- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A South Texas community college cannot accept new nursing program students as it seeks to improve lagging passing rates for the state licensing exam.

Texas Southmost College in Brownsville has seen its nursing program passing rate dip as low as 46 percent in the last three years, The Brownsville Herald (http://bit.ly/1TxhVXo ) reported.

A program must have a passing rate of 80 percent or higher to receive a “full approval” rating from the Texas Board of Nursing. Texas Southmost College had its status downgraded by state regulators to “conditional approval” earlier this year.

The rating means no more new students until the problems are fixed and the school has partnered with Texas A&M; University to address help turn the program around.

“I have confidence that A&M; will get the program back into shape and in compliance with any applicable deadlines,” Texas Southmost College Trustee Trey Mendez said. “We can’t afford to screw this up. It’s too important.”

Current students enrolled in the nursing program will not be affected. Trustee Art Rendon said the school recently extended President Lily Tercero’s contract and the board is confident she will help turn around the faltering program.

“Future students should be very comfortable and rest assured that the program will be very effective,” Rendon said.

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Information from: The Brownsville Herald, http://www.brownsvilleherald.com

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