PCC and the other colleges and universities an opportunity to make changes if those persistence numbers are falling, Calvert said.

Another element the college monitors is the default loan rate for students. The current rate for PCC is 13.1 percent of students will default on their loans. The National Average is 10.8 percent. While PCC is above the national average, they are well below the 20 percent level that could lead to a loss of federal loans and grants.

Calvert said the college works with students that take out grants and loans to make sure they take out only the amount they need even if more money is available. If students take out loans for PCC they will probably take out more loans later. If a student has too much debt, they might not be able to pay it back and that could come back to impact loans and grants PCC can offer.

The national average for student loan debt is $28,000. Calvert said that includes all students, even the ones that don't have a loan and that impacts the average number. There are many students that have much higher loan debt.

The college is dedicate to helping students make wise choices for loans and grants because when they are out of college six months and they have to start paying that money back, if they default, it could reduce the federal grant and loans the college could receive.

While these elements have been in place for some time, the college has added a new element to their web site. People of PCC is a brief biography of students that tells a little about the student and includes a picture. Its a way for people to learn a little about the students they make up the student body.

For the fifth year in a row, PCC has received a clean opinion audit. Mike Lowery of Allen Gibbs Houlik presented the Audit report to the Trustees. A clean opinion audit is the highest level and means there are no financial issues that need attention.