CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE NURSING
Questions & Answers updated August 9, 2013.
Q: Is Cuyahoga Community College an accredited institution?
A: Absolutely. The College and its various programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the College’s nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN, formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). The Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN) is the approval body which authorizes the operation of nursing programs in Ohio. Approval by the Ohio Board of Nursing is mandatory in order for graduates to be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
Q: There have been media reports the nursing program is not accredited. Is this true?
A: No, it is not true. Nursing programs in Ohio must first be approved by the OBN. The Associate Degree nursing program at Cuyahoga Community College holds full approval by the OBN.
On Aug. 9, 2013, Cuyahoga Community College reached an agreement with ACEN regarding the status of its associate degree nursing program accreditation. The decision recognizes the progress Tri-C has made toward full compliance with ACEN standards. A follow-up site visit from ACEN will be scheduled in Spring 2014. Until then, the nursing program remains accredited with warning.
Q: Is there a threat of not being accredited?
A: An institution that is accredited with warnings has one year to demonstrate compliance with ACEN standards. We are confident that the Spring 2014 site visit will affirm that Tri-C’s Nursing Program provides a high-quality, affordable and accessible education preparing students to excel in high-demand careers in our region.
Q: What’s at issue?
A: ACEN conducted a review of our nursing program. Based on its site visit, ACEN questioned whether the College had met sub-standards of two of the six standards. The College worked with ACEN’s professional staff in order to respond to the deficiencies. A follow-up report was provided to ACEN in the fall of 2012, which incorporated ACEN’s suggestions and working solutions to the deficiencies cited. Unfortunately, ACEN did not deem the explanations within the follow-up report sufficient in meeting the standards.
The two standards that were deemed in non-compliance were related to insufficient number of adjunct faculty with master’s degrees, and lack of evidence in using data to evaluate and make changes to the program.
Since ACEN’s review of our program, we have increased our number of faculty with master’s degrees from 32 percent to 54 percent, which is above the ACEN standard that requires “the majority of part-time adjunct faculty to be credentialed with a minimum of a master's degree with a major in nursing.” The College believes that there is evidence that the program utilizes data to support change.
Q: What does the current status mean to current nursing students enrolled and taking classes in the nursing program right now?
A: The Tri-C nursing program is accredited with warning. Students in the program who successfully complete their courses now and in the future will be qualified to take the NCLEX, practice in the field of nursing or transfer to four-year universities.
Most importantly, we are confident that when ACEN visits in Spring 2014, the visit will affirm that Tri-C’s Nursing Program provides a high-quality, affordable and accessible education preparing students to excel in high-demand careers in our region.
Q: How does the program’s accreditation status affect students?
A: The accreditation issue does not affect the previous graduates of the nursing program. Current and future students who graduate from the program will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX and practice nursing. Employment and entrance into some four-year universities can be affected if a program is not accredited. Some hospitals may require graduation from an accredited program as a condition of employment. The student seeking entrance into an RN to BSN program may find that it is also a condition of admission. However, these conditions vary among institutions, as well as location.
The College is committed to the success of our students and confident that the program’s curriculum is strong, as evidenced by the most recent 93% pass rate of graduates on the NCLEX.
Q: One of the noncompliance issues with the accreditation commission was the lack of MSN-degree instructors, how is the college putting more effort to raising the number of MSN-degree instructors?
A: This effort includes sending recruitment letters to more than 3,000 MSN-trained nurses in northern Ohio and contacting area hospitals to reach retired MSN-trained nurses. In addition, we have continuously posted notices for part-time adjunct faculty positions on the College website and at hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other facilities. We have held a series of job fairs at our corporate colleges, including three such fairs in April alone.
The College is also partnering with the Case Western Reserve University Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing to increase the educational preparation for current faculty through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program. This program funds 85 percent of the cost of tuition for a MSN, PhD or DNP in nursing in exchange for four years of faculty service post-graduation.
Since ACEN’s review of our program, we have increased our number of faculty with master’s degrees from 32 percent to 54 percent, well above the ACEN standard that requires “the majority of part-time adjunct faculty to be credentialed with a minimum of a master's degree with a major in nursing.”
Q: Is graduating from an accredited institution important for getting a job or being accepted into four-year BSN program and can Tri-C assure students that accreditation will be available to them?
A: Accreditation requirements of health care agencies for employment and for admission to four-year BSN programs differ greatly. There is a distinction between graduating from an accredited college and program accreditation. Some employment opportunities may require program accreditation.
All current Cuyahoga Community College nursing students will graduate from an approved program and be eligible to sit for the NCLEX and practice nursing.
Q: Does the status of ACEN accreditation affect any other Tri-C health career program?
A: No. The other health career programs have separate accreditations. The ACEN accreditation is specifically for the ADN program.
Q: Does the status of ACEN accreditation affect the Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) programs?
A: No. The LPN program is fully approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing. The STNA program is fully approved by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The current status of the ACEN accreditation is for the ADN program and has no impact for the LPN or STNA programs.
Q: Does accreditation affect transfer students?
A: Each college/university has their own criteria for accepting transfer students. We recommend talking with a representative from the college or university to which you desire to transfer to obtain transfer information. Please keep in mind that GPA, test scores and classes taken are key points considered in the transfer process.
Q: Can a Cuyahoga Community College student complete a Bachelor's of Nursing degree outside of the state of Ohio?
A: All four-year colleges and universities have different requirements for admission. Additionally, BSN programs frequently have additional admission requirements. It is important that students wishing to apply for admission to a BSN program check the admission requirements of the program.
Q: What if Cuyahoga Community College ADN graduates want to seek employment out of state?
A: Nothing would preclude student who pass the national licensing exam from practicing out of state, if that student obtains licensure in that state.
Q: Does the program’s accreditation status affect my eligibility to obtain financial aid?
A: No. Program accreditation status does not affect your ability to apply, and if eligible, to receive financial aid for your program of study in the associate degree nursing program. Financial Aid is dependent upon the College's regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.