HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The shutdown of Argosy University threatened a key element of Hawaii’s mental health system.
But there was good news Friday for 80 students in Argosy’s doctor of psychology ― or Psy.D. ― program.
They’ve been in financial and career limbo since the school announced its closure earlier this month, but now they have hope of completing their degrees.
The psychologist preparation program was the largest in Hawaii. Now, two other universities are stepping up to serve both those students ― and the needs of people with mental illness.
For former Argosy students like Christopher Knightsbridge, life has been upside down since Argosy closed. But his main concern is the patients he and other students were helping through practicum work.
“I don’t think that it’s dramatic at all to state that this is life and death,” said Christopher Knightsbridge, a former Argosy student enrolled in the Psy.D. program.
Despite some confusion, Hawaii Pacific University made clear Friday it is moving forward with a plan that will allow students to finish their degree just a few months later than they planned.
Eventually, the school will also seek accreditation for a complete Psy.D. program.
“We are really really concerned about the needs of the mental health community in Hawaii. A lot of these students have served so many of the people both here on Oahu and the outer islands and its really important to make sure that they can continue their education,” said Katherine Aumer, chairwoman of HPU’s Psychology program.
Originally, Hawaii Pacific University expected to absorb many of the doctoral psychology students and some of the faculty from Argosy University. They were working to get the proper accreditation when some of those faculty members decided to go a different route.
“The faculty themselves, too, have been through a lot and I understand that situation and so they’re free agents so where they decide to go is completely up to them,” added Aumer.
Some of the former Argosy faculty are considering Chaminade University.
A school representative said it is also looking into whether to offer the program. What remains is the students’ concerns about money ― with stipends and financial aid in limbo.
“Anybody within the medical or mental health care professions in Hawaii, they take a pay cut just by living here. You need money, you need money to survive, right? And we don’t got it,” Knightsbridge said.