Accreditation in the United States
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Criteria and Procedures for Recognition of State Agencies for Nurse Education

For the purpose of determining eligibility for Federal assistance, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 296 the U.S. Secretary of Education is required to publish a list of recognized accrediting bodies, and of State agencies, which the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of training offered by schools and programs for diplomas, and associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees in nursing. The following criteria for recognition of State agencies were published in the January 16, 1969 FEDERAL REGISTER. The Secretary will use these criteria in determining whether a State agency is a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered by schools of nursing.

Criteria for State Agencies

The State agency:

1. Is statewide in the scope of its operations and is legally authorized to accredit schools of nursing.

2. Makes publicly available:

a. Current information covering its criteria or standards for accreditation;

b. Reports of its operations;

c. Lists of schools of nursing which it has accredited.

3. Has an adequate organization and effective procedures, administered by a qualified board and staff, to maintain its operation on a professional basis. Among the factors to be considered in this connection are that the agency:

a. Uses experienced and qualified examiners to visit schools of nursing to examine educational objectives, programs, administrative practices, services and facilities and to prepare written reports and recommendations for the use of the reviewing body - and causes such examinations to be conducted under conditions that assure an impartial and objective judgment;

b. Secures sufficient and pertinent data concerning the qualitative aspects of the school's educational program;

c. Requires each school of nursing accredited to follow clearly defined refund policies governing all fees and tuition paid by students;

d. Enforces a well defined set of standards regarding a school's ethical practices, including recruitment and advertising;

e. Requires each school of nursing accredited to submit a comprehensive annual report, including current data on:

(1) Progress toward achievement of its stated objectives in nursing education:

(2) Qualifications and major responsibilities of the dean or director and of each faculty member:

(3) Policies used for selection, promotion, and graduation of students:

(4) Practices followed in safeguarding the health and well-being of students:

(5) Current enrollment by class and student-teacher ratios:

(6) Number of admission to school per year for past 5 years:

(7) Number of graduations from school per year for past 5 years:

(8) Performance of students on State board examinations for past 5 years:

(9) Curriculum plan:

(10) Brief course description:

(11) Descriptions of resources and facilities, clinical areas and contractual arrangements which reflect upon the academic program.

f. Regularly, but at least every 2 years, obtains from each accredited school of nursing:

(1) A copy of its audited fiscal report, including a statement of income and expenditures:

(2) A current catalog.

g. Makes initial and periodic on-site inspections of each school of nursing accredited.

4. Has clear, written procedures for (a) the accreditation of a school of nursing or institution, (b) placing it on a probationary status, (c) revoking the accreditation, and (d) reinstating accreditation.

The list of recognized accrediting agencies and State agencies that have been determined by the Secretary of Education to be reliable authorities as to the quality of training offered by schools of nursing will be published periodically in the FEDERAL REGISTER. For purposes of institutional and program accreditation, as provided for in the Nurse Training Act, the appropriate accrediting associations designated by the Secretary as "Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies and Associations " will be included on the list.

The maximum period of recognition that may be granted to a State agency for the approval of nurse education is four years. Recognition of an agency will not denied or withdrawn without affording the agency an opportunity for a hearing by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

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Last Modified: 02/27/2024