U.S.Department of Education Staff Report
Senior Department Official on Recognition Compliance Issues
Agency: Commission On Collegiate Nursing Education
(The dates provided are the date of initial listing as a recognized agency and the date of the agency’s last grant of recognition.)
- Action Item: Petition for Continued Recognition
Current Scope of Recognition:
The accreditation of nursing education programs in the United States, at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degree levels, including programs offering distance education.
Requested Scope of Recognition:
The accreditation of nursing education programs in the United States, at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels, including programs offering distance education.
- Date of Advisory Committee Meeting: 06/20/2017
- Staff Recommendation: Continue the agency's current recognition and require the agency to come into compliance within 12 months, and submit a compliance report 30 days after the 12 month period that demonstrates the agency's compliance with the issues identified below.
In addition, the agency must cease its practice of retroactive accreditation; remove all reference to retroactive accreditation from its website, policy / procedures manuals, and accreditation standards no later than 60 days after the senior Department official makes the decision on the agency's recognition. The agency must provide documentary evidence of these actions to the Department. If such documentation is not provided the agency will continue to be out of compliance and will be scheduled for review in accordance with 34 CFR §602.33 at the next available NACIQI Meeting.
Regarding the agency's request for an expansion of scope: While the agency continues to be out of compliance with the Secretary's Criteria for Recognition, Department staff has been able to determine that CCNE has adequate standards and the capability to accredit certificate programs in nursing. CCNE has also provided documentation demonstrating its review and approval of nurse certificate programs. It is also important to note that CCNE is already approved to accredit nursing programs at the doctoral level and these nurse certificate programs appear to be below the doctoral level.
Issues or Problems:
It does not appear that the agency meets the following sections of the Secretary’s Criteria for Recognition. These issues are summarized below and discussed in detail under the Summary of Findings section.
-- The agency does not meet the requirements of this section of the criteria. The agency must amend agency procedures and any standards and policies that reference or reflect the use of retroactive dating of accreditation actions back to the first day of the program’s most recent on-site evaluation and demonstrate training has occurred for all entities involved in accreditation activities on this amendment. [§602.15(a)(2)]
-- The agency does not meet the requirements of this section of the criteria. The agency must amend procedures and any standards and policies that reference or reflect the use of retroactive dates of accreditation actions back to the first day of the program’s most recent on-site evaluation and demonstrate with evidence of full cycles of review of this change for a compliance determination to be made for enforcement timelines. [§602.20(a)]
-- The agency does not meet the requirements of this section of the criteria. The agency must provide evidence of the implementation of its good cause policy. [§602.20(b)]
-- The agency does not meet the requirements of this section of the criteria. The agency needs to demonstrate with documentation that the standards, procedures and websites it uses to determine whether to grant, reaffirm, reinstate, restrict, deny, revoke, terminate, or take any other action related to each type of accreditation that the agency grants is compliant with the Secretary’s criteria as well as maintained and made available to the public. [§602.23(a)]
PART I: GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGENCY
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE or the Commission), an autonomous arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), accredits baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degree nursing education programs located in public and private universities and senior colleges throughout the United States. At the time the agency submitted its petition for continued recognition, the agency had accredited, 1438 nursing programs (729 baccalaureate programs, 460 master’s programs, 249 doctoral programs) per their current scope of recognition, representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The agency accredits nursing education programs located in colleges and universities accredited by recognized accrediting agencies offering baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. As a programmatic accreditor, the agency does not need to meet the eligibility requirements for Title IV program participation. However, the Secretary’s recognition enables the nursing education programs accredited by CCNE to establish eligibility to participate in programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other non-Higher Education Act Federal programs.
The agency had no complaints during the recognition period.
The agency's review for continued recognition in 2012 resulted in submission of a compliance report regarding one outstanding issue which was satisfied in 2014. The agency's review for continued recognition is the subject of this analysis.
PART II: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The agency meets the requirements of the Secretary's Criteria for Recognition.
PART III: THIRD PARTY COMMENTS
Staff Analysis of 3rd Party Written Comments
The Department received seven comments recommending the continued recognition of the agency. The commenters were all external constituents of the agency. The comments support the agency's rigorous standards that measure the quality of nursing programs in all areas of 602.16; competency of representatives, 602.15(a)(2); educator/practitioner representatives, 602.15(a)(4); and the new scope of recognition to include certificate programs (602.12(b).