Nursing students call for end of $150 absence fee

Students in NYU’s nursing program are petitioning to end a policy that charges students a $150 fee when they miss clinical practice sessions, regardless of whether their absence is due to health issues.


Tony Wu

File photo: NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing located on 433 First Ave. (Tony Wu for WSN)

Adrianna Nehme, Deputy News Editor

NYU nursing students are calling for the university to eliminate a policy that requires them to pay a $150 absence fee for missed clinical practice sessions. A petition started by a nursing student criticizing the policy has garnered over 300 signatures

The student, senior Julian Mohammed, created the petition after multiple nursing students had to pay the fee, despite their absence being COVID-related.

Students at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing must participate in a series of on and off-campus clinical courses that provide students with hands-on experience in caring for patients and go toward state-set clinical hour requirements. With the exception of students who miss a session due to a religious holiday, students are charged $150 for each absence because of the cost of scheduling mandatory make-up sessions, according to university spokesperson Rachel Harrison. 

“Those hours have to be completed for a nursing student to graduate and gain licensure,” Harrison said. “The makeup fee covers additional resources, such as providing additional staffing, that are needed for clinical makeup sessions.”

Although Harrison said that the school suspended the absence fee for COVID-19 related absences through fall 2022, some nursing students, including Mohammed, said the suspension is no longer in place — despite the fact that New York City health guidelines still recommend isolation for those who test positive for the virus. Mohammed added that his scholarship is not enough to cover the COVID-19 absence fee. 

“It affects a lot of minorities because not everyone comes from a privileged background, and we don’t all have money lying around to incur a $150 fee,” Mohammed said. “Yes, I get most of my tuition paid for, but I still have to pay upwards of $20,000 in taxes, and I can’t take a loan for it. Adding more on top of that is not really feasible for me right now.”

Mohammed added that students have opted not to take a COVID-19 test despite having symptoms to avoid the fee, posing a risk to the patients they treat. Other students intentionally hid positive test results for the same reason, according to the petition.

One nursing student, senior Eric Pio, had to pay over $300 in absence fees due to a knee injury. He eventually had to withdraw from the semester as a result of the injury, but was still charged the $150 for each session he missed before withdrawing. 

Another student, who asked to remain anonymous because they are applying for a job at an NYU hospital, has paid $450 in absence fees throughout their time at NYU, some which they had to pay due to an ankle injury. They said that the school should be more aware of socioeconomic differences between its students and remove the fee, as many students already struggle with tuition costs. 

“If I get injured again, I’m not going to urgent care,” the student said. “I am just going to have to deal with it because there is no way I am going to be able to pay another $150 to the school.”

Contact Adrianna Nehme at [email protected].