EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota could suffer a shortage of psychologists following the sudden closure of Argosy University, according to mental health leaders.
The private university chain closed its Eagan campus last month after being cut off from federal loan programs — a move that left many students scrambling to find alternatives to continue their education.
The U.S. Department of Education said Argosy, which operates a network of campuses in 11 states, had improperly withheld millions of dollars in financial aid from students across the country. Argosy's Chicago campus also shuttered in March.
Argosy University was supposed to disperse an estimated $1.38 million in federal loans to its Minnesota students, who never received the money, according to the state's Office of Higher Education.
Argosy had carved out a niche in mental health care education, and once was estimated to have trained about a fifth of the licensed psychologists in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
The state will see "a shortage of doctoral-level practitioners who will be able to provide a full range of services, such as assessment and therapy," said Susan McPherson, president of the Minnesota Psychological Association.
The lack of psychologists will affect private practices and some of the large health providers, McPherson said.
The school's closing will also hurt many clinicians who relied on psychology interns to fill needed roles or services.
Minneapolis psychologist Gary Johnson runs a clinic that specializes in patients who are hard to diagnose and treat. His clinic conducts an average of about 12 hours of testing on each patient.
Johnson said the assessments were often completed by doctoral students. He had hired six Argosy students this year to help with assessments at the clinic.
"What we're already finding out is that with the practicum changes, we have to change what we're doing in a business model," he said. "And what regrettably that comes down to is reduced patient care."
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org