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Nursing Education National League for Nursing - NLN Accreditation Updates

NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (C-NEA)

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

1) What was the impetus for the NLN to initiate the process to start a new NLN accrediting division, the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (C-NEA)?
In September 2013, the NLN moved to Washington, DC and implemented a new organizational structure. This is the appropriate time to offer accreditation options for nursing programs.

2) When will this happen?
The NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (C-NEA) was formally brought into existence at the NLN Summit in September 2013 with the appropriate changes in bylaws, as approved by NLN membership. The process to develop a new and autonomous accrediting division within the NLN will take a minimum of two years to complete as a variety of steps with the DOE consultation must be accomplished. These include establishing bylaws for C-NEA, accreditation standards and criteria, policies and procedures, and training of site visitors, just to cite a few examples. As we develop criteria and processes for accreditation, the NLN C-NEA is committed to developing an accreditation process that fully incorporates the NLN's core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence.

3) Who is providing leadership to the establishment of the NLN C-NEA and its standards, policies, and procedures?
Leadership is being provided by Dr. Judith A. Halstead, newly appointed executive director of the NLN C-NEA, and a steering committee that was appointed by the NLN Board of Governors. Members of the NLN C-NEA Steering Committee include Drs. Anne Belcher, Donna Boland, Pat Castaldi, Joan Darden, Cole Edmonson, Betsy Frank, Betty Horton, Donna Meyers, and Cathie Shultz.

4) How does the establishment of the NLN C-NEA as a new accrediting division affect my program's current accreditation?
The establishment has no effect on any program's current accreditation. The creation of the new NLN accrediting commissionprovides an additional choice of accreditation agencies for nursing programs seeking professional accreditation.

5) What is the relationship between the NLN C-NEA and ACEN (formerly NLNAC)?
The NLN C-NEA and ACEN (formerly NLNAC) operate separately from one another. The NLN ACEN is a wholly owned subsidiary of the NLN while the NLN C-NEA is a division within the NLN.

6) When will the NLN C-NEA be ready to begin providing accrediting services?
In accordance with the US Department of Education (DOE) rules, the NLN C-NEA must be in existence for a minimum of two years prior to seeking recognition from the DOE. During this two year time period the NLN C-NEA will need to meet DOE regulations and conduct one or more pre-accreditation or accreditation activity. We are working closely with the DOE and our assigned DOE analyst to ensure that the NLN C-NEA will meet their compliance regulations. While we don't yet know when the NLN C-NEA will be ready to begin to conduct accreditation activities, you can anticipate the earliest time frame to be in late 2015 or early 2016.

7) What type of accrediting services will NLN C-NEA provide?
The NLN C-NEA will provide accrediting services for all types of nursing programs, including practical (vocational) nursing, diploma, associate, bachelor, master, and doctor of nursing practice programs. The NLN C-NEA will be classified by the DOE as a "category 2 agency" which means that is has a voluntary membership and has the principal purpose of accrediting higher education programs, NOT for Title IV purposes. Programs that require a Title IV gatekeeper will NOT be able to use the C-NEA for their accreditation purposes.

8) My nursing program is due for an accreditation visit during the 2014-2015 academic year. What should we do? Can we be accredited by the NLN C-NEA?
At this time, nursing programs should go on with their current plans as the NLN C-NEA is not yet prepared to conduct accreditation visits. Programs should continue to do what is in their best interests. Our most important concern is that NLN member schools maintain accreditation status and continue to work to bring excellence to their programs.

The NLN C-NEA is keeping a list of interested nursing programs that would like to be considered for accreditation as soon as the division is operational. If interested, please contact

9) Will the development of the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (C-NEA) by the NLN affect my program's current or future accreditation?
The development of a new accrediting division within the NLN will not have any effect on nursing programs that have current accreditation. However the new accrediting division will provide an additional choice of accreditation for the nursing education community.

For further questions about the NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation, please send an email to



Nursing Education
Nursing Education
Nursing Education
Nursing Education